Cover Image: Valentine

Valentine

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Member Reviews

This book grabs the reader from page 1.. and then proceeds to tell its story in a realistic way.  At times difficult to read because of the attitudes of small town people, especially men, it incites support and compassion for the women who must live there and survive.
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I don't remember the last book I read that captivated me within the first chapter. Wetmore's book sets the stage with a brutal and violent assault that reverberates throughout the town of Odessa, Texas during the 1980 oil boom. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character, most of them witnesses to the heinous crime committed against Gloria on Valentine's Day. Wetmore's writing is descriptive, sharp, and witty, painting the West Texas sky with perfect sentences. I'll definitely be purchasing this book when it is released in April 2020.
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Odessa, Texas.  February 15, 1976.  Isolated.  "Amarillo and Dallas are at least 300 miles away.  El Paso is in a different time zone.  Houston and Austin might as well be on a different planet.  Lubbock, on a good day, is a two-hour drive".    In this desolate environment, dry, brown, unceasing wind mindful of the Dust Bowl in the 1930's.  "You can call a sandstorm a little breeze all day long, and you can call a drought a dry spell, but at the end of the day your house is still a mess and your tomato plants, and everything else that used to be alive, are dead.

In this hostile environment, filled with the smell and noise from the constant pumping of oil from deep in the earth, we meet Gloria Ramirez, age 14, who stood on Mary Rose's front porch "tottering like a skinny drunk, looking for all the world as if she had just crawled down from the screen of a horror movie.  Both eyes were blackened, one swollen nearly shut.  Her cheeks, forehead and elbows were scraped raw, and vicious scrapes covered her legs and feet."

This fascinating novel explores what happened to Gloria, who did [or didn't] attack her, and how the townspeople make up their minds about guilt or innocence based primarily on the fact that Gloria is a Mexican girl.

I read this EARC courtesy of Harper Collins and NetGalley.  pub date 04/07/20
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Browsing ARCs, cover captured my attention, 
I read description and knew I had to read it

Friday night, hanging out at Sonic Drive-thru, drinking limeades, looking tough and cool
wrong guy pulls up
this event begins the story... but it is only the beginning, 
Rotate through different town's residents
giving you different viewpoints and backgrounds

This book is well written, you will feel for the characters

This is a debut author- I will be looking for her next novel!

One tidbit that I really admired- the bookmobile comes to town...
"Every book has at least one good thing!"
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This is the best book I've read in quite a long time--and I read a lot (thanks NetGalley!). If you open your heart a tiny bit (some of the other reviewers obviously didn't) you can deeply empathize with the different characters as they make mistakes, struggle with loneliness and grief, and deal with some of the worst life has to offer. The author is adept at showing that, while many people have made mistakes, been bratty and impulsive as teenagers or overwhelmed as young adults, the consequences that people experience are not distributed evenly. The book takes some twists and turns, so even if you aren't hooked right away, stay the course and you will be surprised.
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As a lifelong Texan, I look for genuine realistic portrayals of our great state. I’ve been to Odessa countless times... don’t get the descriptions given here, seems silly.
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Wow, an imaginative, well written, very powerful book. I found it quite difficult to read due to the subject matter -- the author has such a wonderful way with words and such a solid grasp of how a female facing or experiencing or remembering sexual harassment/discrimination/assault feels that reading this was very difficult for me. I kept putting the book away and picking it back up, especially during the first several chapters so it took two weeks to finish - a LONG time for me. KEEP READING! By the end, you will be able to see the incredible strength these females had in surviving and trying to thrive. Though not yet free from harassment, females in America do have life a little bit better now than in the 1970s; certainly not all, and not hugely better, but some. Keep standing up. 4.5 stars
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Hauntingly beautiful tale that is relevant today.  Difficult to read yet can't stop reading it!  The Texas landscape draws you in as well as the rich characters and heart wrenching plot.
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A heart-wrenching novel, Valentine takes place in a small town as it deals with the aftermath of a vicious rape. Told in several interconnecting points of view and dealing with topics such as racism and misogyny, this novel is as an important read as it was a difficult one. 

A special thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thank you Net Galley for the free ARC. 

"You raise a family in Midland, you raise hell in Odessa."

This story deals with the rape of a young girl in a lawless oil boom town in the middle of the parched Texas desert. The town's people all have their opinions about what happened and how justice should be dealt. Finally the case goes to court.
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Hard to put down and equally hard to read.  Intolerance, racism and anti feminine  attitudes seem to be unchanged  since 1976.  Guns and alcohol  still appear to fuel the morality in  Midland-Odessa Texas.
This wonderfully written novel  should be read by everyone  seeking to improve our society
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