Cover Image: The Other Valley

The Other Valley

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Member Reviews

The Other Valley features a world of repeating valleys, identical in every way except time period. The valley to the west is 20 years in the past, and the valley to the east is 20 years in the future. The government allows visits to the past or future for very limited reasons and the visits are highly controlled to prevent "interference." The novel begins with Odile approaching 16 years. She and her fellow classmates are beginning to consider career prospects, when one day she notices and inadvertently recognizes a visiting couple from the valley to the east. Suspecting pending disaster for a close friend, Odile manages to not interfere with the outcome, and we follow her life trajectory following that decision and its consequences for her and her friends.
The novel was engaging and maintained my interest throughout. Odile is a sympathetic character even though her lack of action is frequently annoying. I believe this novel will appeal to readers who enjoy multidimensional, overlapping timeline stories. The novel works for both adult and YA readers. Most of the characters, including Odile, are often emotionally flat, but I was still able to sympathize with the choices made, especially later in the book. I will watch for more novels from this author.

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The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard is a literary speculative novel about a town that is neighbored by its own past and future. Odile is hoping to become part of the Conseil, so she can decide who is allowed to cross the town's borders into the past and future. This was an interesting concept, but unfortunately I didn't really enjoy it. However, it may have just been a case of it being the wrong book for me. Others will almost certainly enjoy it. Thanks to NetGalley for the free digital review copy. All opinions are my own.

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“The Other Valley” by Scott Alexander Howard is a sci fi novel set in a valley in between one that is 20 years in the future and another that is 20 years in the past. The main character, Odile, is a 16 year old school girl who wants to join the Conseil. It’s best to go into this speculative fiction knowing as little as possible. Very interesting book

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Scott Alexander Howard creates an odd interesting twist on time travel with a world of valleys each representing 20 years difference in the future or the past. But mainly, the tale is coming of age of story that goes horribly wrong and the main character spends the rest of the time trying to correct it. The central character is charming and the prose is well written.

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'The Other Valley' by Scott Alexander Howard is an intricate dystopia novel. There is a slow burn but pay attention even in the slow parts!

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This one has languid dystopian vibes like Never Let Me Go and Klara and the Sun. I would even recommend readers who liked The Giver to give it a try. This one is angled more as a character driven story with plot and explanations of the world taking a back seat to Odile's feelings and transition. I wanted more scifi than literary, but there will be readers who LOVE this one!

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Things that make you go hmm...⁣

Summary⁣
A solitary young woman grows up in a secretive and eerie village that shares its borders with both its future and its past. A thought-provoking exploration of ethics, power, love, and time travel that is perfect for fans of Ishiguro and McEwan.⁣

This one is tough because the summary made me think I would inhale it, but I didn't. The first half was beyond boring - and y'all know I love a good quiet book but slow and quiet are not the same thing. I had a few friends really like it so I persevered and then around the halfway mark it started to pick up its pace and I was like "yes! I'm so glad I stuck it out." But then it kind of went off the rails a bit and left me underwhelmed 🤷‍♀️⁣

Format rec: I primarily listened so if you think this sounds like a book you'd like, I'd recommend the physical book.⁣

Is this one on your list? ⁣

Thank you @netgalley for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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In "The Other Valley," time travel is simply a matter of geography. There are multiple valleys, each separated by lakes and mountains, and guarded by elaborate fences, towers, and armed guards. Our protagonist, who we follow over the decades, lives in her present time in one such valley. If she traveled east, she would reach the same town twenty years in the future and to her west, twenty years in the past, and so on. Given the potentially catastrophic consequences of interfering with the timelines, travel must be granted by the ruling Conseil.

Pay close attention while reading. The story is complex, intricately plotted, and compelling. Personal, moral, and ethical issues abound and make "The Other Valley" a perfect choice for book clubs or buddy reads. My rating is 3.5* rounded up to 4.

I received a drc from the publisher via NetGalley.

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This is one of the most unique premises I've read in a long time. The first third of this book was absolutely perfect. After the time jump, I was a little disappointed with how parts of the story played out, but I understand why these decisions were made and ultimately I liked how it all came together in the end.

I really loved all the characters, especially when they were young. It was thought provoking and seeing Odile grow up was done well.


SPOILERS? - I really loved the school setting with Odile and felt that part of the story was over so fast. I understand why she left but I wish we spent more time in that setting. I also was disappointed that her friend from the classes (now I'm blanking on her name) disappeared after she was released. I would have loved to have more of her in the story too.

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When I first read the incredibly interesting premise of this dystopian story, I immediately dove in...and that is where the excitement unfortunately peaked for me. This felt like one of those novels in which nothing really happens, but you keep waiting for it get better and it just never does. Thank you for the opportunity to read this e-galley.

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What an intriguing concept! This book really reminded me of a childhood favorite, The Giver. Concept and execution really diverged for me, however. I found the pacing to be off and I often wondered what the author was trying to say with this novel. Am I glad I read it? Yes. Would I recommend it? To the right person.

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I devoured this book in one setting it was so good.
The Other Valley follows a girl named Odile in a town that is bordered by two other identical towns... except one is 20 years in the future and the other is 20 years in the past. In part 1, teenage Odile inadvertently discovers something about the future and is grappling with how to handle that knowledge. Does she interfere to prevent harm to someone she knows, or does she preserve the timeline and essentially become complicit in that harm? In part 2, we are with Odile 20 years in the future, where she is now a grown woman dealing with the ramifications of her choices as a teenager. If she could change her choices would she? Can she still?
This book was beautifully written. It took a unique, yet simple, concept and made it incredibly poignant and raw. It's almost like a coming of age story mixed in with speculative, philosophical fiction. Truly fantastic, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read.
The only issue I had was the author not using quotation marks. It got a little difficult at times to know if something had been said out loud or if it was just a thought, which was frustrating. BUT I listened to part of the audiobook on my drive to work and I think that would be a GREAT option for people who might also struggle without quotations!

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for the ebook copy of The Other Valley!

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Comparisons of this novel to "Never Let Me Go" by Ishiguro are accurate. You can see Ishiguro's influences, and you can also see how Howard chose to make different elements of his story unique. The concept of the different valleys and the conceilliers is well developed, and Howard does not leave you with questions about the motivations of his characters. You are left wondering with your own thoughts about which valley you may visit, and why, and if you would interfere. Howard's novel sits in your brain for a long time.

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The concept behind this story was really interesting and explored pretty thoroughly throughout the story of Odile’s coming of age and throughout her early adulthood. I really appreciated the deep ethical insights into the implications of the different valleys’ existences and how a society might seek to deal with them. This was a great and unique read.

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On one side of a town sits the same town 20 years in the future. On the other side sits the same town 20 years in the past. Visitation is strictly monitored.

This magical realist fiction debut from Scott Alexander Howard included a very cool concept executed so well. Both pacey and thoughtful, this work covers the topics of memory, grief, regrets, fear, and personal growth. With three dimensional characters and gorgeous cover art, I enthusiastically recommend this novel for anyone who doesn't hate thinking about the butterfly effect.

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This book had me hooked from the start. The characters and the story were so good. This unique idea was of the present time between the past and the future that can exist simultaneously. Can we go back in time to change the future? So good! So glad I got the chance to read it!

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The concept of this book reminds me of a tv show that I swear I have seen before and the beautiful writing is able to immerse me into this imaginative world I could get lost in. Set in a valley where time is twenty years in the future and twenty years in the past on other side, Scott Alexander Howard balances the narrative between 16-year old Odile and 36-year old Odile. Rather than focusing on the aspect of moving through time, the author decides to focus on morality and making decisions that impact those we love the most. I was captivated by the character-driven plot and thoroughly enjoyed reveling in the internal struggle Odile suffers with throughout the entirety of the book. My main issue I had with the book was the lack of quotations. While it was easy to determine where diagnose occurred, I struggled reminding myself that conversations were happening and impacting the plot, being import to fully focus on what is happening. The middle section of the book did drag on, but the final few chapters made every moment worth it. I would easily recommend this book to others and will be on the lookout for future books of Howard’s.

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Thanks again to NetGalley for the advance copy. I really enjoyed this book. It started with a novel concept that kept me engaged for the whole book. I found myself caring about the characters, though I was more interested in a couple of the secondary characters than I was the primary. Even though some of the plot was telegraphed, the author made you wait for the payoff, and, at times, I even doubted it would come. Definitely a recommended read.

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Dreamy and poignant, this story depicts life in a valley that one direction is 20 years in the future and the other is 20 years in the past. Odile is 16 years old and beginning her training for a potential position with the conseil (those that control the visits to the other valleys), when a tragedy occurs. This tragedy changes the projection of her life. I loved the progression of the character throughout the book, the moral compass of the book and the writing is engaging and beautiful. What a solid debut, I hope to see more by this author.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my opinion and review

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An amazing debut. The concept of living "between" versions of yourself is so intriguing and absolutely pulled me in. The characters are likeable and relatable. The only thing I struggled with was the lack of quotation marks to denote convos. I can't wait to see what comes next for this author.

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