by Nancy Stewart
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Pub Date 01 Nov 2017 | Archive Date 18 Nov 2017
Interlude Press, Interlude Press - Duet Books
Seventeen-year-old Vi Sinclair’s roots run deep in the Missouri Ozarks, where, in some areas, it can still be plenty dangerous to be a girl who likes girls. Her greatest wish is to become a veterinarian like her boss, Claire Campbell. Fitting in at school wouldn’t be so bad, either. Only one obstacle stands in the way: She may not live long enough to see her wishes fulfilled.
With help from her only friend, Junior, Vi unravels a mystery that puts her in conflict with a vicious tormentor, a dog fight syndicate, and her own mother. Vi’s experience galvanizes her strength and veracity as she overcomes the paradox of mountain life, in which, even today, customs and mores seem timeless, and where a person can wake up dead simply because of being who she is.
A Note From the Publisher
This novel contains content that may not be appropriate for all readers, including incidents of violence, animal cruelty, and homophobia.
2015 State of Florida Rising Kite Award — Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (pre-publication manuscript).
FIVE STARS: "Nancy Stewart has produced a tough, courageous novel that belongs on the shelf next to young-adult survival stories like Hatchet and Bridge to Terabithia." — Foreword Reviews (Nov/Dec, 2017)
* National publicity campaign
* Online blog tour
* Goodreads and Rafflecopter giveaways
* Direct marketing to independent booksellers
* Multi-platform e-book sales
* Publisher promotion at conventions and book festivals
* Select author appearances, including Dragon Con and Salt Lake City Comic Con
* Cross-promotion with author website (https://authorftlukens.wordpress.com/)
* Social networking campaign, including tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms
* Online reader's guide for book clubs
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 9 members
Hey Guys! I am so excited to talk to you about Beulah Land... Wow. This book is fantastic, heartrending, and poignant. The harsh cultural and physical reality for the Ozarks is a charming, and yet sinister, backdrop to this not-so-classic bildungsroman.
Beulah Land follows Vi Sinclair and her best friend, Junior, in the wake of Violette's social outcast. After being caught with another girl, the town feels alternately unempathetic, digusted, or accepting towards her in turns.
Vi works for the town vet, stalked by her tormentor Dale Woodbine. When his insults evolve into threats towards her family, Violette has to navigate the hostility of her town, fight a dog-fighting ring, and find justice in system of nepotism and family rivalry.
Beulah Land is a chaos of violence, cruelty, and prejudice. Yet, this story is unerringly, ironically beautiful. It is the story of Violette's resilience towards a landscape that treats her as a puzzle and a problem.
Violette, as a character, is representative of the curiousity and drive of young women. In the face of all odds, she wages a one-woman war against injustice in her society. Whether she is saving herself, her family, or the victims of animal abuse, she treats insurmountable odds as puzzles.
Stewart has taken a snapshot of human evil and found beauty in it somehow. Violette's is found in her strength. The beauty of the Ozarks lies in the complicated life that has survived there through brute perseverance.
I give this book a 5/5.
Its social gravity, lyrical writing, and its developed characters make Beulah Land an unforgettable read. Don't miss it.
I leave you with the sentiment that books have a crazy power to teach us things. A lesbian resident of the Ozarks may be a far cry from how you live your life, but Violette's story has the same themes of hardship and perseverance that we can all relate to and benefit from remembering.
(This review will go live on our blog on Tuesday. )
This was a very difficult read--I might describe it as "Winter's Bone for lesbians"--but I think an important one as well. Although it depicts deep poverty and the struggle of its gay protagonist to not just survive, but find a life worth living despite the repressive norms of her community, it is not a story without hope. The poor, rural community is depicted with compassion and nuance, not painted as a backwards caricature. Characters who initially appear unsympathetic are allowed their touches of humanity, and the story ends with a hopeful note for the future. I was pleasantly surprised by this hopefulness. It is unfortunately common for non-LGBT authors to write about homophobia and cissexism in graphic detail without providing their protagonists sufficient relief: I thought that Stewart handled the balance between struggle and comfort nicely.
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