Wonder Valley
by Ivy Pochoda

Overview -

NPR Best Book of 2017

Los Angeles Times Best Fiction Pick

Refinery29 Best Book of the Year

BOLO Books Top Read of 2017

"Destined to be a classic L.A. 

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More About Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda

NPR Best Book of 2017

Los Angeles Times Best Fiction Pick

Refinery29 Best Book of the Year

BOLO Books Top Read of 2017

"Destined to be a classic L.A. novel."--Michael Connelly

When a teen runs away from his father's mysterious commune, he sets in motion a domino effect that will connect six characters desperate for hope and love, set across the sun-bleached canvas of Los Angeles.

From the acclaimed author of Visitation Street, a visionary portrait of contemporary Los Angeles in all its facets, from the Mojave Desert to the Pacific, from the 110 to Skid Row.

During a typically crowded morning commute, a naked runner is dodging between the stalled cars. The strange sight makes the local news and captures the imaginations of a stunning cast of misfits and lost souls.

There's Ren, just out of juvie, who travels to LA in search of his mother. There's Owen and James, teenage twins who live in a desert commune, where their father, a self-proclaimed healer, holds a powerful sway over his disciples. There's Britt, who shows up at the commune harboring a dark secret. There's Tony, a bored and unhappy lawyer who is inspired by the runner. And there's Blake, a drifter hiding in the desert, doing his best to fight off his most violent instincts. Their lives will all intertwine and come crashing together in a shocking way, one that could only happen in this enchanting, dangerous city.

Wonder Valley is a swirling mix of angst, violence, heartache, and yearning--a masterpiece by a writer on the rise.

  • ISBN-13: 9780062656353
  • ISBN-10: 006265635X
  • Publisher: Ecco Press
  • Publish Date: November 2017
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.19 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Urban
Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Psychological

BookPage Reviews

On the road

One sunny morning in 2010, a man streaks—quite literally—against morning drive-time traffic on Los Angeles’ 110 Freeway, the gray scar etched into the left side of the city’s face. Talk about a Kodak moment, and it’s witnessed by multiple characters in the latest novel by Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing, Visitation Street), who then backtracks from this freeze frame to uncover the forces that have impelled these human molecules to coagulate in this space.

Toggling back and forth between 2006 and 2010, Pochoda tugs on each character’s strand, disentangling it from the knot of LA traffic and the knot of interconnection to reveal a tapestry that is more gritty than pretty. It spans a landscape that stretches from the upper-middle class to the destitute, from Skid Row tents and Beverlywood McMansions to desiccated cabins in the high desert’s dystopian Wonder Valley.

We encounter good people who have done bad things, bad people who have done bad things (but occasionally can’t help doing good, if perhaps accidentally) and a whole bunch of folks looking for, if not necessarily redemption, at least a moment of grace. Pochoda is a master at homing in on the details of both exterior and interior landscapes and crafting characters so palpable that you can feel blood throbbing in their temples and rivulets of sweat evaporating off their necks.

It’s not a far stretch to consider Pochoda to be in the company of James Ellroy, Michael Connelly and T. Jefferson Parker, but the two novelists that most often leap to mind as peers are Walter Mosley and National Book Award finalist Kem Nunn. It wouldn’t be a big surprise to find Wonder Valley on the short list for several awards itself.


This article was originally published in the November 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews