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Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann
Bob the Artist by Marion Deuchars
The Big Shrink by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
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Bound for Murder by Victoria Gilbert
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Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan and Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison
Magnificent Birds by Narisa Togo
The Mess That We Made by Michelle Lord and Julie Blattman
Out of Circulation by Miranda James
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The Space Between by Dete Meserve
Swing it, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
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The Troubleshooter's Guide to Do-It-Yourself Genealogy by W. Daniel Quillen
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas and Erin E. Stead
The Winterhouse Mysteries by Ben Guterson and Chloe Bristol
Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda
World's Worst Parrot by Alice Kuipers

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December 2019 sources
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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 06)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 13)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 20)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 27)

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Road Narrative Update for December 2019

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Wonder Valley: 01/19/20

Wonder Valley

Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda is a complex book about people trying to find themselves or their place in the world to varying degrees of success. It's told from multiple points of view across different times and places. In print, I found these jumps between locations, times, and people confusing, but it all seemed to come together as an audiobook.

The book opens with a man stuck in traffic on the 110 in downtown Los Angeles. As he's sitting there, a naked man runs by. Rather than just watch him go by, he gets out of his car and chases after him.

Other characters include a pair of homeless ex-cons who are walking through the California dessert, a woman who has fled UCLA after a car accident, a new age cult in the desert, and an older teenage boy who has tracked down his not-so-great mother in western Los Angeles.

All these disparate pieces are connected but it takes a good long while to see how they all fit together. You have to be in the mood to be patient with the narrative. If you're not, set it aside and try again later.

I originally read it for my road narrative project, but in reading it and in re-focusing my project, I have come to realize that Wonder Valley, while it shares elements with the road narratives I'm analyzing, it doesn't actually qualify as one.

Four stars

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