The Valley and the Flood
So Rose follows the lights from the closest radio tower to Lotus Valley, a small town where prophets are a dime a dozen, secrets lurk in every shadow, and the diner pie is legendary. And according to Cassie Cyrene, the town's third most accurate prophet, they've been waiting for her. Because Rose's arrival is part of a looming prophecy, one that says a flood will destroy Lotus Valley in just three days' time.
Rose believes if the prophecy comes true then it will confirm her worst fear--the PTSD she was diagnosed with after Gaby's death has changed her in ways she can't face. So with help from new friends, Rose sets out to stop the flood, but her connection to it, and to this strange little town, runs deeper than she could've imagined.
Reasons you should read THE VALLEY AND THE FLOOD (audiobook edition especially):
1.) The strangeness of Lotus Valley- There's something so fascinating about small towns with something specifically weird about them. For Lotus Valley, they have ancient beings, prophecies, odd gifts, and more. It reminded me a bit of how Kate Alice Marshall incorporates the path in RULES FOR VANISHING, though the tones are completely different.
2.) The PTSD representation- While PTSD representation isn't nearly as rare as it once was in YA, there still isn't a plethora of depictions. Rose's PTSD stands out in a unique way because it doesn't fit the stereotypes of what society thinks would cause PTSD or who would be most likely to get it. It shows that we all have our own responses to traumatic events in our lives, that our emotions and brains manifest in different ways, and there's nothing wrong with that. I particularly appreciated the inclusion of Rose's therapy journey.
3.) The beautiful writing- I listened to THE VALLEY AND THE FLOOD on audio, read by Phoebe Strole, who did an amazing job. Pairing the melancholic, witty, and even hopeful tone of Rose's narration with Strole's smooth narration was a perfect match. There are frequent scenes where Rose's surroundings revert to her past memories, and through the word choice and Strole's expertly timed pauses and pacing, the emotions really got to set in and grab you.
While I would recommend reading THE VALLEY AND THE FLOOD in any format, the audiobook read by Phoebe Strole adds a particularly wonderful layer to the reading. Rebecca Mahoney combines the emotion gut punch of Courtney Summers with the weirdness of Kate Alice Marshall (in the best way) and weaves an original story of wonder, mental health, and remembering who you are.