Amazon’s Best Books of the Month: October 2016

Refinery29′s Best Reads for October

Ploughshares’ Most Necessary Books for the End of 2016

Midwest Connections Pick: November 2016

14517608_10101151455201372_2380494148680037085_n HarperCollins : IndieBound : Amazon : Barnes&Noble : Powell’s

Written in the collective voice of the community, a la Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides, Valente artfully employs short chapters on arson and anatomy, as well as diagrams, newspaper articles, and biographies of the victims on the way to an unforgettable ending, with fire serving as a powerfully fitting metaphor for grief, loss, and our inability to comprehend the nature of fate.”

—Publishers Weekly

“The characterizations are acute and the resolution…is tantalizing and thought provoking.” – Booklist

“Valente takes us straight to the heart of the horror in this shocking – but tender and cerebral – book.” – The Buffalo News

“Anne Valente is an ambitious author to watch.” – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Valente has written a poetic page-turner that explores how we grieve in solitude and grieve together, and what the human body endures when that grief overwhelms. Quizzical, melodic, and unforgettable, Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down breaks new ground on issues of mass violence, communal loss, and the act of remembrance.” – Ploughshares

Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down is a bold examination of a subject that is unimaginably difficult to encapsulate in a way that is neither exploitative nor insensitive to those who have suffered a similar trauma. The subject of school shootings is mentally exhausting for both the writer and the reader, but Valente manages to pull off the emotional gravitas necessary to make this book and its seemingly dark premise work, and, most importantly, spark a conversation about a subject that often feels too heavy to discuss and unpack openly. Valente writes with the ear of a poet and the inquisitive instinct of a journalist. Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down is a book unflinching in its portrayal of grief, loss, and the frailty of the human heart.” – Colorado Review

“Valente’s prose is unique and breathless, full of eloquent turns of phrases and insightful observations…Valente is truly a unique voice in fiction today, knitting words together in ways no one else could.” – Playback STL

“An important book for our times.” – The Masters Review

“A mournful and enigmatic novel from a former St. Louisan, whose recurring exploration of violence, loss and community anguish resonates loudly in these challenging times.” – Alive Magazine St. Louis

“Valente’s beautiful, elegiac novel about a community in mourning, and the unseen forces that unravel and consume us after a tragedy, is a work of heartbreaking timelessness.” – J. Ryan Stradal, Author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

“A breathtaking portrait of violence and its ruinous aftermath. As Anne Valente’s riveting characters navigate the transformed landscape of their hometown, they find themselves awash in devastation and redemption and mystery, and this reader found herself increasingly spellbound by this remarkable and urgent debut novel.” – Laura Van Den Berg, Author of Find Me

“Anne Valente is a sorceress, conjuring a story of sorrow and suspense with characters so real we feel their heartbreak, their bewilderment, the horrible chills down their spines…This is a gorgeous book full of mysteries. It scorches with truth, and sings with hope. Valente writes like all of our lives depend on it.” – Diane Cook, Author of Man V. Nature

“A book we desperately need…One of the most compelling novels I’ve read in years.” – Matt Bell, Author of Scrapper

“Lyrical, mysterious, and structurally innovative…This is a book that does not look away. This is a book we need now more than ever.” – Kelly Luce, Author of Pull Me Under

“Pulsing, eerie, and impossible to put down, Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down unearths the grief that raises a Midwestern community in the wake of a school shooting. In acrobatic prose, Anne Valente shows us what tragedy leaves behind: how we ask questions that may be unanswerable.” – Chloe Benjamin, Author of The Anatomy of Dreams

“Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down is a beautifully written, lyrical book wrapped up in a compelling mystery with shades of Stephen King. Gripping and profound, a terrific debut.” – Kate Hamer, Author of The Girl in the Red Coat

“Gripping, visceral…I couldn’t stop reading – or caring about these characters…There’s a tinge of mythic eeriness to this story…but it was the resilient, appealing characters who propelled me through this intense novel, and lingered long after its close.” – Sharon Guskin, Author of The Forgetting Time