The Desert Sky Before Us


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The Desert Sky Before Us by Anne Valente

InStyle’s 10 Books to Binge Over Memorial Day Weekend

“Valente’s superb writing propels us on a most unusual journey filled with unraveling emotions and the breathtaking mysteries of desert river beds, red rock formations, and dinosaur skeletons. Impossible to put down.” — Library Journal Starred Review

“The prose is…lustrous, and the landscapes the sisters traverse are beautifully evoked.” — Booklist

“A good road trip story can make you feel like you’re in the backseat of the family car, watching the scenery unfold…Valente nails the two-week road trip and gives us likable lead characters.” – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“For her second novel, St. Louis native Anne Valente is tackling something a bit lighter but with just as much mastery.” — St. Louis Magazine

“In The Desert Sky Before Us, Valente gives us two sisters struggling to build a new life after catastrophe, and she does it in prose that is at once clear and lyrical.” — Iron Horse Literary Review

“The Desert Sky Before Us is a marvel. A vital, profound story of the aftermath of loss, and of the terrors and illuminations of love.” — R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries

“In Anne Valente’s The Desert Sky Before Us, two sisters take a road trip to unbreak their hearts. The prose is charged and breathless, propelling us on a journey of familial reconciliation that twists and turns, offering no easy redemption, no do-overs. We all must live with what we’ve done. And yet, this book is entirely hopeful, and left me so moved by the deep, complicated sister-love of the book’s heroines as they learn to navigate a shared grief. This is a big-hearted novel. Punctuated by scientific learnings, NASCAR reports, and geographic coordinates, The Desert Sky Before Us is a wonderful book–surprising, lyric, and utterly compelling.” – Tessa Fontaine, author of The Electric Woman

“The Desert Sky Before Us is a marvel. With great care and imagination, Anne Valente deftly transports her reader through landscapes as vast as the American West and as intimate as the bond between two sisters. Billie, Rhiannon, and their once-in-a-lifetime journey together stayed with me long after I turned the last page of this captivating book.” – Mia Alvar, author of In the Country

“The Desert Sky Before Us manages a rare alchemy, transforming a page-turner–the story of a road trip we follow breathlessly, uncovering secret after secret–into a powerful and nuanced portrait of the relationship between two sisters we come to know as intimately as we know ourselves. I was transported and moved in equal measure. This is a rich, ambitious novel, and Anne Valente is a dazzling talent.” – Clare Beams, author of We Show What We Have Learned