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Valley Fever

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Ingrid Palamede never returns to the places she's lived. For her, "whole neighborhoods, whole cities, can be ruined by the reasons you left." But when a breakup leaves her heartbroken and homeless, she's forced to return to her childhood home of Fresno, California. Back in the real wine country, where grapes are grown for mass producers, Ingrid must confront her aging ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  302 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3 1/2 stars. For me, the main character in Valley Fever is the Central Valley in California as depicted in Katherine Taylor's novel. Ingrid and her sister grew up on a ranch in the Valley where grapes were the primary crop. Strongly encouraged by their mother, they have forged artistic lives in major urban centres. After yet another bad relationship, Ingrid reluctantly returns to live with her parents. This is a bad year for crops in the Valley, and Ingrid's father's health is failing. Ingrid ...more
Jeannette Nikolova
May 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Read on the WondrousBooks blog.

No. No, no, no. 

A tragicomedy? This book is a damn farce. I wish there was something good I could say about it. Oh, yeah, pretty cover! Had me fooled.

What you need to know about Valley Fever is that it tells the story of a very dysfunctional family, comprised of retards. Actual retarded people. Well, not actually actual but it would have been easier to grasp why they make the decisions they do and say the things they do if they were with challenged development.

Thanks to NetGalley and FSG for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Books like this justify the existence of programs like NetGalley: what an unexpected delight, and one I'd likely never have unearthed had it not been "gifted" to me via NetGalley. As it happens, I've put the author's first book on request at the library, and I'll certainly keep an eye out for her future work.

This book was reminiscent of The Grapes of Wrath as it might have been written by Wes
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks, arc
This is a very dialogue driven book and there is very little plot. Most of the time the characters are either complaining about their lives or talking about when the grapes should be picked. There's also a lot of talk about toast. Seriously. There are at least a dozen conversations about eating toast throughout the book. In a way this book reminded me of To the Lighthouse because the characters spend all their time talking about something they don't get around to doing. For the first half of the ...more
Kristi Ratliff
May 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Read through

I consider a book to be successful if I feel like I am growing and learning along with the main character, which in Valley Fever is Ingrid. In the case of this book, I did not.

Even through Ingrid's journey during a rough time in her life, it seemed she was the same at the end as she was in the beginning.

From poorly developed characters, to amateur dialogue, I was surprisingly disappointed in Taylor's second novel.
Kellie Chapman
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'll never eat toast again. Ok, I will, but I'll certainly never read about it.

Rating 2/5

At the start of this book I honestly didn't think I would finish. The characters were shallow. The plot was not urgent. The word said was used an awful lot in the first chapter as well as the confident repetition of other words used during choppy, useless dialogue. However, at the beginning of chapter two on her way to her families land in Fresno, my pet peeves lessened. I found humor and even the beginnings
Tamara Evans
Jan 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
This book provides a realistic depiction of the trials of farming life in central California. Ingrid, the main character of this book, was self absorbed and I didn't find her to be an enjoyable character. Ingrid come home to Fresno to nurse her broken heart and find her place in the world without her former boyfriend. Anne, Ingrid's sister, appears to be living a good life with her husband in Los Angeles but as the novel progresses, the reader finds cracks in the relationship as well.

Maya Smart
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This sensory novel explores heartbreak and home as protagonist Ingrid Palamede navigates a torturous landscape where brawn, swagger and grapes rule. Lush with quirky characters and vivid scenes, Valley Fever takes us into the hearts of a close-knit community, a lovably flawed family and a spirited heroine.

Ingrid has no place of her own to seek refuge when her boyfriend dumps her after shes moved in. She turns first to her sister in L.A., then heads north to her childhood home in Fresno to forget
Stacy Suaya
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved Taylor's first novel Rules for Saying Goodbye, as I tend to love novels with ambitious female protagonists set in New York City and elements of glamour. In RFSG, she was able to capture that world without being saccharine at all, as she is a lovely and gifted writer. So when I saw that she had written a book set in Fresno - knowing too that she lives in Los Angeles, I wondered how she would tackle a place so un-cosmopolitan. Turns out she gives it the same treatment that she gave New ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was a really pleasant read. It seemed to be a fairly standard story about self-discovery for a woman trying to reconcile her past and her unknown desires but what it turned into was that story really well combined/paired with the timeliness of agriculture. The idea of agriculture being both a permanent biological cycle and a fairly harsh mistress to those trying to make a living. The idea that the story would focus on Fresno made me think that it would tend to focus on a more romantic ...more
I was on a panel with this author and was completely entranced and charmed by her funny and poignant stories of growing up in Fresno, California. That pretty much sums up this book. It is fiction and is about a woman who returns to her family's home "temporarily" after a breakup. Hilarious, sad, and a perfect study of what it means to be from somewhere.. Some might find the repartee too quippy and smart (because it is both of these things), but I loved it. Recommended for most anyone, especially ...more
Sharon Huether
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic story of a family and their differences trying toy keep the family farm in the Central Valley of California. Of the two sisters, only one, Ingrid really felt the call f the land , the grapes and seeing them harvest4ed at the right time. She was almost too late. She was left with the original 100 acres. Not the Twenty thousand acres her father once had. I won this Free book through Goodreads-First reads.
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Blargh. Not good at all. Nobody in this book felt like a real human being in any way at all.
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Quiet, lovely novel. Really enjoyed it....all the details about grapes and Fresno.
Holly Scudero
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: san-francisco-br
fter getting her heart broken yet again, Ingrid Palamede decides to do something she swore shed never do: she returns home to her parents in Fresno. There, wallowing in self-pity eventually gives way to her concerns about her parents health and finances, as well as their many acres of farmland. The longer Ingrid spends at home, the more she rediscovers just how much she loves her homeland and how good she is at helping with the vineyards. Ingrid cant fix everything, but perhaps she can find some ...more
Amalia Cole
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Having one of my favourite book covers in my collection, I had such high hopes for Valley Fever by Katherine Taylor! Unfortunately it just fell short and I had to force myself to finish it.
Valley Fever follows main character, Ingrid, who returns to her family home (and vineyard) in Fresno, California after a break-up.
I am a sucker for poetic writing and wit, and Taylor does just that. Although, with not enough character development and way too much dialogue (about 80% of the book) I didn't get
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful surprise. I didn't have many expectations going into this one, but I found it completely enjoyable. Katherine Taylor's writing is so full of life; her characters nearly jump off the page. And while there's a healthy dose of quippy humor (much appreciated), it didn't detract from the weight of the novel as it so often can. If you're interested in women's fiction, wine/food, coming-of-age, and rural settings, give this one a shot.
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book had a lot of dialogue. Way more dialogue than I'm used to in a novel but aside from that I enjoyed the story. I very much enjoy books around growing food or natural living so the subject matter kept me interested.
The characters are sometimes frustrating because they don't express what they should to each other, but I do understand the significance of creating these characters that way. A lot can been said in the absence of words.
Overall a enjoyable read.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brettlikesbooks
family drama with biting wit + strong characters & sense of place
I continued walking. It was too distressing to admit that certain patches of that mean little town were, in fact, more beautiful than anyplace else in the world. And Id looked, believe me, hoping to find someplace. Id seen all sorts of rural agricultural valleys and hills I wouldnt go back to. Id looked and looked for someplace that felt more like home than right there.
instagram book reviews @brettlikesbooks

Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Funny, easy to read and highly relatable

Fave quotes: "You know that feeling when a deep hole opens up inside you and you feel like, physically, your whole body is being sucked into it? It can take all your energy not to disappear into that hole."

"There was an easiness there ... It was the kind of easiness that caused me to panic"
Shree Thaker
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Minus the end that had no purpose, the journey of growth and acceptance this novel took me on while portraying these aspects in the main character, it was terrific! I loved the craft and would reread it anyday.
Shannon Wise
May 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015, won
I am from Fresno - the city which is the subject of much of the disdain the author has in the book, Valley Fever. This is the story of Ingrid who is a farmer's daughter from Fresno and who, along with her sister Anne, have tried to escape Fresno as soon as they could. Ingrid is a writer, I think. She has lived all over the world. The hitch with Ingrid is that once she has a bad experience somewhere (e.g. a breakup), she cannot go back. London, Paris, Berlin, New York and, now, Los Angeles are ...more
Jul 22, 2015 rated it liked it
NTRO---"I don't return to places I've lived. I avoid my high school dorm by not going back to all of Massachusetts. In London, I'll avoid Holland Park so as not to be reminded of the basement flat on Addison Road. The furnished two-bedroom on Via Annia in Rome, the bright studio in the white brick building on West Eighty-fourth Street with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, the two bedroom in Prenzlauer Berg I shared with a publishing-heiress insomniac who would speak only Russian: some of those ...more
Alisha-Dear Constant Reader
Valley Fever is beautiful book about starting over and breaking the expectations of ourselves and our parents about what we should be doing with our lives. What makes for a successful life?

Ingrid returns to California after a sudden breakup. She's never felt accomplished. Everywhere, with the exception of Germany, belongs to someone else. She's promised herself that this visit is just temorary until the she can make plans and get back on her feet, then she'll leave Fresno.

Ingrid, like so many
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Fresno: the abusive boyfriend of major cities

Ms Taylor used the lives of members of my family in this book. The incidents are described explicitly with only names changed (and not locations). She has exploited our tragedy, and in further details represented them unfairly. This is wrong. And frankly, poor writing. She also portrayed other real Fresnans, with very thinly veiled name changes, albeit less negatively.

That being said, I'll give a more objective review of the rest of the book
Aug 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
This was a mistake. The premise sounded mildly interesting. A woman never returns to places she's been to/lived in/visited, etc. And I wondered how interesting a story set in Fresno, CA (it's a rural area compared to San Francisco) could be. Unfortunately, this book definitely didn't show it.
I could tell this was going to go downhill fairly quickly after the main character was having some sort of breakdown in the first few pages. I don't particular care for romances that end in books, because
May 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
I just got on the bridge to nowhere with this read. The story did indeed go nowhere. The description drew me in with the promise of vineyards, redemption, and family so I was anticipating a great prose. The narration is not plot driven, there is no character development, and you are put in the middle of conversations that did not make any sense. It went something like this blabalbalbablabla and the yada yada was blah blah blah. I am by no means an expert on literature, sentence structure, ...more
Sep 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cozy Cat Reviews
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written lyrical substantive body of work. Valley Fever stands alone in its vivid descriptions of wine country of Fresno, the people, the food and a life beginning anew. After suffering through another bad break up, Ingrid goes home to Fresno, to the wine country she left behind and her parents farm. They are now aged and require her help to run the ranch and the household. For every one of us that are caretakers to our elderly parents this book will ring true in how Ingrid begins ...more
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
"How will we be the same?" she asked
"You're not the same," I said. "You don't need to be the same."

My heart was sad when this book was over, not because I was sad that the book was over (which I sometimes as after some books) but because it was sad story. That should be OK, right? Every book doesn't need a happy ending, though I do prefer a book that leaves the reader with some hope, which this book does. It was only a glimpse. Inky and Anne are finding their way, their parents are heading into
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KATHERINE TAYLOR is the author of the novels Valley Fever (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2015) and Rules for Saying Goodbye (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2007). Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Town & Country, ZYZZYVA, The Southwest Review, and Ploughshares, among other publications. She has won a Pushcart Prize and the McGinnis Ritchie Award for Fiction. She has a ...more

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