Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down (Paperback)
William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062429148, 384pp.
Publication Date: December 19, 2017
The lives of four teenagers are capsized by a shocking school shooting and its aftermath in this powerful debut novel, a coming-of-age story with the haunting power of Station Eleven and the bittersweet poignancy of Everything I Never Told You.
As members of the yearbook committee, Nick, Zola, Matt, and Christina are eager to capture all the memorable moments of their junior year at Lewis and Clark High School—the plays and football games, dances and fund-drives, teachers and classes that are the epicenter of their teenage lives. But how do you document a horrific tragedy—a deadly school shooting by a classmate?
Struggling to comprehend this cataclysmic event—and propelled by a sense of responsibility to the town, their parents, and their school—these four "lucky" survivors vow to honor the memories of those lost, and also, the memories forgotten in the shadow of violence. But the shooting is only the first inexplicable trauma to rock their small suburban St. Louis town. A series of mysterious house fires have hit the families of the victims one by one, pushing the grieving town to the edge.
Nick, the son of the lead detective investigating the events, plunges into the case on his own, scouring the Internet to uncover what could cause a fire with no evident starting point. As their friend pulls farther away, Matt and Christina battle to save damaged relationships, while Zola fights to keep herself together.
A story of grief, community, and family, of the search for understanding and normalcy in the wake of devastating loss, Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down explores profound questions about resiliency, memory, and recovery that brilliantly illuminate the deepest recesses of the human heart.
Praise For Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down: A Novel…
“Haunting...Written in the collective voice...à la Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides, Valente artfully employs...newspaper articles, and biographies of teh victims on the way to an unforgettable ending, with fire serving as a powerfully fitting metaphor for grief, loss...and the nature of fate.”
“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.”
“Breathtaking...Riveting characters...This reader found herself increasingly spellbound by this remarkable and urgent debut novel.”
“Valente is a sorceress...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.”
“Pulsing, eerie, and impossible to put down...In a cultural moment in which mass violence is shockingly prevalent, Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down is that rare gift; a book that is as resonant as it is surprising, as timely as it is soulful.”
“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.”
“One of the most compelling novles I’ve read in years.”
“Lyrical, mysterious, and structurally innovative...This is a book we need now more than ever.”