Vera Violet

By Melissa Anne Peterson

Available

Description

Set against the backdrop of a decaying Pacific Northwest lumber town, Vera Violet is a debut that explores themes of poverty, violence, and environmental degradation as played out in the young lives of a group of close-knit friends. Melissa Anne Peterson's voice is powerful and poetic, her vision unflinching.

Vera Violet recounts the dark story of a rough group of teenagers growing up in a twisted rural logging town. There are no jobs. There is no sense of safety. But there is a small group of loyal friends, a truck waiting with the engine running, a pair of boots covered in blood, and a hot 1911 with a pearl pistol grip.

Vera Violet O'Neely's home is in the Pacific Northwest--not the glamorous scene of coffee bars and craft beers, but the hardscrabble region of busted pickups and broken dreams. Vera's mother has left, her father is unstable, and her brother is deeply troubled. Against this gritty background, Vera struggles to establish a life of her own, a life fortified by her friends and her hard-won love. But the relentless poverty coupled with the twin lures of crystal meth and easy money soon shatter fragile alliances.

Her world violently torn apart, Vera is forced to leave everything behind and move to St. Louis, Missouri. She settles into a job at an inner-city school where she encounters the same disarray of community. And alone in her small apartment, Vera grieves. She thinks about her family and the love of her life, Jimmy James Blood. In this brilliant, explosive debut, Melissa Anne Peterson establishes herself as a fresh, raw voice, a writer to be reckoned with.

"Vera Violet is the most authentic and exciting debut I've read in a long time. At once gritty and jaw-droppingly lyrical, Peterson's voice is a clarion call for the downtrodden and disenchanted. Reading Vera Violet is nothing less than a visceral and stirring experience." --Jonathan Evison, author of Lawn Boy

Product Details

Price: $16.95 $15.59
Publisher: Counterpoint LLC
Published Date: February 04, 2020
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781640092327
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

MELISSA ANNE PETERSON grew up in a rainy working-class logging town in Washington State. She received a BA and BS in writing and biology from The Evergreen State College and an MS from the University of Montana. She has worked in endangered species recovery in Washington and Montana for twelve years. Her writing has been published by Camas Magazine, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, Oregon Quarterly, and Seal Press. Find out more at melissaannepeterson.com.

Reviews

Praise for Vera Violet

One of CrimeReads's Most Anticipated Books of the Year

"Early on in Melissa Anne Peterson's Vera Violet, Vera says, 'An ocean of writhing, living blood surged between us. It enveloped the parking lot. It discolored the moon . . . It was dangerous and confusing. But there was no choice.' Gripped by Vera's dark world, you may feel exactly the same thing, pulled in as these kids are themselves, swept along despite the danger, wanting only to feel alive. Like Niall Griffith's Grits or Kelly + Victor, Vera Violet will leave you hoping against hope for these lost lives." --Pete Fromm, author of A Job You Mostly Won't Know How to Do

"Dark and explosive . . . The novel offers no easy solutions but rather delves into the psychology of poverty and the vicious cycles that come with trying to survive. There's no preaching. Instead, Peterson brings life to a host of memorable characters whose struggles are seared into readers' brains. Vera Violet announces the arrival of a new writer who is comfortable with her craft and knows how to relay a story in vivid and affecting detail. Vera Violet packs a powerful punch." --Scott Neuffer, Shelf Awareness

"Vera Violet is raw, unflinching, and above all necessary. As the storyline spans the country and scoops up those both broken and beautiful, Peterson gives voice to the unheard and overlooked with an honesty few writers come close to achieving. This is writing that is lyrical in the way a caged animal is lyrical: fierce with a soleness of purpose, distilled, unadorned, and unapologetically alive." --Melissa Mylchreest, author of Waking the Bones

"Vera Violet is the most authentic and exciting debut I've read in a long time. At once gritty and jaw-droppingly lyrical, Peterson's voice is a clarion call for the downtrodden and disenchanted. Reading Vera Violet is nothing less than a visceral and stirring experience." --Jonathan Evison, author of Lawn Boy

"Mel Peterson is the literary voice of the dispossessed Pacific Northwest youth that we've come to know so well through song. Vera Violet is a fantastic debut." --Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill