The desert sky before us : a novel / Anne Valente.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First Edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: When Billie is released from a correctional facility in Decatur, her sister Rhiannon is there to meet her, even though the two haven't seen each other in months. Painful secrets and numerous unspoken betrayals linger between them--but most agonizing is the sudden passing of their mother, a renowned paleontologist. Rhiannon and Billie must overcome their differences as they set off on a road trip west, following the breadcrumb-trail of their late mother's scavenger hunt, a sort of second funeral she planned in her final days. The sisters know the trail will end in Utah at the famous Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry, where their mother spent her career researching dinosaur fossils. But the seemingly endless days on the road soon take their toll, forcing Rhiannon and Billie to confront their hostilities and revisit old memories--both good and bad. As they travel across the heart of America, and as a series of plane crashes in the news make their journey all the more urgent, the two sisters begin to rediscover each other and to uncover their late mother's veiled second life, taking them on an unexpected emotional journey inward--and forcing them to come to terms with their own choices in life.
    • ISBN:
    • Accession Number:
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  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      VALENTE, A. The desert sky before us : a novel. First Edition. [s. l.]: William Morrow, 2019. ISBN 9780062749871. Disponível em: Acesso em: 2 abr. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Valente A. The Desert Sky before Us : A Novel. First Edition. William Morrow; 2019. Accessed April 2, 2020.
    • APA:
      Valente, A. (2019). The desert sky before us : a novel (First Edition.). William Morrow.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Valente, Anne. 2019. The Desert Sky before Us : A Novel. First Edition. William Morrow.
    • Harvard:
      Valente, A. (2019) The desert sky before us : a novel. First Edition. William Morrow. Available at: (Accessed: 2 April 2020).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Valente, A 2019, The desert sky before us : a novel, First Edition., William Morrow, viewed 2 April 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Valente, Anne. The Desert Sky before Us : A Novel. First Edition., William Morrow, 2019. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Valente, Anne. The Desert Sky before Us : A Novel. First Edition. William Morrow, 2019.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Valente A. The desert sky before us : a novel [Internet]. First Edition. William Morrow; 2019 [cited 2020 Apr 2]. Available from:


Booklist Reviews 2019 April #2

Before she died, their mother, a noted paleontologist, gave Billie and Rhiannon a GPS device and a journal containing geographic coordinates, one on each page. Both sisters are at a crossroads when they set out on the journey their mother mapped out for them. Billie has just been released after serving a six-year prison term for arson, and Rhiannon has split from her girlfriend and given up a promising NASCAR career. They travel by car from from Decatur, Illinois, to the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Utah, stopping along the way in spots where their mother has hidden small boxes containing objects for them to find—her wedding ring in St. Louis, a feather in Carlsbad, New Mexico, a laser pointer at the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Bones Trail—and the sisters try to puzzle out the meaning behind these finds and, indeed, the whole trip. The book feels overburdened by multiple themes, including racing, paleontology, astronomy, falconry, and climate change, but the prose is often lustrous, and the landscapes the sisters traverse are beautifully evoked. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

PW Reviews 2019 March #4

Valente's latest (after Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down) misses the mark. Three months after their mother's death, Rhiannon Hurst, a former Nascar driver, picks up her sister, Billie, at the prison she is being released from after serving a six-year stretch for arson, to drive them to a second funeral service pre-arranged by their late paleontologist mother, Margaret. Margaret also left behind a journal of geographic coordinates indicating stops that Rhiannon and Billie are meant to visit on the drive from the prison to the funeral. The sisters soon discover that each stop contains a clue in the form of an item of personal significance hidden by their mother for them to discover. On the two-week trip from Illinois to a dinosaur fossil quarry in Utah, Rhiannon and Billie rehash old hostilities and regrets while simultaneously excavating their mother's motivations for the scavenger hunt. Hovering in the background is the inexplicable phenomenon of airplanes falling from the skies. As in her previous novel, Valente once again prominently features arson and documents inserted into the text—in this case, excerpts from scholarly disquisitions on, among other subjects, stegosauruses' plates, Nascar champion Wendell Scott, and red-tailed hawks. But here, narrative idiosyncrasies have calcified into lackluster stylistic tics. The result is an overlong combination of road trip story and puzzle box that leaves its two main characters stranded. (May)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.