The Golden Year
by Rowan Maness
In this enthralling debut, one young girl learns that getting the best revenge takes more than a little luck. Valentine Bell spends her days aboard the luxury cruise ship “The Heart of Io,” traveling back and forth between earth and beautiful, mysterious Vala, a planet where the jungle holds a universe-altering secret. The young orphan is unaware of her powers, only knows that she has been born with a scar, and seeks greater adventures than what life has provided for her. She finds it in the form of Orion Sides. Orion uses Valentine’s fascination to entangle her in his father’s gang of thugs and thieves, who run the ship’s underworld. But Orion knows something Valentine doesn’t— that her scar gives her a special ability to bestow luck upon anyone who touches it. Aided by her de-facto dad, Tycho, and her best friend, Luke, Valentine realizes that Orion’s been using her luck to pull off a heist, and when a set of priceless jewels goes missing from the cabin of a powerful Ambassador, Valentine is sure she knows who’s taken them. Out for revenge, Valentine embarks upon a dangerous journey that takes her into the Valan jungle, spurred on by a strange connection to the precious jewels. As she learns about her own tangled history, and forges a path to her future, Valentine discovers that she has a role to play in setting things right, talents beyond her imagination, and a thirst for justice that takes her down perilous paths. Rowan Maness’s stunning first novel invites readers into a dizzying world unlike any they’ve ever seen, and introduces a character whose journey will enchant anyone who has ever questioned their place in this world or any other.
Rowan Maness was born and raised in the desert, on the edges of the vast Phoenix, Arizona ‘burbs. She earned her first paycheck in high school, when she won a writing contest with an essay about the importance of honesty – at the same time she was busy creating multiple fake personalities online.
One of those fake personalities met the man who would eventually become Rowan’s husband, and she moved to Los Angeles to be with him and attend art school. In 2009, the day before she gave birth to her daughter, Rowan graduated from CalArts despite not being able to paint, act, dance, animate or schmooze. Valentine Bell: the Golden Year is her first published work.
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