4 Stars · Blog Tours

Book Tour/Review: Rural Voices edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter

Book Details

Format: Hardcover, 336 pages

Publication: October 13, 2020 by Candlewick Press

Synopsis: Think you know what rural America is like? Discover a plurality of perspectives in this enlightening anthology of stories that turns preconceptions on their head.

Gracie sees a chance of fitting in at her South Carolina private school, until a “white trash”-themed Halloween party has her steering clear of the rich kids. Samuel’s Tejano family has both stood up to oppression and been a source of it, but now he’s ready to own his true sexual identity. A Puerto Rican teen in Utah discovers that being a rodeo queen means embracing her heritage, not shedding it. . . .

For most of America’s history, rural people and culture have been casually mocked, stereotyped, and, in general, deeply misunderstood. Now an array of short stories, poetry, graphic short stories, and personal essays, along with anecdotes from the authors’ real lives, dives deep into the complexity and diversity of rural America and the people who call it home. Fifteen extraordinary authors – diverse in ethnic background, sexual orientation, geographic location, and socioeconomic status – explore the challenges, beauty, and nuances of growing up in rural America. From a mountain town in New Mexico to the gorges of New York to the arctic tundra of Alaska, you’ll find yourself visiting parts of this country you might not know existed – and meet characters whose lives might be surprisingly similar to your own.

My Thoughts

Rating: ★★★★☆

As someone who lives in a rural place, I was super excited to be accepted for this blog tour. I loved the idea of multiple authors coming together to battle the sometimes gross stereotypes of living in a rural area, and this book did not disappoint. I also loved that there was representation of minority groups in this book.

The authors cover every topic ranging from sexuality to fear to acceptance of whatever is bothering them. There were fifteen different authors from all over the United States writing about different experiences. There was a range of formats, including poems, comics, and short stories. Some stories were emotional, while others were more lighthearted and fun, but I really enjoyed them.

The short stories were well-written, but I didn’t have a strong opinion on several of them. They were good, don’t get me wrong. Some of them just felt as if they would work better as a full novel rather than a short story; for example, I’d love to read Fish and Fences or The Hole of Dark Kill Hollow in a more drawn-out, detailed book. As I said before, I don’t know much about poetry, but the poems in the book were good in my opinion. They were simple and the story being told was clear. There were two comics in the anthology, and I kind of liked those. Grandpa had beautiful artwork and a touching story, and Secret Menu was cute.

I do think I’ll look more into the authors who were a part of this book. I really liked the writing style of almost all of them. This was a great book for a quick, light read on a rainy day.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via JeanBookNerd Tours. This did not influence my opinion in any way.

Buy the Book

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Enter the Giveaway

Meet the Editor


Nora Shalaway Carpenter holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Before she wrote books, she served as associate editor of Wonderful West Virginia magazine and has been a Certified Yoga Teacher since 2012. Originally from rural West Virginia, she currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina with her husband, three young children, and one not-so-young dog.

Connect with Nora: Goodreads | Website | Instagram | Twitter

Contributing Authors: Nora Shalaway Carpenter, David Bowles, Joseph Bruchac, Veeda Bybee, Shae Carys, S.A. Cosby, Rob Costello, Randy DuBurke, David Macinnis Gill, Nasugraq Rainey Hopson, Estelle Laure, Yamile Saied Méndez, Ashley Hope Pérez, Tirzah Price, Monica Roe

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