Book Review: A Cactus In The Valley by Olivia J. Bennett


Title: A Cactus In The Valley

Author: Olivia J. Bennett

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Release Date:  August 25, 2017


When withdrawn Terra Lombardi wakes up in a smoking airplane in the middle of the remote Arizona desert, she realizes the only other survivor is the arrogant Wyatt Hartman. Clouded with the uncertainty of how they crashed, the two strangers head west, in pursuit of civilization. Amidst the environment and dangerous animals against them, they must band together to survive, and even thrive in the rocky, sun-drenched Southwest. However, the elements force them to confront their inner demons. Told through dual points-of-view and intermittent flashbacks, teenagers Wyatt and Terra brave the sun and sand alone. But it is through the hardest times in which we grow the most.


This book surprised me in a good way. I didn’t know anything about it except that this was about two teenagers who survived a plane crash.

Terra is a 16-year old girl who’s suffering from grief (she lost her grandmother), dealing with a dysfunctional family, and the guilt from the sexual assault that happened to her when she was just 9 years old. She gets her strength from her bestfriend, Harper.

Wyatt on the other hand, is another teenager who’s dealing with the verbal and physical abuse from his alcoholic father, and became one troubled teen because of it, dealing with fights in school and also selling drugs. His voice of reason is his younger sister, Lilly.

There were a lot of heavy and important issues that were discussed in this book. Not to mention that being stuck in a middle of the desert and surviving a plane crash is already heavy enough. I loved how you can get to know both characters because of the flashbacks, and how their resilience made them strong and helped them survive. I didn’t mind the insta-love/romance aspect, since it was done well. It didn’t involve cheesy scenes because both characters were dealing with deep scars from their past.

A story about survival, friendship, and love. A captivating and powerful read.

Favorite Quotes:

“Take chances, Terra. Make mistakes, because nothing is so terribly messed up that it can’t be fixed.”

“People are fragile, animalistic to the core. I guess, if you knock them around, they’ll think they did something to deserve it.”

“Sometimes, I think about the future . . . and can’t see anything. Like, it’s all fuzz. My life . . . could go a million different ways, and that’s what scares me the most, I think.”

Soundtrack: Somewhere In Between by Lifehouse

Rating: Purple-FullPurple-FullPurple-FullPurple-FullNo-Star

Buy Links: Goodreads || Amazon || Book Depository
What 3 books will you bring if you were to get stuck in the middle of the desert? Let me know in the comments!

download (4)About the Author:

Website || Facebook || Instagram

Olivia J, The WordShaker is just that: a word shaker. She is a writer, artist, creative extraordinaire, and skilled in the ways of procrastination and being too blunt. She is going to be a loving wife, mother, published author, speaker, and professional adventurer someday – and whatever else God has in store for her. Olivia has had three short stories published in her high school’s writing journal, and received merit awards for her art in numerous art shows, started and fosters her own creative writing club at her high school, and plans to go to the Savannah College of Art and Design.

16 thoughts on “Book Review: A Cactus In The Valley by Olivia J. Bennett

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