Book Review: A Cactus In The Valley by Olivia J. Bennett (Spoiler-Free!)



When withdrawn Terra Lombardi wakes up in a smoking airplane in the middle of the remote Arizona desert, she realizes the only other survivor is the arrogant Wyatt Hartman.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 civilisation  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.


Warning: there are mentions of sexual assault and pedophilia in this book.

So, last night I sat down with a cup of tea and this book, intending to spend half hour or so reading the first few chapters of A Cactus In The Valley. This, however, did not happen. Instead, I plowed through the whole book in the space of four hours, only taking breaks to use the loo and make myself more tea. I can say with the utmost certainty that I enjoyed this book.

If I had to use one word to sum up A Cactus In The Valley, it would be intense. From the first page, I couldn’t stop reading, having to know what happens. This is definitely no slow-burn book, it jumps straight in to the plot. It switches point of view between the two main characters, Terra and Wyatt, allowing the reader to know what the both of them are feeling and thinking. I couldn’t help but put myself in their situation. Stranded in the middle of nowhere with someone you’ve never met before? No thanks! Doing this definitely helped me connect with both Terra and Wyatt though, and I was preying that they’d make it home alive.

While both characters inspired a lot of feelings in me, Terra was the one I felt for the most. She’s hasn’t had an easy go of life so far, and now a plane crash? I was wondering what she had done in her previous life to deserve what she had dished out to her. Despite this, she is still so hopeful and optimistic and I just love her character so much. I think with Wyatt, if I hadn’t read from his perspective, I wouldn’t have found him so likeable. However, knowing what he was thinking and feeling makes it very easy to end up rooting for him. He’s definitely a little damaged, but he still manages to be selfless and protective, so I admire him for that.

The things these characters had to overcome in terms of the plot were astonishing. They’re both broken yet still brave and determined to make it home to their loved ones. This book had me feeling so much! Hope, fear for the characters, pity, happiness, sadness and about a thousand other things. Bennett truly has a gift for story telling and I can’t wait to read any work of hers in the future.

Overall, I give this book 5 stars. I’d give it 6 if that was a thing.


I’d like to thank Olivia J. Bennett for sending me a copy of A Cactus In The Valley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.




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