Julie in the News
Julie Valerie’s works have received attention from television, print magazines, online publications, podcasts, social media influencers, and an award-winning national book box subscription service. Explore what others have to say about Julie, her novels, and the Village of Primm.
Julie spotlighted on Eyewitness News ABC-TV 7 New York with Sandy Kenyon for Zibby Owen’s Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books podcast
Julie’s podcast interview with Zibby Owens on the award-winning Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books podcast
“7 Books We’re Loving Now” First for Women Magazine feature of Holly Banks Full of Angst
Virginia Living Magazine books column by Mindy Kinsey spotlight on Holly Banks Full of Angst
Glamour Magazine’s “16 Books for Everyone on Your List, According to Book Influencers: Give the Gift of an Addictive Book” by Catherine Conelly, includes The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks
Travel + Leisure “14 Books That Make Great Gifts for Everyone on Your List” by Madeline Diamond featured The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks on the list of 14 “don’t miss out on these new releases” books.
“8 Must-read Books by Debut Authors to Read this Fall” Stephanie Elliot She Reads article featuring Holly Banks Full of Angst
BookTuber Vanessa at VEEREADS‘s book chat featuring Holly Banks Full of Angst and The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks
The Merry Writer Podcast “Do You Write Your Novels Linearly or Jump Around?” interview with Julie
Julie’s Q&A with Josh Cane on the Working Title podcast
The Book Club Cookbook Website & Newsletter for Book Clubs: Holly Banks Full of Angst a December 2019 featured title
Julie’s Q&A with book blogger and bookstagrammer Dara on Not in Jersey
Julie’s Q&A with book blogger and bookstagrammer Melissa Amster on Chick Lit Central
The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks chosen as one of the “10 Books to Read If You Feel Like Escaping 2020” by Ms. Career Girl
“The Best 12 Books of Winter” on Frolic Media
Fresh Fiction for Today’s Reader featured The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks as a “Not to Miss New Books This Week” title
Julie was interviewed about her second novel, The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks on Jean Book Nerd
>Book feature for The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks and author interview with Ashley Hasty on the Hasty Book List
Jamele Medina’s “Mini Reviews – Village of Primm Series (Holly Banks) by Julie Valerie” featuring both books, Holly Banks Full of Angst and The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks featured on Books with Jams
Brit + Co “14 Page Turners for the Book Lovers on Your List” featured The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks as one of their 14 page-turning picks
“9 Books About Mom Life Julie Valerie Thinks Every Mother Should Read” article by Julie on Frolic
“Best Women’s Fiction of 2019” She Reads Book List featuring Holly Banks Full of Angst
Holly Banks Full of Angst featured in the 2020 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge
Julie a December author in The Nerd Daily creator Elise Dumpleton’s “36 Authors Making their Debut between July and December 2019” feature
The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks chosen as one of “The Best 12 Books of Winter” on Frolic Media
Julie’s Q&A with author, editor, and book blogger Deborah Kalb
Julie’s “Bold & Strong” Coffee Chat with author and Bookish Road Trip Melissa Face
The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks featured in the Bookstr “8 New Books You Should Buddy Read with your BFF”
The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks featured on Beyond The Bookend’s Fall 2020 Roundup List
The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks featured in The Journal on Getaway House Tips for Getting Away “A Getaway Winter Reading List”
Winter Book List Giveaway Instagram feature sponsored by Getaway House and featuring The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks
Julie interviewed her main character, Holly Banks, in an “Author Interviewing Characters: Julie Valerie” feature on Women Writers, Women[‘s] Books
“Julie Valerie’s Fabulous Fate” interview with Melissa Amster, founder of Chick Lit Central
HOLLY BANKS FULL OF ANGST
“Holly Banks has just moved with her husband, Jack, and their five-year-old daughter, Ella, to the Village of Primm. Their house, with its (former) Pinterest-worthy front porch, is full of boxes, and an eyesore of a bedsheet is hung up in lieu of curtains. Holly is doing all she can to keep it together for Ella as she starts kindergarten. From missing the bus to hitting the bus, all on the first day, things start on the wrong foot. When Holly skips out early during the first PTA meeting, the president, Mary-Margaret St. James, makes sure Holly pays her dues by assigning her to various committees. Thus begins Holly’s descent into a rabbit hole where exterior appearances are everything. Debut author Valerie’s excellent take on modern motherhood illustrates a mother’s attempts to keep up with the Joneses. Full of humor, including a bout with one too many detox cookies, an online psychic, and a cat doula, Valerie plays out the drama of being a wife and a mother. VERDICT Perfect for fans of Laurie Gelman’s “Class Mom” series and the TV show Desperate Housewives.”
HOLLY BANKS FULL OF ANGST
A mom tries—and spectacularly fails—to fit into her new picture-perfect town. When Holly Banks moves to the Village of Primm, she hopes it will be the start of a new adventure for her family. With its wonderful school system, immaculately tended lawns, and superinvolved parents, Primm couldn’t be anything less than perfect. However, aspiring-filmmaker Holly soon realizes that the town bears a slightly creepy resemblance to Stepford (of the famous wives), and no one appreciates her minor failures to live up to the status quo—like, for example, showing up to kindergarten drop-off while wearing pajamas or accidentally hitting a school bus in her attempts to move her car. Holly quickly finds a nemesis in PTA president Mary-Margaret St. James, a bizarrely Primm-obsessed mom who talks about herself in the third person and won’t let Holly leave the premises without volunteering for something (an d not just for napkin duty, because everyone knows only the slacker moms sign up to bring napkins). But Holly has other things to worry about—for starters, she thinks her husband might be having an affair, she constantly has to pay her mother’s gambling debts, and she’s feeling bored and restless after putting her filmmaking dreams aside. Holly starts making her own documentary using the subject matter in front of her but soon realizes that Primm’s perfect veneer hides more than a few secrets. There are many novels about women struggling to fit into upper-class communities, but debut author Valerie manages to create a story that feels fresh, with sparkling dialogue that could have come from a weirder version of Gilmore Girls. Most of that is due to Holly’s voice, which is quirky without ever being annoying, and the cast of wacky side characters who are satirical while still feeling like real human beings. There are even several laugh-out-loud moments, most of them revolving around the bug infestation destroying the town’s prized topiaries, a privileged problem that highlights just how hilariously ridiculous the Village of Primm is. A unique and over-the-top look at modern motherhood, full of funny and cringeworthy moments.
HOLLY BANKS FULL OF ANGST
Holly Banks, her husband, Jack, and their daughter, Ella, are the newest residents of the Village of Primm. An idyllic suburban enclave, Primm boasts a famed topiary garden, festivals in the town square, and an extremely engaged PTA president. Mary-Margaret St. James runs the social calendar of Primm Academy, and hasn’t met a task too big to bully fellow parents into volunteering for. When Holly gets off on the wrong foot with Mary-Margaret, she stumbles into a mystery she’ll do anything to solve. Valerie’s witty, rollicking novel is an ode to modern motherhood in the vein of Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It (2002) and Francesca Segal’s The Awkward Age (2017). While the plot pacing lags a bit, Holly’s journey from shrinking violet to confident kindergarten parent will entertain until the last page. Holly’s rich inner world and a larger-than-life ensemble of supporting characters plant this novel firmly in the dark comedy camp, perfect for fans of Matthew Norman and Francie Arenson Dickman. A charmingly cautionary tale of the pursuit for domestic perfection.
HOLLY BANKS FULL OF ANGST
Kathleen McInerney’s dynamic narration will have listeners either laughing out loud or cringing as she skillfully captures the absurdity and craziness of this dark comedic debut. Stressed out and overwhelmed, Holly Banks is failing at getting her life together after her husband’s job relocates them across the country to the zany village of Primm. With the brisk plot taking place in only a week, McInerney’s pace and lively tones reinforce the constant urgency of trying to be the perfect mom. McInerney easily transitions between characters and never misses a beat as the story unfolds through scenes, emails, texts, and inner monologue. Especially noteworthy is McInerney’s portrayal of Holly’s emotional vulnerability as she prepares both herself and her daughter for kindergarten.
E.P. © AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
THE PECULIAR FATE OF HOLLY BANKS
In Valerie’s (Holly Banks Full of Angst) latest, Holly Banks is back, and she’s still struggling to keep up with the Joneses, or rather, the Pinterest-perfect moms of the Village of Primm. Holly is juggling helping her kindergartener daughter, Ella, learn to read and maintain her numerous school activities; keeping track of her mother Greta’s dating life; and trying to find a use for her film degree. Maintaining status quo is nearly impossible, but Holly also becomes entangled in a plan to revitalize the village after she, albeit inadvertently, helped destroy its number-one tourist attraction the last time we saw her. Meanwhile, her Labrador, Struggle, digs up a piece of history that could solve a major historic debate between Primm and the next town over.
VERDICT Valerie combines laugh-out-loud situations with heart as Holly navigates her newest challenges. She takes a deep look at the people behind the social media posts and the struggles that everyone, even the seemingly perfect, faces daily. Recommended for those who enjoy reading about relatable heroines and parents who are trying to have it all.
THE PECULIAR FATE OF HOLLY BANKS
With a fledgling career, a home on the Enclave Tour, and a kindergarten wedding to plan, Holly doesn’t really have time for another Village of Primm mystery. But then her chocolate lab, Struggle, digs up a tarnished piece of metal meant to accompany an astrolabe, an ancient navigational device. Struggle is hailed as a town celebrity and the search continues for the rest of the astrolabe’s components, but the hunt reignites a longstanding dispute over the town’s natural resources. Holly doesn’t share Struggle’s gift for digging, but she throws herself into the mystery as a favor to her neighbors, and before long she must answer the question, What’s worth fighting for? With the same chaotic-but-well-meaning energy of Sophie Kinsella’s Becky Bloomwood, Holly does her darndest to keep everything afloat. Picking up where Valerie’s first novel, Holly Banks Full of Angst (2019), left off, this will fit right in with loyal Kinsella readers, fans of Tom Perotta’s Mrs. Fletcher (2017), and those who enjoyed the suburban intrigue of the Netflix show Dead to Me.