Jane Valiante had put so much of her life on hold to care for her father and little brother back in Florida since her mom died, that she’d all but forgotten she once had ambitions of her own. She had nearly resigned to a life of ordinary when the hottest tech company in the world offers to fly her to New York for the job of her dreams.
After what shapes up to be a whirlwind of an interview, Jane starts to feel overwhelmed and insecure about her chances. Feeling defeated, she’s surprised to receive an invitation to the holiday party from the CEO and Founder, Peter Wright, planned for that evening. Hoping this could be her opportunity to seal the deal, she happily accepts. That’s when everything in her world turns upside down as she finds herself back in her hotel room with Peter after the party. What started as a drunken misunderstanding leads to a brutal sexual assault that leaves Jane shattered.
Torn by the violence of what happened that night and the shocking choices she inevitably makes, Jane embarks on a precedent-setting journey to right the wrongs she has endured that could ultimately define the fate of a generation.
The novel is fast-paced and often funny, although Valenti is not afraid to cover heavy subject matter (PTSD, blackouts, recovery). Jane is fully fleshed out as a sympathetic, imperfect, and realistic protagonist with a grim sense of humor. Her friendship with college friend Carmen, now a lawyer, is a bright spot, a supportive relationship between two women who are each going through hard times. Jane’s concerns—about how to tell her friends, whether to tell her father, and what will become of Imaigene’s scientific breakthroughs—are well thought out and suspenseful.
Valenti, herself a sexual assault survivor with a background in tech, handles the darker elements of the story deftly. Sometimes the plot can feel more convenient than realistic, but the settings and relationships come off as authentic, with a recognizable, well-defined office culture and realistic interplay among characters. Although it deals with trauma and violence, Jane’s journey is ultimately one of resilience and triumph, and Valenti’s telling is a well-paced, enjoyable read.
Takeaway: This humane, honest, and timely workplace novel balances lightness and darkness in its narrative of resilience after sexual assault.
Great for fans of: Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada, Idra Novey’s Those Who Knew.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
5 out of 5 stars - Krsitine~ReadALittleWhineAboutIt
This book brings up so many questions. So many emotions. So many whys?.
I have to applaud Jennifer Valenti on writing about something so personal. The first thing that comes to mind is how incredibly brave she is. But, why? Why does she have to be classified as brave? Why isn’t honest or heartfelt the first thing we think of, or genuine and strong? Because honestly, being a woman today, kinda sucks. Because, women are often objectified and we lose credibility because of it. Like it’s our fault.
Even from the beginning this book highlights how women downplay themselves, because society tells us this is how we should be.
“What was I doing here? I’m not qualified to work for this company, am I? What do I have to offer them?”
This was 100% relatable to me, and I loved it. There is so much pressure to be the pretty one, the easy going one, the one who has it all together, no baggage. Why can’t we fall apart? Why can’t we be real? Why can’t we be “unconventional”?
Usually, weak women characters bother me. I like my main characters, especially female, to show strength. To stand up for themselves. Just overall not give a shit what anyone thinks. So, right off the bat this book should not be for me. But, I think that’s the whole point of the novel. It definitely brings attention to why I look for the characteristics I look for. Because, I want to see women be badass. Even when I myself fell inadequate, or maybe that’s exactly why. Women standing up, women speaking out. That should be the everyday normal.
I loved how this book went through Jane’s thought process. I was so present in her head, I could not put this down. The comparison between the before and after was really well done. The spotlight on the crooked workings of companies, all to save face, was excellent. The attention to the warped justice system was spot on. Janes character overall, was the poster child for strength. Her journey was written wonderfully and I’m so glad I got to witness it.
I warned you this book brought out so many feelings.🙈
Jennifer Valenti knocked this out of the park, and with grace. I can’t wait to see where this goes.
The only thing left to say to Jennifer Valenti is keep on being your badass self. All generations of women need more of you.
Thank you book sirens and Jennifer Valenti for a chance to read this novel. All thoughts are my own.
5 out of 5 stars - Dr. Raye of Sunshine
I received an advance review copy from the author and BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.
I’m not going to lie, when I read the synopsis of this book in my suggestion feed for BookSirens, I hesitated. The premise of the book holds a huge trigger for me being a survivor myself. I took a deep breath and decided to read the book anyway. I’m so, so glad I did.
Jane is an average woman. She knows she wants more but like many women today, she feels self conscious about her odds or whether she even belongs. What happens next brings you on a whirlwind. Then....THEN.
And you, as the reader, are pissed. Angry. Enraged. Furious. Every other synonym and emotion that is even vaguely similar to anger crosses your mind. You FEEL for Jane.
As she cries, as she heals, as she grapples, you are there. Her character is so well developed and real.
As the story unfolds, you recognize that Jane is really altruistic. She’s not thinking of herself. She’s really making some of her choices based upon her mother and millions of women she has never and will never meet. Personally I found the information about her job and the data aspect to be quite fascinating. You can’t help but understand why Jane is making the choices she’s making even though she’s also clearly not over the trauma of her experience.
In the end, I have to admit I was fantasizing about kicking some major behind myself (if only I could crawl into the pages of the book and kick someone’s teeth in...wouldn’t that be satisfying??).
But really. Read this book. It’s amazing. You will root for Jane and hope a passing truck runs over a certain someone. (You will also volunteer to drive the truck.) This book will suck you in and won’t let go. Long after finishing you will feel Jane. She has definitely permeated my brain.
An amazing start to a promising series.
"Over the course of this book, Valenti draws on her own experience as a sexual assault survivor in her description of Jane’s harrowing story. She also clearly portrays Jane’s rage and confusion as the novel explores the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of interpersonal violence. The author thoughtfully includes an opening trigger warning for readers who may have had similar experiences in their own lives. The story’s central theme is a timely one, and Valenti’s vivid style ably conveys its heft. Overall, this is an empowering, moving, and inspirational work.
An intense, impressive debut featuring sparkling prose and a truly valiant protagonist."
5 out of 5 stars - Mahnoor K. Reviewer
Oftentimes, when a woman speaks up about her sexual assault experiences, she is discredited. She is asked all kinds of questions. Why didn't she go to the police? Why didn't she fight back? Why didn't she speak up earlier? No one considers the magnitude of the situation. No one considers the trauma she may have experienced. No one tries to find out what she is going through. In The Maverick, Jennifer Valenti takes the reader through the emotional process a woman goes through during and after she experiences sexual assault.
Jane Valiante lives a monotonous life with big dreams. She takes care of her father and her younger brother in Florida. She performs boring tasks as a data scientist at an insurance company. So when a recruiter calls to tell her that the position of senior data analyst at her dream firm, Imagiene, is empty, she rushes to apply. As she flies to New York for her interview, she is excited at the prospect of living in her dream city, working at a firm that is developing technology to detect cancer in patients before they reach Stage 1. After acing the interview, she is invited to a holiday party to meet all the other employees. She is excited and overwhelmed.
All this ends when she offers to let her potential boss, Peter Wright, stay the night in her hotel room so he does not have to drive too far to get home that night. After kissing her in the cab, he forces himself onto her at the hotel room, despite her constant protests, and despite the fact that she switches beds to be away from him. He doesn't care, and nothing stops him from raping her. Traumatized and devastated, Jane goes back home. She is unable to tell anyone what happened. She expects to receive a rejection from Imagiene due to this encounter. Instead, she is accepted. Not only that, but she learns that Peter was her biggest advocate. Unsure as to what game he plans to play, Jane accepts the offer, determined to beat him at his game. She knows that she is making a mistake by going to work for him, but she is in desperate need of an update to her life. Once at work, she tries her level best to concentrate, despite how much Peter's presence haunts her. She ends up doing really well, and being responsible for their team breaking a record. Amidst subtle threats, frustrating behavior, and high expectations, Jane adjusts to life at the company. Until she finds out that she is not the only employee Peter assaulted. Circumstances begin to get dangerous and Jane struggles to decide what to do. Will she do the right thing and get justice, or will she prioritize her job over all else?
The book is a heartbreaking yet fantastically written story. Full of excellent descriptions and creative metaphors, the writing style will keep you engaged through out. The author maintains a comedic tone, whereby she uses dark humor and clever references. Full of exciting events, enjoyable narrations, and sudden revelations, The Maverick will take you on a literary journey like no other. We are shown certain contrasts between Jane's feelings and thoughts before and after she was assaulted. She is first shown to love New York and its views, and on her way back, notices nothing due to the fact that New York is ruined for her.
We are shown how corrupt and biased the justice system is, the lengths people go to save their company's reputation, as well as the stages sexual assault survivors go through in coping with what happened.
5 out of 5 stars - Diana G. Reviewer
What a great read, and especially for a debut author! I felt emotionally connected to the main character, Jane, the entire time and it was hard to put down the book, even for a dinner break. The Maverick was able to create visual imagery for me as I read each word. I felt like I was with Jane as she battled with her internal voice. I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series.
5 out of 5 stars - Lynn H. Reviewer
Fair warning: This book discusses a serious subject that many may hesitate to want to read. I will say that it was told in such a way that was descriptive but not graphic. However, some people may still be triggered by the content.
Their[sic] were several emotions that I felt while reading the story. Life itself is full of emotions as we humans are not robots as much as some would like us to be.
Overall, I think it was a well-written Women’s Fiction book. I’m grateful that Hyde Park imprint, Mindbuck Media, and NetGally made it possible for me to read an advance reader’s copy.
4 out of 5 stars - Petra H. Reviewer
It's a great read, even though it's not always an easy-to-swallow topic. Very well done for a debut. I'm curious how the series will be continued.
4 out of 5 stars - Elizabeth H. Reviewer
I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Jennifer Valenti's debut novel is impressive, considering this is her first published work. Please note *trigger warning * for sexual assault, PTSD. Jane Valiente (a name which is very similar to the author. She disclosed at the beginning the book is based on her own assault) is a data scientist at an insurance company in Florida, living with her dad who is recovering from a stroke and her 13 year old brother. Jane's mom died of breast cancer. Jane gets an opportunity to interview for her dream job for a tech start up based in NYC. The product they are seeking FDA approval for would help diagnose breast cancer before it even gets to stage 1. Jane prepares for the interview. Except the thing she couldn't prepare to happen. Despite the horror of what happens, Jane accepts the job offer and moves in with her best friend Carmen, a public defender and DACA recipient. Jane tries to suppress what happened even though it's obvious she suffers PTSD. Some of the tech details were lost on me. However it was a quick read & victorious ending with a follow up book due next spring. Jane has an excellent support system of friends. This book is one I'd recommend if you can handle the trigger warning.
4 out of 5 stars - Rubie C. Reviewer
What a fantastic novel. The Maverick Is an emotional ride of a book from jump street. The fact that Jennifer wrote this book says something. I absolutely love books that talk about real life happenings and that's what this book does. I loved the plot, the characters, the setting, how real this was! Thank You NetGalley Publisher and author for this amazing ebook!
Link to Reviews: netgalley.com/book/202756/reviews