…and here we go again! More audio reviews for your next road trip, or travels around town.
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Hazel and Jack have always been best friends. Since they met in first grade, Hazel has always had Jack’s back, and Jack has always been there for Hazel. Until the day he stops talking to her. Hazel can’t figure it out; she didn’t do anything, nothing happened to drive them apart, Jack just…changed. Hazel’s mother tells her that sometimes that happens with friendships, especially when boys and girls are eleven and start to have different interests. But Hazel knows her mother is wrong.
The change in Jack started after it snowed, so Hazel starts her search in the park, where she knows Jack went that day. Soon Hazel, who never needed anyone but Jack, is meeting new people while she searches for answers. When she discovers that Jack’s heart has been frozen, Hazel knows that the solution to her problem lies in the stories she and Jack have treasured. But she’s one girl against the power of icy indifference. Can she save Jack and win?
I enjoyed the audio recording of Breadcrumbs very much. At first, I was surprised that Hazel’s story had a male narrator, but Kirby Heyborne has a very adaptable voice. His pacing was excellent, and his voices were great. Hazel and Kirby are eleven, and this book is probably enjoyable for kids in grades four through seven. If you enjoy fantasy, adventure or modern retellings of fairy tales, you will enjoy Breadcrumbs!
By Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer, Narrated by Robert Ian Mackenzie, Suzy Jackson, Nick Cordero and Jodi Picoult
7 CDs, 8.75 Hours
Once, inside a book, there lived a young man named Oliver. He hated his life in the book, playing the same role over and over and over. He didn’t really like the girl who played Seraphima, and he despised the fact that “happily every after” meant that the book would be closed, and he would have to start all over again at his sixteenth birthday celebration every time the book is opened. His greatest ambition was to escape the book and live his own life.
In our world, a girl named Delilah feels awkward and weird wherever she is. She hates school, but she loves books. Even though she’s in high school, she still enjoys reading fantasy and fairy tales. In the library at her private high school, she has found a beautiful hand-painted fairy tale book about a prince named Oliver, on a quest to save his love, Seraphima. She reads it over and over again, wishing that she could meet Prince Oliver in person.
And then, one day, she sees one of the illustrations move. At first she doesn’t trust her eyes, but she opens and closes the book several times, until she catches Prince Oliver in motion. Oliver decides that she’s trustworthy, and so he speaks to her…and she can hear him! Soon Oliver and Delilah are plotting ways to be together. Either they have to get Delilah into the book, or Oliver out of the book. They don’t know where exactly to start, but they’re willing to try anything and everything. Will they be able to have their own happily every after? And if they get it, will they want it?
Between the Lines is set up with several different points of view, and the audio has four different narrators. There’s a narrator for the fairy tale story, a narrator for the chapters from Oliver’s point of view, and a narrator for the chapters from Delilah’s point of view. Jodi Piccoult reads the author notes. I absolutely loved each of the narrators, and it was great to hear them imitate each other’s voices. Technically, this is a wonderful audio production. But. I had so many questions about the plot of the book, the motivations of the characters, and the little details of practicality and common sense that were just left out of the story. For that reason, I have to say that if details are important to you, you probably will not enjoy this book. If you’re just looking for something to listen to and not think too deeply about, this is a great audio. It’s all up to you.
Between the Lines is in our Teen collection, and is probably best for middle school readers. If you do listen to the audio recording, it’s worth picking up the book too. The illustrations are wonderful.
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Ninth grader Michael Vey is just a regular kid. Okay, that’s not true. He’s pretty tall. He has Tourette’s Syndrome, so he blinks a lot. He has a best friend named Ostin who’s a genius, and they both get bullied, though for different reasons. Michael has a crush on a cheerleader named Taylor. So…regular. Except that Michael Vey has a really, really big secret. And no one knows, except his mother, who years ago left a normal life behind and fled with Michael to Idaho, where they could hide in anonymity.
But it’s difficult for Michael to be just a face in the crowd, when he stands out so much. And when Taylor starts paying attention to him, he gets in trouble with the bullies at his school. Pushed to the end of his patience, he uses his secret power and shocks them. It’s an accident, but Ostin, Taylor and most of their classmates saw the electricity arc from Michael’s hands to the bullies he shocked. Everyone but Taylor is surprised, and Michael soon discovers that Taylor has her own secret. But even if one or two people can keep a secret, a whole community cannot.
Suddenly, Taylor has been sent away to an “exclusive” school, and Michael’s mother has vanished, kidnapped by the people who sent them on the run so many years ago. This mysterious organization doesn’t want his mother, they want Michael. Ostin vows to help Michael find Taylor and get his mother back, but to do so, they need to get to California. Can they rescue Michael’s mother without getting captured themselves? The outlook doesn’t look good…
The recording of Michael Vey, The Prisoner of Cell 25 is well done. I enjoyed the narrator’s voice, and he did a great job with accents, distinguishing a large cast of characters. The Michael Vey series is very popular with teen readers, currently with four titles out and more to come. Teens who enjoy reading series by Anthony Horowitz and Robert Muchamore will like these books just as much.
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Jacob has had a rough life. He became a foster child at the age of four, and went through a lot of different homes. Because of all the changes he’s had to endure, he’s mistrustful of most adults and their motivations. He’s been content for almost two year though, after meeting Mr. Fielding, who became his foster father. They shared a small home on the grounds of Holy Cross, a Catholic boarding school, where Mr. Fielding was a teacher. That is, until Mr. Fielding was killed in a head-on collision with a tree. Just before the accident, he touched Jacob and said “You are indestructible”. Somehow, Jacob survived the accident, although he has no memory of the actual impact.
Arriving back at school after the funeral, Jacob is invited to live in the staff quarters until he graduates. Mr. Fielding, it seems, was one of the benefactors of the school, and he has left Jacob a small fortune at his death. At first, Jacob is numb to the world around him, even his best friend Milo can’t seem to interest him in everyday life. Then Milo introduces him to his new friend Ophelia. Unfortunately for Milo, Jacob and Ophelia seem to hit it off. Ophelia, who takes risky chances and likes living life on the edge, is all about testing limits. Jacob, still trying to make sense of Mr. Fielding’s death, tells Milo and Ophelia about the accident, and repeats “you are indestructible!” as a joke, touching Ophelia on the arm. She decides to test it, pavement surfing on a new skateboard, hanging on to Milo’s car as he drives. But Ophelia’s hits a bump, then her head hits the pavement with stunning force. Jacob and Milo are sure that she’s dead, but she just gets up and brushes herself off. What is going on?
Jacob needs to find out. As he uncovers the mystery of Mr. Fielding’s past, he and his friends test the new power that seems to have come into their lives. At first, it’s an adrenaline rush that starts out as something exciting, but soon turns dark. Cheating death is a big responsibility, it turns out. Is this power something that will save lives, or will it cost Jacob and Milo and Ophelia everything?
Thirteen Days to Midnight is a suspenseful story, full of twists and turns. The narration of the audio book is well done, with dramatic flair in just the right spots. I thoroughly liked the narrator and the story, and I had no idea how it was going to end. Thirteen Days to Midnight is in our Teen collection, and is probably best for readers grades eight and up.
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If you’re looking for something to listen to for a family trip, to relax before bed, or to read with a book, visit the library! Our librarians are happy to help you find something to suit you, whether you’re looking for something for the family or something for yourself. And since I just found two more audio books I listened to that I haven’t reviewed, there are more reviews are coming soon…