Book review: ‘The Nature of Jade’ by Deb Caletti

The Nature of JadeAs part of my New Year’s resolution to enjoy the items I already own, I’ve decided to start reading — really reading — many of the novels I’ve had languishing on my bookshelves for years.

Like this one. Received in our blogger goodie bag back at the Book Blogger Convention in 2010 (!), I’ve been meaning to pick up Deb Caletti’s novel for, oh . . . well, about four years now.

So was it worth the wait?

Eh, sort of. But we’ll get there.

So here we have Jade DeLuna, a bright high school senior who privately battles a panic disorder. Stricken with anxiety for years, Jade finds focusing on the animals at a nearby zoo — the elephants, specifically — takes her out of her own head. She watches the live cam online most evenings, occasionally seeing a young man in a red jacket pop on her screen. He’s cute and uncertain, it seems — just like her.

And he’s got a kid strapped to his back.

A little investigative work — and some “coincidences” in timing — eventually lead her to come face-to-face with Sebastian, a local bookstore owner with a pained past. As Jade begins to volunteer with the elephants and learn more about them (and herself), she must come to terms with whether she’s ready and strong enough to let this kind of love filter into her life.

Deb Caletti’s The Nature of Jade started off strong for me. As someone who also deals with anxiety, I could definitely relate to our heroine’s struggles to live a “normal” life while keeping her feelings quiet. It was easy to empathize, really — almost too easy.

The elephant plot thread? Interesting. Not something I’ve seen before. While volunteering at the zoo, Jade meets lots of interesting folks and, of course, Sebastian — as well as his young son. The story of how the pair came to be on a houseboat with Sebastian’s grandma is interesting . . . but as the storyline progresses, it all seemed to be a little . . . weird.

I don’t know how to explain it. I guess it started with a sense that, while kind, Sebastian wasn’t quite what he seems. I never quite . . . bonded with him. Felt for him, maybe, but wasn’t nearly as enamored with him as Jade was. The whole progression of their relationship seemed odd, especially since the only thing initially pulling him to her was that, after hours, he would find himself gazing at the elephants the same way Jade would. Which she knew because she saw him on the online cam, looking moodily off at the sky. Just like Jade did.

Maybe it doesn’t sound that weird, but it was just . . . strange.

There were parts of The Nature of Jade I really liked, including our lead’s emotional journey from uncertain high schooler to rising college student. She gains confidence, poise and maturity, even as other aspects of her life begin to unravel. I found her parents’ marriage struggles to be realistic and heartbreaking, and I loved the dynamic she shares with Oliver, her little brother.

What I didn’t love? Sebastian’s back story. Without spoilers, I felt the rationale guiding his decisions to be . . . thin. That his grandmother aided him felt a little fishy to me, honestly, and I had a tough time relating to what he was doing. It seemed impulsive, strange and selfish, and I couldn’t help but wonder how the whole thing was going to play out. It was working for now, maybe, but what about five years from now? Or ten? His son would start asking questions. Everything would unravel.

And that distracted me. Not that I found Sebastian to be a truly bad dude or anything, but what was he doing drawing Jade into this whole disaster? True love and blah-ity blah blah, perhaps, but it seemed unfair. And the whole “I thought you were older” justification for their relationship didn’t strike the right chords with me. Or, like, any chords.

I’m being harsher in this review than I felt while reading it, maybe, but reflection creates differing opinions. It was a quick and mostly satisfying story, but not one I found especially memorable. Still, for fans of young adult and those who long to see anxiety disorders represented in YA culture, The Nature of Jade was a decent read.

3.5 out of 5!

Pub: Feb. 27, 2007 • GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for my honest review

Book review: ‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkAh, first love.

Eleanor knows she’s in it . . . but not quite how to get out of it.

And she has to, right? She can’t go on investing feelings and interest and time in someone who will simply outgrow her. Lose interest in her. Move on, move forward, be done.

But Park is looking for something, too. Security, acceptance, understanding . . . a sense of belonging he can’t find as the only Asian kid in a small Nebraska town. Eleanor has her flaming-red hair, plus a strange dress code only she seems to follow; Park has his tan skin and lack of athletic ambition, which plagues his totalitarian father.

Forced together by a war for bus seats, Eleanor first gets to know Park simply through his choice of reading material: comic books. Time passes without the two ever speaking a word to one another, but once the dam breaks?

Well, there’s no stopping it.

Set in 1986, the magic of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is the sweetness and nostalgia it evokes — the quiet power of remembering that blush of first love when everything seemed possible, yet nothing was for certain. Anyone who has felt that terrifying rush of emotion, that hurtling from a cliff, will recognize themselves in our young couple.

It’s impossible not to remember our own first experience liking someone who actually likes you back.

For me, it was N. In my senior year of high school, I didn’t feel I could graduate without ever having had a real boyfriend (hand-holding doesn’t count) — and when I screwed up the courage to ask him to the prom, he popped my balloon faster than you can say “corsage.”

He said he’d think about it.

Think about it. Like I’d asked him for a pay-day loan.

I remember that moment like it was yesterday: plucking up the strength to approach him, this friend I’d been flirting with for months; waiting for a private moment to ask casually about the dance; somehow pulling the serious, terrified words from my throat. The awkward silence after I asked the question. The awful, horrible weekend that followed, waiting to see what his answer would be come Monday.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have waited for him to “think about it.” But, you know. I was 17, desperate for a date to prom — and truly interested in N., who shocked the heck out of me by returning to school looking shame-faced, saying of course he would go with me, and my God he was sorry for keeping me in suspense.

And that was it. Lightning bolt! He liked me back.

Eleanor goes through a similar transition, one wavering between disbelief and surprise and terror that someone like Park would actually be romantically intrigued by her. Because Eleanor? She’s complicated. From her odd clothes to wild locks to isolation from everyone save her messed-up family, she never imagines Park could ever feel for her . . . you know, like that. And Park? For as cute and smart and funny as he is, he’s so influenced by his rigid father that he can’t understand he’s fine — perfect, even — just the way he is.

I often found myself cringing for Eleanor, wanting so badly to help her avoid the devastating effects of her  stepfather or the mean-spirited kids at school. I really felt for this couple, cheering them on from the beginning, and their deep understanding and affection for one another means readers are drawn completely into their warm little cocoon. As the plot thickened, my heart was hammering as I considered they could never come out of this unscathed.

But does anyone?

Is that even possible?

Eleanor & Park was heartbreaking, realistic, uplifting, often hopeful. It was suspenseful, compelling throughout, and I found myself reading it with a vigor I haven’t felt in a while. Portions reminded me of Sara Zarr’s Sweethearts, one of my favorite young adult novels — and just like Zarr’s story, it’s not one I’ll soon forget.

4 out of 5!

Pub: Feb. 26, 2013 • GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg

Book review: ‘The Age of Miracles’ by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of MiraclesThe Earth is slowing. Days are no longer true “days.” Phrases like the “crack of dawn” lose all meaning, and everyone is taking a stand. The world’s citizens divide into those who follow “clock time” — and those who don’t. Our 24-hour days eventually stretch to 40 hours or longer, with days or weeks stretching with no sunlight. Weather patterns shift; birds begin to mysteriously fall from the sky. Gravity alters. Life begins to dissolve.

For 11-year-old Julia, her sunny life in California is forever altered — and not just by the government-mandated time changes. The Slowing affects everyone: her parents, who experience a sudden rift in their marriage; her friends, who retreat into religion or new acquaintances; her young love interest, who has already experienced a devastating loss and isn’t ready for more.

While some of Earth’s denizens wrestle with the Slowing as a harbinger of the End Times, others use it as the impetus to shake up their quiet existences — joining cults, switching spouses, leaving jobs. As a middle-schooler, Julia understands little of the world’s changes . . . but The Age of Miracles is told from an older, wiser and more broken-down Julia: a woman from the future who knows things don’t pan out well. But we never quite get there.

And that’s my biggest issue — and disappointment — with Karen Thompson Walker’s novel: we never quite get there. Wherever “there” is. We know Julia is reflecting on her youth in California from a decade or so down the line, but we never feel the true grips of despair because it’s all so . . . vague. Despite being a true scaredy-cat, I came into this book hoping for a repeat experience of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It. That book captivated me, terrified me, left me aching for more . . . and even when life seemed unbearably bleak, Pfeffer knew how to pull us along and save us at the very last moment.

There was no saving here. The tone of the book? Bleak. Confused. No one is redeemed; no one gets saved. Julia is lost in a quagmire of longing and uncertainty, but we never see the Earth deteriorate past a point of recognition. Where rural Pennsylvania turns into a minefield of desperation in Life As We Knew It, suburban California just feels so mundane in The Age of Miracles. I wanted something to really happen, and . . . well, nothing much actually happens. Nothing to satisfy me, anyway.

But here’s the rub: I liked Julia. Because the tale is told from her older, first-person viewpoint, she often comes across as absurdly mature for an almost 12-year-old — but that goes with the narration. Her maturity didn’t bother me . . . in fact, I liked that she was wise enough to discuss the beginning and results of the Slowing so clearly, even if it lacked any urgency.

That’s what was missing for me: that sense of foreboding. I tore through Pfeffer’s novel with my heart in my throat, unable to focus on anything that wasn’t about a lunar disaster, and The Age of Miracles — while well-written and lyrical — lacked any commotion or connection. Honestly, I found much of it boring . . . not something I’d expect when discussing the potential end of the world. (Though we know it doesn’t end.) It did provide some food for thought, especially about the potential breakdown of society, but it wasn’t enough.

Fans of dystopian novels and young adult, coming-of-age tales might find Julia to be a young woman with whom they can relate, but it lacked that urgency that keeps me reading. I didn’t need fiery explosions, volcanoes erupting, nuclear holocaust or a perpetual winter . . . but I did want something to ignite in The Age of Miracles. Like, um, my interest.

But alas.

3 out of 5!

Pub: Jan. 15, 2013 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Audio copy borrowed from my local library

Book review: ‘When You Reach Me’ by Rebecca Stead

Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me was one of those novels gathering dust on my shelves since 2009, peeking its colorful head out every so often to squawk, “Hey, I’m still here, you know. Unread. Think you’ll get to me any time soon? You’ve read, like, thirty review books this year. And you paid good money for me, you idiot.”

Books can be so rude.

Set in the 1970s, When You Reach Me defies categorization. Its middle-school protagonist Miranda seems to settle it in a middle-grade or young adult fiction camp, but the themes — family; loyalty; friendship; time travel — speak to a diverse audience. As a 27-year-old who hasn’t dealt with bullies or mangled friendships in quite some time, I still found myself intrigued by Miranda’s story and easily relating to the complicated web of school dynamics. And there are these mysterious notes . . .

The time travel aspect was one of the most startling and delightful bits of this unique, fast-paced story. Loosely centered on the friendship between Miranda and best friend Sal, When You Reach Me has a series of odd letters at its heart. Miranda is a huge fan of Madeleine L’Engle, devoting her days to reading A Wrinkle In Time (which she refers to only as “her book”), and the reader starts to think all this time-travel business has gone to her head. She’s daydreaming, I thought. Or, She’s hallucinating.

To be honest, I wasn’t always sure of what was going on. But that disjointed nature — that confusion — made the ending all the sweeter.

For young readers, Miranda is the type of heroine we would wish our daughters to emulate. She’s whip-smart, inquisitive, watchful, loyal. She’s fearful of the crazy man on the corner, the one who seems to spend most of his time sleeping beneath a mailbox, and devoted to her mother. Throughout the narrative, Miranda’s single mom is preparing for a stint on a game show — and “The $10,000 Pyramid” is seen as a chance to help elevate their small family beyond their meager circumstances. Though Miranda never speaks of being poor in New York City, there’s a huge gap between she and a classmate, Julia — a gap Miranda constantly acknowledges. She was a sweet kid, I kept thinking — and a caring one. A kid you’d like to have yourself.

So much is happening here: Sal and Miranda’s floundering friendship; the kids’ new “job” working at a deli on their  lunch breaks; the friction between Sal and a kid who pummels him on a city street — one who ends up being Marcus, a pivotal character; and the strange notes that keep falling out of Miranda’s possessions, tucked away and packed with private knowledge. As Miranda further explores the concept of time travel with Marcus, the only other kid who doesn’t seem to think her interest is crazy, the pieces come together.

Though the plot is relatively simple, the story has great depth. Three years after purchasing this book, I’d forgotten what inspired me to pick it up — but other readers’ suggestions came flooding back to me as I read. It’s unconventional, surprising, heartwarming, true — all facets of a book I’m happy to call a winner. And when you’re finished, you’ll want to start all over again . . . piecing together the mystery that surprised me from the start.

4 out of 5!

ISBN: 0385737424 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg

Book review: ‘We’ll Always Have Summer’ by Jenny Han

Spoiler alert: if you haven’t read the first two in this three-book series, this post will contain spoilers for the previous two — but not this one.

The final book in Jenny Han’s much-loved Summer series peeked at me from my bookcase for more than a year, waiting for the moment — the warm, sun-baked moment — when I would finally throw it in my beach bag. Determined to finish the books at my own beloved beach house, I finally read We’ll Always Have Summer in the Outer Banks this year. And I cried.

Oy, these books. Gut-wrenching.

Considering I’m a sucker for anything relating to those tender, tantalizing days of first love, Han’s series seems tailor-made for me. In the final installment, years have passed since Susannah’s death — and the Conklin and Fisher families have scattered. While Belly and Jeremiah are wrapping up another year of college, Conrad has fled to the West Coast. Though everyone tries to soldier on in Susannah’s absence, they miss her — and their carefree summers at Cousins Beach — terribly.

While Belly still nurses a quiet love for Conrad, her relationship with Jeremiah has blossomed. Inseparable at the college they both attend, life seems perfect — or as close to perfect — as it can be . . . until an indiscretion threatens to separate them. When Jeremiah makes an impulsive declaration, life careens in an unexpected direction. Belly attempts to throw herself into a new life with Jeremiah, but she can’t shake the feeling that she’s uniting herself with the wrong Fisher brother . . .

And oh, angst. Drama. Tears. An epic love triangle.

I love these books.

Han once said that fictional Cousins Beach is a “not a real beach, but it’s sort of based on Cape Cod and also the Hamptons. And just a splash of the Outer Banks!”

Allow me to speak for every reader ever and declare, I want to go there.

Spending more than a few minutes in Belly’s Summer world, it’s not hard to conjure the best days you’ve ever spent along a sandy shore. Despite their often heavy subject matter, there’s something so light and free about Han’s stories — and that’s why I couldn’t wait to fall into her work again in June. I waited almost a year to learn what became of Belly, Jeremiah and Conrad. That is some self-control, my friends.

We’ll Always Have Summer brings us an older, more mature Belly — but she’s just as undecided about Conrad and Jeremiah as ever. Her first love is and will always be Conrad, but the affection she feels for Jeremiah seems to trump those feelings. She tries valiantly to forget the brief time she spent as Conrad’s more-than-friend, which seemed more dream than reality . . . but Belly can’t escape the way she felt (and still feels?) for him.

Other readers have complained that Jeremiah and Conrad did a “flip-flop” of personalities in this final book. While Conrad was always the broody one who couldn’t make up his mind, Jeremiah was the constant in Belly’s life: loyal, sweet and endearing. When Conrad acted like a jerk, it was Jeremiah who swooped in to comfort her. Conrad was the “bad boy” of the Fishers — the one who would ultimately break Belly’s heart. “So what’s with Han doing a 180, then?” others cry. To which I say: they changed. Jeremiah got older, started hanging around with his fraternity brothers, started acting like . . . a college guy. And Conrad, always the more serious of the two, went in a different direction. Just when Jere starts acting like a clown, Conrad gets his act together. It’s a pretty big role reversal, yes, but it made sense to me. Given where they were in life and what they were after, I got it.

By the end of this book, I was thumping my fingers against the text and begging Belly to make the right decision and crying at the pain on Conrad’s face and wishing everyone would just stop being so incredibly stupid. In this final narrative, we’re finally given access to the deep passages of Conrad’s mind — which was a real delight. Like getting the long-awaited key to a very complicated puzzle. But I wanted to shove him into action, too.

Just as in The Summer I Turned Pretty and It’s Not Summer Without You, Belly’s story flips between the past and present. Though it took a bit of getting used to, I’m very accustomed to her style now — and I really like it. I genuinely didn’t know where Belly was headed or which way she would sway, which made the read very suspenseful . . . almost to the point that I had to flip ahead to learn what she would decide. I forced myself to stay in the moment, though, and didn’t spoil it for myself.

And now I’m sad it’s over, of course. I long for it to be summer again. Perhaps Han will humor us and write a “Where are they now?” follow-up a few years on?

4.5 out of 5!

ISBN: 1416995587 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for my honest review

Book review: ‘Cinder’ by Marissa Meyer

You can’t bump around the reading world lately without seeing mention of Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, a new dystopian novel placing a pot of cyborgs, magical powers and evil stepmothers on simmer. If you’re a fan of “Cinderella,” that most classic of all fairytales (and Disney movies!), you’ll be intrigued by this one. But I’m not sure it lived up to the hype.

Cinder, a talented mechanic, toddles along the streets of New Beijing, China, trying to attract as little attention as possible. Her stepmother favors Cinder’s two sisters, Peony and Pearl, and pilfers the money Cinder makes working in a street market to enhance their lavish lifestyle. Relying on her own wits and savvy after her stepfather’s death, Cinder has no recollection of her mysterious past — or even how she arrived in New Beijing. But she’s about to find out.

Handsome Prince Kai, the future Chinese emperor, arrives at Cinder’s booth needing help with a royal android. Now on the prince’s radar, Cinder works to help repair the damage as a deadly plague begins to sweep Earth — and their city. When Peony falls ill, Cinder is blamed for her exposure to the sickness
. . . and must work quickly to save her sister’s life. What happens next changes the course of everything.

Cinder has a little bit of everything beneath its intriguing cover: romance; family dynamics; threat of annihilation; magical Lunar people. There’s all this talk of who Cinder really is and where she comes from and why she’s so special, so different from everyone else. There’s Prince Kai, who we’re told is all hottie hot (a rebellious Prince Harry, if you will). There’s all this talk of impending doom and disaster, and yet . . . I didn’t feel it.

I don’t know. I feel guilty. But I wasn’t crazy about this one.

First, the good: Cinder is the bold, stereotype-busting heroine we all love to see in YA literature. She’s not the demure young lady tucked away in a corner with her needlepoint. This chick is a mechanic, for goodness’ sake; she is hardcore. She’s up to her elbows in grease all day, fixing things that need fixing and building her positive reputation. Prince Kai comes to her because he hears she’s “the best” at what she does, and that’s pretty bad ass for a teenager.

But. But. I never really felt emotionally connected to Cinder. I felt for her and could sympathize with her plight, but as far as the twists and turns surrounding the discovery of her identity? I just wasn’t there. At many points I knew I should feel shocked or bamboozled, but I just never did. The whole thing was very tepid. I liked that Meyer changed up the fairytale, actually making Cinder very close to one of her “evil” stepsisters, but that wasn’t enough for me. I never felt engaged with the characters.

I just couldn’t get down with the Lunar people, either. Evil Queen Levana was a caricature, what with her wanting to take over the planet and all. Magical people living on the moon and threatening to screw up everything we’ve got going on here on Earth? Okay . . . I mean, I thought I could go with that. I started Cinder knowing it was a fairytale retelling, but the story never absorbed me enough to suspend my disbelief.

But you know what? I’m completely in the minority here. I’ve read positive review after positive review of Cinder, and all these fine and fashionable reviewers can’t be wrong. If you like dystopian fiction, fairytales turned on their heads or get down with fantasy, Meyer’s unique debut might just be for you.

3 out of 5!

ISBN: 031264189 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Personal audio book won in a giveaway from Capricious Reader

My thoughts on the narration: After getting my proverbial feet wet with audio books, I’m beginning to understand just how important a good narrator is to a production. Bad ones can completely ruin an otherwise great story for you, and I’m becoming much more discerning in the books I choose. That being said, Cinder’s narrator, Rebecca Soler, did a fine job voicing the titular character. As other reviewers have stated, it’s strange that Cinder — a Chinese character — would have an American accent, and I didn’t get much cultural flavor from the narration. But whatevs.

Book review: ‘Across The Universe’ by Beth Revis

Amy Martin is only 17 years old when she follows her parents into a frozen state of slumber, pledging to end her life on Earth in order to wake up in 300 years on a new planet. Along with scores of America’s finest scientists and military personnel, Amy and her parents are cryogenically frozen and loaded aboard Godspeed, the technologically-advanced ship that will carry them to Centauri Earth.

But things don’t go as planned. Fifty years from their planned arrival on the new planet, Amy wakes up — and nearly drowns in her ice-filled chamber. Elder, the ship’s future leader, is there to rescue “the girl with sunset hair” — and Amy wakes up to a scary world on Godspeed. Elder is part of a new race of people led by Eldest, a serious and somewhat tyrannical leader, in a place where any differences are discouraged and mating is regulated. When Amy discovers she’s not the only one being woken prematurely, Elder and Amy embark on a quest to discover who could be trying to kill the Frozens aboard Godspeed — before it’s too late for all of them.

Beth Revis’ Across The Universe is a heart-pumping, rollicking ride through space that had me gripping the steering wheel (this was an audio!) for dear life. With enough twists and turns to keep me intrigued, Revis’ debut novel — the first in a series — was powerful, thought-provoking and entertaining.

Amy is the type of YA heroine we all champion. Aggressive, loyal and wise beyond her years, she’s a fully-dimensional and empathetic character who captured my attention from the get-go. Across The Universe’s opening scene, in which the Martin family is undergoing the freezing process, had ice running (pun intended) through my veins. The early passages featuring Amy’s frozen dreams were spine-tingling. And don’t get me started on when she wakes up — yikes.

What bonded me to her, though, was not her sense of bravery or loyalty to her family. It was her girl-next-door-ness, if you will; the feeling that, despite the horrific and crazy things happening to her, she’s a normal girl struggling to make sense of an incredibly abnormal situation. The passages where she recalls Jason, her boyfriend back on Earth, and acknowledges that he would have been dead hundreds of years by the time she awakens . . . well, that was gut-wrenching. I imagined choosing now to leave behind my entire life — my friends, my other family, my hopes and dreams — for a chance to wake up on a new planet 300 years in the future. And I can’t — not without feeling sick.

For as well as I felt I got to know Amy, Elder is a little more foreign and otherworldly — which works, I guess, considering he’s . . . well, otherworldly. Born and bred to be the future leader of Godspeed, Elder is under the tutelage of Eldest, a truly frightening character. What scared me most about Eldest was the idea that, despite everything, his methods of containing Godspeed seemed perfectly logical to him. And when we realize Eldest isn’t giving us the whole truth, that scared me more.

Never once did I consider turning back once I’d started this adventure, and though it initially reminded me of Amy Kathleen Ryan’s Glow, a book I read last year, it was entirely its own story (and Across The Universe was actually published first). Loving this one so much actually forced me to revise my earlier opinions of Glow, something I don’t normally do, because the world of Godspeed was so tangible compared to the regulated one of the New Horizon. Both feature strong female leads (Amy and Waverly), but I much preferred the fast-paced and eery quality of Across The Universe.

And what of the love story? Despite the suggested intimacy of the hardcover art (at left), the growing closeness of Amy and Elder isn’t as critical to the story as I’d anticipated. This was no problem for me, considering I was so tied up in the intricate layers of deceit binding Godspeed together. All the same, I did nurse a little hope that Amy would come around to admiring Elder for his strength and bravery — and that maybe they’d hook up as an act of (serious) rebellion.

Guess I’ll have to check out the sequel for that.

Fans of fantasy, dystopian novels and stories set in deep space will find plenty to enjoy in Revis’ fast-paced, gripping novel. The societal issues regarding regulating the general populace, controlling the population and its mating habits (ooh, sexy!) and the absolute power of dictators (wasn’t Eldest doing exactly what he preached against, anyway?) elevated this above a simple dystopian novel. Despite its young adult designation, plenty of adult themes were laced into this awesome tale — so bear that in mind for young readers.

4.5 out of 5!

ISBN: 1595144676 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Personal audiobook borrowed from my local library

My feelings on the narration: A female and male narrator voiced Amy and Elder’s parts, respectively, and while I enjoyed both, Elder’s impersonation of Amy sounded like a caricature. You know how boys tease and imitate girls by making their voices all funny and high-pitched? Yeah. Like that. Thankfully, those moments were rare — and overall, I felt the narration and pacing were very well done. Elder almost had a slight accent, too, which contributed nicely to the otherworldly-ness of his character. When Amy admitted to having a hard time understanding the dialect, all the better.