Tag Archives: audio book

Relic by Heather Terrell

22 Oct

relicRelic
Series: The Books of Eva

Author: Heather Terrell
Publisher: SoHo Teen
Publication Date:  October, 2013

Audiobook: Blackstone Audio
Narrator: Angela Brazil

Eva lives in the Aerie in New North, a frozen tundra, after a world-wide catastrophe happened with major flood killing the majority of the world 200 years before.  Eva is a maiden following the ways of the Lex.

Eva loses her twin brother and decides with only months to go to take on the Testing.  The Testing sends young people (males and Eva) to the frozen tundra to survive in the ice and find relics of the past to prove that the New North ways are best.  Fiction is not allowed and the name of the pre-disaster false god is Apple.

This book is packaged as a Hunger Games-type dystopia, but its really not.  There is a hidden conspiracy.  But Eva was not forced or encouraged to do the Testing.  And I throughout the book, I wondered at Eva’s physical abilities capable of making this journey in just a few short months.  Clearly she’s smart, if misguided.  And clearly she has rebelled in small, insignificant ways in the past.  I got tired of hearing about the god Apple.  I would have preferred any other name rather than make it out like all of society has this one singular tech device.  Coke and Tylenol make the bad list too.

Even with those complaints, the book does move.  There is an element of romance, though its subsumed in the frantic concerns for what she finds.  And there is the question of who to trust and why.  I’m curious about the second book, but I haven’t sought it out yet either.

I borrowed this book from our library in an MP3 version to listen to on the way to work.  I thought Angela Brazil had a great voice and really brought the characters to life.

Recommended: Grades 6 – 8.

 

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

30 Sep

AriDanteAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers;
Published: February 2012

Audio Book Published: April 2013

Since starting to work south of the city, it is my preferred choice to listen to an audio book during the drive.  In fact, I usually catch up on a favored murder mystery in the car.  It takes about 2 to 3 weeks of listening during the morning and afternoon commute only to hear a book.  And, I rarely listen to a book I’ve read on paper.  It’s a quirk, but it’s my quirk.

When I couldn’t get the author I wanted, I searched the library’s Overdrive for another book.  I have no idea why I choose this one.  I have no idea why I started to listen, but I can tell you why I kept listening.  Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was like unraveling a lovely poem.  The slow, steady growth of the friendship between two boys was touching.  Mix it with literary references that made me want to stop the car and look them up and you have a good story.

Aristotle is an isolated 15 year old boy.  Not completely friendless, but solitary.  On a slow summer’s day, he meets Dante, an irrepressible young man with an outgoing way and fearlessness towards life.  Or so it seems to Ari.  The story extends over the summer with a scary accident, the following school year and the following summer with a scary attack as the boys experiment with life – but not too harshly because as Dante says “we’re really good guys.”  Ari struggles to be 15 and then 16.  He wants to understand his family, his missing brother, and why he is the way he is. Dante shares his secret – he is attracted to other boys.  Ari’s fine with Dante’s announcement, but it doesn’t affect him.  Or does it?

I didn’t really pay attention to the narrator at first, except that his voice was very familiar.  Then I looked it up.  Lin-Manual Miranda of the Broadway hit “In the Heights”.  If you have ever enjoyed an audio book, or never enjoyed one, try this.  The combination of the story, the words and the narrator are irresistible.

Recommended: Grades 9 & up

Note:  I remember listening and wondering if my 15 year old son would enjoy this book.  Then afraid he’d think I was critiquing his life or sexuality if I suggested it.  Then thinking I was just going to get the book and hand it to him anyway simply because he would enjoy a well-written book.  When I finished listening, I was picking up carpool and decided to return the book which is always an event for me with Overdrive.  As I fumbled with my phone trying to return it, my son arrived at carpool and glanced over to see what I had been listening to.  He smiled and said:”That was a good book.  Did you like it?”  “When did you read it?”  “At the start of the summer – it was really good.” Yes, it is.