Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: The Julian Chapter

The Julian Chapter: A Wonder StoryThe Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio

The Julian Chapter follows August Pullman's story found in Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I would call is a sequel novella and encourage readers to read Julian's book after Wonder.

Julian was one of the first students at Beecher Prep to meet Auggie. From the first appearance in Wonder, Julian's attitude was off. Readers didn't like Julian and I didn't care for him either. When Palacio came out with the Julian chapter, I was intrigued. What would Julian have to say for himself? He's a mean kid!

Julian's story begins with him saying that he's not a mean kid. He addresses the reader and begins to tell his side of the story. He shares his reasoning behind his attitude. He also shares what happened in his past that played a part in his reactions and attitudes that appeared during Auggie's story. But when Julian leaves Beecher Prep, his story continues over the next summer before sixth grade at a new school.

I was very impressed with this sequel novella. It's under 100 pages, which is three discs for those you like to listen instead of read. It's a powerful story of discovering yourself. I was shocked to have such a strong reaction to Julian's story. I understood his journey of remorse. We've all been in his shoes in some way or another with a mistake we've made, but it's all about what we do after the mistake that's important.

Michael Chamberlain narrated The Julian Chapter. It took me until disc two to be comfortable with his voice. He sounded too old to be Julian for me. It reminded me of hearing Unshackled! on the radio when the adult actor is a child. I also think it's difficult to read youthful slang when you're older. "Peeps" and "dudes" just sound strange and humorous coming from adults. But at the same time, Chamberlain had distinct voices for each character and his French accent sounded believable to me. It's a well down performance for an adult.

Brilliance Audio also added music at the in and out of each disc as well as having another narrator telling the listener the change discs.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Julian Chapter by R. J. Palacio
Series: A Wonder Story
Read by Michael Chamberlain
Produced by Brilliance Audio
Number of Discs: 3
Total Time: 2 hours, 36 minutes
ISBN: 9781491524091

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Four Years of Audiobooks

Adolescent Audio Adventures began on February 25, 2011. I wanted to share my joy of audiobooks with others who enjoy listening to books. It's been another amazing audio year and it's time to take stock of all the books I heard over 2014. Let's break it down...

Juvenile Fiction [estimated trt: 5 days, 15 hours, 38 minutes] 
Splendors and Glooms
For Young Women Only
The Interrupted Tale
Sky Raiders
The Wig in the Window
Froze: Junior Novelization
West of the Moon
Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom
Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle
Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw
The Incredible Journey
The Christmas Quiet Book
In a Glass Grimmly
The Secret of the Key
One Came Home
A Snicker of Magic
Fortunately, the Milk
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail
The Smallest Gift of Christmas
Rogue Knight
The Shadows

Adult [trt: 1 day, 8 hours, 2 minutes]
Mandela: An Audio History
The Family of Jesus
The Greatest Gift
The Thousand Dollar Tan Line
When Books Went to War
Food: A Love Story

28 books (and over 150 hours) were counted in this year's review.  Seven more titles than last year and over a day more of listening! It's always a surprise to figure out each year's summary. The most memorable titles when I look back at the list include The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, When Books Went to War, Brandon Mull's newest series Five Kingdoms, and the Hero's series.

This year I am looking forward to the next Five Kingdoms' title Crystal Keepers, the final Books of Beginning title: The Black Reckoning and the titles available this summer at Audiobook SYNC. What book or books are you looking forward to hearing this year? 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: The Shadows

The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, #1)The Shadows by Jacqueline West

There is a mysterious old house on Linden Street. A family of out-of-towners come and buy the amazing house, with all of the previous owners possessions still inside. The father and mother are mathematicians with a creative daughter named Olive. Olive loves to explore all the treasures of the old house. She especially loves to wear the old jewelry and gloves. One day when she puts on a pair of spectacles, she discovers that the pictures all over the house are alive!

Jacqueline West created a new fantasy series about a girl who could enter paintings. It felt like a mix between Neil Gaiman's Coraline and Marianne Malone's The Sixty-Eight Rooms. Yet not as dark as Coraline and not as lighthearted as the Sixty-Eight Rooms. (At least for me, your reading experience can differ greatly from my own.) It was quite a clever story about art and magic together. The familiars in the book add lighthearted silliness to the book. Overall it was a pretty solid story. The acceptance at the end toward the animals staying was a bit cheesy, but I can over look it. The familiars are necessary for the house and how else would they stay except for pure acceptance.

I would recommend this title to older elementary students and middlers. I wouldn't recommend it as a family listen on a car trip because younger listeners might not like the darkness of the book.

Lexy Fridell was the narrator for The Shadows. It took me a whole disc to become accustomed to her voice, but she shares a very good narration. (The familiars have some excellent and outrageous accents!) Her voice reminded me a lot of Kristin Chenoweth.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Shadows by Jacqueline West
Series: Volume 1, The Books of Elsewhere
Read by Lexy Fridell
Produced by Penguin Audio
Number of Discs: 5
Total Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes
ISBN: 9780143145714

Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: Valentines

Valentines: A Bouquet of Letters and Poetry for Lovers by Stefan Rudnicki

This literary bouquet was created from well-known writers of the past. Over ten writers are represented in this romantic collection: William Blake, Lord Byron, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, Mary Ellen Patrick Downing, Robert Frost, Heloise, Ben Johnson, James Joyce, Edgar Allan Poe, Adelaide Ann Proctor, Christina Rossetti, Carl Sandburg, William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Tollet, and William Butler Yeats. To represent the assortment of voices in the poems, the audiobook features over twenty vocal artists. For little over an hour of listening, a great amount of care was given to this audiobook.
Adolescent Audio Adventures : Audiobook Review of Valentine

Each chapter track features two or more written pieces and a different reader for each piece. Aside from the words and the reader, each track has a musical bed. An orchestra played wonderful musical selections underneath the poetry. Skyboat Media listed the musical pieces in a pdf on their blog post about Valentine. (Thank you, Skyboat!)

This quick audiobook bids the listener to relax, reflect, and enjoy different perspectives on love. It's a beautiful book that can be savored. I think adults will enjoy listening to this book, but it could also be used in a classroom setting for high school or college. It's great to hear poetry read aloud and hearing professional readers can add new life to a written piece of art.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Blackstone Audio!
I received this audiobook from Audiobook Jukebox in exchange for an honest review.

Blackstone Audio

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: Rogue Knight

Rogue KnightRogue Knight by Brandon Mull

Cole, Mira, Twitch, and Jace escaped the Sky Raiders and defeated Mira's shaping power. They are on their way to Elloweer. Their goal is to find Mira's sister, Honor. Her star in the sky came out, then disappeared. She needs her help, but only Mira saw the sign.

Rogue Knight picks up where Sky Raiders left off. If you can't remember the whole story of book one, I would highly recommend re-listening to Sky Raiders. I started with the last disc of book one and it helped immensely.

Rogue Knight was just as captivating as Sky Raiders. Elloweer's shaping power is different, so the group meets new friends and enemies along their travels. Cole also comes in contact with others not from the Outskirts. (I don't want to give anything away!) In addition to meeting others who help (or hurt) the young warriors, share more information about themselves. The story is slowly unfolding, but there is so much more to come!

Mull wraps up Rogue Knight well. There is humor, magic, battles, and surprises. I didn't feel that there was a cliff hanger, which I appreciated! I'm still invested in the story and the characters, so an intense cliff hanger is not needed. As with the first book, middlers will enjoy this adventurous tale, but younger ones might be unprepared for the battle scenes. I would advise adults to preview the tale for any nervous younger readers. It's reported that the next title comes soon. Mark your calendars, readers! I know it's on my to-read list.
Adolescent Audio Adventures review and quote | Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull

Keith Nobbs returns to read Rogue Knight! I think he maintained his characters well. It was a good listen. I think Callista's voice might have been my favorite in this book. I hope that he will return for the next title in the series, Crystal Keepers.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Simon & Schuster Audio!

Audio Book Details...
Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull
Series: Book 2, Five Kingdoms
Read by Keith Nobbs
Produced by Simon & Schuster Audio
Number of Discs: 11
Total Time: 13 hours, 39 minutes
ISBN: 9781442372535

Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: When Books Went to War

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War IIWhen Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning

The title of this book drew me in right away. On further review the description was very intriguing. Since reading is my biggest pastime, I thought this non-fiction piece would be an interesting tidbit of history. I'm so glad Blackstone Audio made this title into an audiobook. I greatly enjoyed reading non-fiction as an audiobook!

Molly Guptill Manning discovered ASEs while writing her first book, The Myth of Ephraim Tutt. While researching Tutt, she found Tutt's book as an Armed Services Edition. As further research brought more references to ASEs, Manning knew she wanted to know more. (She explains more on her blog.)

I'm so happy she looked into and shared her research about Armed Services Editions and the history around them! I quickly became enthralled with her book. The history began with book burning events in history and ends with the GI bill after VJ day. One of the main themes was WWII being a "war of ideas" and how Americans fought the ideas war.

Manning offers great quotes throughout her book from letters mailed to publishers, authors, war correspondents, and other well-known individuals of WWII. She also shares WWII history beyond the books, which surprisingly are softly tied to reading and ASEs. Reading is an everyday skill and ASEs are only a small part of WWII, but both hold an amazing place in history. ASEs were a key to changing the book publishing history! I never knew that and I doubt I would have found out if not for Manning's book. Yes, there is some overlapping (or repetition) but she covers a lot of material and time in this book. I didn't mind the repetition or jogs between years.

I would recommend When Books Went to War for anyone who is interested in WWII, books about books, publishing, business, banned books, and libraries. I think a wide audience would be interested in this title. Mostly adults will probably read it, but college students and high schoolers might enjoy it as well.

Bernadette Dunne narrates Manning's book. I enjoyed her vocal skills. She was consistent throughout the nearly 7 hours of reading. Dunne shared mild nuisances when portraying writers of letters or individuals sharing small bits of reports and the like. She was a great reader for this non-fiction piece. I would listen to another book read by Dunne. No music accompanied this audiobook and it wasn't needed.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Blackstone Audio!

I received this audiobook for free from Audiobook Jukebox for an honest review.


When I finished When Books Went to War, I wanted to find out even more information about ASEs. Here are some of the articles and websites I found about ASEs...

Molly Guptill Manning explains how she discovered ASEs
Molly Guptill Manning speaking with

ASE's explained by Wikipedia
List of ASE Titles and Authors from Armed Services Editions
Books for Victory Publishing During WWII blog
Literature on the Frontlines: The History of Armed Services Edition Books article from The Art of Manliness (This article also shares book cover images of published ASEs.)

Books in Action (Library of Congress Center for the Book)

More WWII Audiobook titles to enjoy via BookRiot


Blackstone Audio

Friday, February 6, 2015

Audiobook SYNC 2015 is Coming!

Audiobook SYNC is returning in 2015! Mark your calendars for May 7, 2015. That's the beginning of a fourteen week audio adventure. The final download day is August 13, 2015.

Audiobook SYNC Logo| 2015 Upcoming Titles | Adolescent Audio Adventures

At the end of January 2015, Audiobook SYNC announced 26 out of the 28 titles they will be sharing this summer. More titles are to come along with the book pairings. SYNC pairs one classic book with one YA book each week during the summer. Visit their blog for the complete listing of their upcoming titles.

I'm looking forward to hearing many of the titles, but here are two that rank near the top of my list:  Courage has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles by Tanya Lee Stone (Brilliance Audio) and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Penguin Audio). What titles are you looking forward to hearing this summer? I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

2015 Odyssey Award

The American Library Association hosted the Youth Media Awards on Monday, February 2, 2015. During the awards ceremony the Odyssey Award is given to the "the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States."

2015 Odyssey Award Winner Collage | Adolescent Audio Adventures

“H. O. R. S. E. A Game of Basketball and Imagination,” produced by Live Oak Media, is the 2015 Odyssey Award winner. The book is written by Christopher Myers and narrated by Dion Graham and Christopher Myers.

Three Odyssey Honor Recordings also were selected:

“Five, Six, Seven, Nate!” produced by AUDIOWORKS (Children’s) an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc., written by Tim Federle, and narrated by Tim Federle;

“The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place,” produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, written by Julie Berry, and narrated by Jayne Entwistle;

“A Snicker of Magic,” produced by Scholastic Audiobooks, written by Natalie Lloyd, and narrated by Cassandra Morris.


As of February 2015, I have only listened to A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd which I found utterly delightful. I happily shared it with young patrons who were looking for a sweet read (or listen). I'll have to put these other titles on my to-listen list. Have you had a chance to listen to any of the 2015 Odyssey Award books? Let me know your thoughts!
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