Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Catch You Later, Traitor

Catch You Later, Traitor is Avi's newest historical fiction title for middle school listeners and readers. He tells a story about the Collison family, specifically 12 year old Peter. The family lives in Brooklyn, New York in the year 1951. Professor Collison teaches at an area college, Mrs. Collison is guidance counselor at an area school, older brother Bobby goes to high school and has dreams of space, and Peter, the youngest Collison, is attending middle school. Peter hangs out with his best friend Kat, enjoys playing punch ball at school, and loves a good detective story. The Collisons are living a typical 1950's lifestyle when Peter's teacher tells his class that Peter is a "pinko." All the sudden Peter's world is turned upside down! His teacher and his classmates give Peter the cold shoulder, an FBI agent wants to talk to him about communism, and his family is full of secrets. Peter needs to turn into a detective, like Sam Spade, and find out the truth!

The description of Catch You Later, Traitor brought to mind a variety of media that I previously consumed, but with a new twist and historical story. I thought of Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin, The Brixton Brothers series by Mac Barnett, and the movie The Majestic. In Avi's story, it was a double detective story. Peter loves to hear about Sam Spade on the radio and he also reads detective magazines. With all his sleuthing knowledge, he sets out to discover his family secrets and why the FBI is after him. It's a very captivating historical mystery. As Peter unearths family history, his mind picks up part of his life as if Peter himself was a detective story. (Those sections were fun to hear on the audiobook.)

The story picked up pace as Peter shares his life in the 1950's and his findings about truth, freedom, and family. I felt that Avi wrote on a topic that is "new." I know of very few (in any) books for middlers that talk about the Red Scare in the 1950's. There are books on the World Wars and the Great Depression, but not too many about these themes from a young citizen's perspective. If you know of a title, please leave a comment.

Mark Turetsky narrates Avi's Catch You Later, Traitor. I've previously heard him read The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger and The Candymakers by Wendy Mass. It's been a couple years since I've heard Turestsky, but he captured the youth of Peter Collison wonderfully. He gave different tones and voices for the other characters as well. At times, the narration was breathy (where you can hear Mark take a breath before speaking), but the story was captivating. After the first two discs, it wasn't so noticeable to me. Would I listen to another title narrated by Mark Turetsky? Yes, I would listen to Mr. Turetsky again.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Recorded Books!

Audio Book Details...
Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi
Read by Mark Turetsky
Produced by Recorded Books
Number of Discs: 6
Total Time: 7 hours, 9 minutes
Release Date: March 2015
ISBN: 9781490664637

Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: The Graveyard Book Full Cast Edition

The Graveyard Book originally came out in 2008. I cannot recall what drew me to the book, but I fell in love with it. Neil Gaiman narrated his story when it first appeared on the shelves. He's a fantastic narrator and I listened to the book several times. When a full cast version of The Graveyard Book came out 2014, I was very intrigued. I've heard few full cast audiobooks, but I have heard hundreds of hours of radio dramas. I was so happy to see one of my local libraries purchase this title. I put it on hold as soon as I could!

The Graveyard Book CD: Full Cast ProductionWhat a well-produced audiobook! Neil Gaiman reading the story was great and the full-cast audio was pretty amazing. The voices together were genuine, believable, and added a new depth to the story. A couple digital effects were added to the story to build part of the characters and/or the situation. I never considered The Graveyard Book as a scary story, but with the added effects it definitely had that uneasy, slightly terrifying edge. It was also a story that could be enjoyed all together or separated into a radio drama series. I could clearly hear why this production of the The Graveyard Book earned an Audie Award.

I would highly recommend listening to both versions of The Graveyard Book. Both audiobook versions were fantastic. I don't want to say the Gaiman narration or the full cast audio were better than the other. They were both delightful! When an excellent book is paired with an amazing audio, it's a book I want to share with everyone! In addition to the story, Neil Gaiman adds an essay about the creation of The Graveyard Book. It was a beautiful and thoughtful addition. He also hinted about checking up on Silas and what he's up to back home. Gaiman also said that, as with The Graveyard Book, another book would come in it's own time.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Read by Full Cast
Produced by Harper Audio
Number of Discs: 7 CDs
Total Time: 8 hours 24 minutes
Release Date: September 2014
ISBN: 9780062364463

Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: Mystery of the Midnight Rider

Nancy Drew and her friends George and Bess are back home in River Heights. It's good to be home but a new mystery is just around the corner! This time Nancy is hanging out with Ned at the River Heights Horse Show where a friend of his family, Payton Evans, is competing with her horse Midnight. It's a tough competition and someone is out to get Midnight and Payton!


Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Mystery of the Midnight Rider
The previous titles in the Nancy Drew Diaries series were travel adventures and wonderfully fantastical in the setting of Alaska. Now that Nancy is back home she's living her "normal" life. "Normal" being an amateur sleuth in her town. It's still a bit fantastical to be going to a horse show and finding a mystery. It's nice to hear about Ned and his family since he was absent in the earlier books. Bess and George are still around and help out during the weekend of adventure.

Overall, one clue seems a bit far fetched in this tale, but as the mystery unfolds it fits into place. Out of the three books I've heard this one would be my least favorite. The audiobook was well put together, it was the story that was just okay for me. Every listener's experience is different, so maybe you'll fall in love with Mystery of the Midnight Rider. Give it a listen! It's a great story to share on a family trip or for readers who like mysteries or horses. This book can be enjoyed as a standalone story.

Jorjeana Marie returns to read Mystery of the Midnight Rider! I love it when narrators return to read another book in the series. Just as in Book 1 and Book 2, Jorjeana's voice suits Nancy Drew and the other characters fantastically. She is very believable as a teen/young adult and her voice is enjoyable to hear. Her character voices are maintained well from the previous titles in the series. I would listen to her again. You can listen to an audiobook sample on Oasis Audio's website.

I received this book for free from Oasis Audio for this review. Thank you, Oasis Audio!

Audio Book Details...
Mystery of the Midnight Rider by Carolyn Keene
Series: Book 3, Nancy Drew Diaries
Read by Jorjeana Marie
Produced by Oasis Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (12 parts)
Total Time: 3 hours 13 minutes
Release Date: May 2015
ISBN: 9781613757253
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...