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

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