Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Audiobook Review: #famous by Jilly Gagnon

  • Release Date: February 14th 2017
  • Audiobook Hours: 7 hrs 53 minutes
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)

Did I pick up this book because the cover reminded me of Fangirl ? Maybe. Yes, yes I did.

When high school junior Rachel Ettinger secretly snaps a photo of  Kyle Bonham and tweets, ahem, I mean flits it it to her best friend she thinks nothing of it.

Until the pic goes viral.

While Kyle becomes an overnight internet sensation  Rachel becomes a target for harassment and cyberbullying.

So, in case you aren’t familiar,  this book was inspired by the phenomenon that is Alex from Target.

#famous had a strong start, we see a lot of the rampant sexism online and I really thought Gagnon was going to flesh out Rachel's story through this lens, but the online abuse gets dropped pretty early to focus on a tedious plot where Kyle recruits Rachel to repeatedly appear with him on an Ellen type talk show.

Kirkus' review of this book called Kyle a “ schmuck with a haircut” which at first I thought was kind of cruel, but then I realized he is kind of a....dolt ?  He gets everything because he's a handsome. Kyle is just so unaware of anything  else going on in the book including Rachel's cyberbullying. It seemed like every other character is telling him what to do or how to do something and he just goes with it.  He reminded me of the president on Scandal.

Also fair warning, there is a lot of “not like the other girls” and fat shaming in the first part of this book.

 I really like James Fouhey performance as Kyle,  he is one my new fave narrators. He has this crisp, youthful voice. Co-narrator Arielle Delisle had some good voices too but her predominate voice, Rachel, sounded too much like she was "doing a voice".

#famous explores the modern phenomenon of internet fame, but it falls flat underneath a less than stellar romance.

Between the # and the lowercase f this book title is really hard to search for in some library  databases 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

  • Release Date: October 6th 2015
  • Length: 6 hours and 23 minutes
  • Genre: Contemporary / Paranormal YA
  • Publisher: HarperTeen

17-year-old Mikey Mitchell just wants to enjoy his last few months of high school with his best friends and hopefully getting his OCD under control.  But he's also kind of stuck in the middle of your favorite paranormal YA novel, except you know. . . he's a background character.  Strange blue lights and mysterious deaths  means the indie kids--those high school kids with the capital D destinies and weird names--are up to something. Mikey just hopes the indie kids don’t  blown up up the high school….again.

Patrick Ness is a mix bag of an author, you just never know what you’re going to get. The concept of having a Mikey's contemporary narrative  adjacent to the indie kid's paranormal adventure made for an entertaining listen.  The indie kid's plot is a parody of e those paranormal YA books of the early 2010’s and Ness creates a loving satire of the genre.

Can we talk about James Fouhey, the audiobook narrator ? James Fouhey is official on my auto-buy list. His voice was perfect for the narration of Mikey, he has these great tonal shifts and at times it didn’t even sound like he was reading a text. He also seems to read fast, this book is 336 pages and the audio is only 6 hours long.

An irreverent, offbeat YA coming of age story about immortals, gods and vampires but mostly about what it means to be the rest of us.

Mikey’s crush in this book is a half black, half Finnish girl named Henna Silvennnoinen and I thought that Finnish part was such a specific ethnicity you don’t see in YA. Well, it turns out that Henna Silvennoinen is a real woman--she won to have her name in the book from an auction when Ness was raising money for the typhoon in the Philippines. The name of Mikey’s best friend, Jared Shruin also came from this auction. That must be awesome !


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