Release Date: 05/8/18 | Contemporary YA | 8 hours 49 minutes | Harper Audio
Toby, an academic wisecracking high school senior and his best friend Luke–a dedicated star wrestler are an unlikely pair. The two survived their abusive and impoverished home lives together and with Luke’s college wrestling scholarship locked down, they were prepared to head into the next chapter of their lives together.
But now Luke is on death row.
Told partially in Luke’s letters from death row and partially in a close omniscient third person, Bliss crafts a story of friendship, coming-of-age and poverty that manages to deliver a gut punch at the end–even though you know where Luke is going to end up from page one.
I really liked the way this book is set up with Luke’s letters opening the book and then having it slowly build to the precipitating event. It reminded me of Big Little Lies and it adds so much tension to every scene because you keep thinking is this it? Is this the thing he did? With that in mind though the book moves at a slower pace.
I picked up this book because James Fouhey did the audio, I’ve enjoyed his narration in other things and his performance in this book is one of the best I’ve heard. He takes on each character perfectly with a nuanced and intentional performance. I think he could have easily done stereotypical Southern accents but he avoids that completely while still making the characters sound authentic. Needless to say Fouhey has remained on my auto-buy audiobook narrator list.
Between this and Jeff Zetner books I’m really starting to think any YA book by a straight white dude will be sad AF.