A Tale of Three Audiobooks

I've been doing a bit of overtime this week. I've had a project that kept getting pushed because of technical issues and now that things are mostly working I just plain wanted to get it done. While the work can be technically involved and you have to do things are certain way much of it is clicking the mouse and then waiting for things to happen. Not a long wait, but long enough for you want to shout at the computer to get the lead out. In other words, I have no patience and doing this for 8 straight hours makes me want to tear out my hair.

Audiobooks to the rescue.

I'm lucky enough to still have access to my old library account from Toronto. I believe I might have mentioned a time or two that I think that Toronto has got to have one of the best public libraries systems. I love it. So right now while I am unable to check any actual books out (really, the commute would kill me) I can still access their online services. Like audiobooks. I've had access to Netlibrary through them for awhile but they just added a program called OverDrive. Sure, there is some overlap between the two, but OverDrive really does have a pretty kickass collection. It's not huge but it's well selected. My only complaint, so far, is that you are unable to check in audiobooks before the expiration date if you finish them. Unfortunate when you are literally spending days at the computer listening to them. You do tend to go through them quickly that way.

I've been sticking to YA so far because well, I'm me. lol You know I love me some YA. And there were some titles there that I've wanted to read for awhile, or was curious about, and one title that I had never heard about but decided I had to check out.

First up: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

I've had E. Lockheart's blog in my feeds for while now but I've never actually read any of her books. So I jumped at this one.

Roo (or Ruby) had managed to make her friends mad at her. She was dating a boy named Jackson. He broke up with her and about 4 days later started going out with her best friend, Kim. Then Kim goes away with her family the weekend of the big dance (only two weeks after Jackson had broken up with Ruby) and Roo and Jackson end up kissing and people see and then everyone is made at Roo because clearly she jumped on top of herself and kissed herself (no, really, I'm not all being sarcastic...ok, maybe).

A few years previous to this Roo and her friends had started a book in which they outline the rules for dating in a small school. One of the biggest rules is that you never kiss another girl's boyfriend. Good rule, in general.

However they left out the rule where you don't steal your best friend's boyfriend. Which, call me crazy, is one of the first rules of female friendship. But apparently the fact that Kim started going out with Jackson right after he broke up with Roo was not seen as being at all bad. I'm sorry, but I found this part so incredibly unbelievable. Plus, Kim is a bitch. Just saying.

But don't be fooled. Despite the fact that I found that whole part ridiculous I liked Roo. A lot. I loved her therapy sessions (she's in therapy because after all this happened she started having serious anxiety attacks). I liked her therapist. I liked the boyfriend list. Her parents are Characters (yes, with a capital C) and through them you can kinda understand why Ruby is rather messed up. I just plain liked Ruby. But I still think she could have called Kim a bitch to her face. And that Roo's other friends should stood by her. But hey, that's me.

Comments on audio version: I found it a bit difficult to figure out how much time was passing between sections of the book. It's not a big deal but you do jump back and forth between Roo remembering things and telling them to her therapist and then being in the present. I suspect (although I can't know not having looked at a copy of the book) that there are section separators (eg. ~~~~) between sections that don't come across as well in audio.

 width=Book #2: Jinx by Meg Cabot

Ah yes, Ms. Cabot. I really do love to think that she can do no wrong but after How to be Popular I was scared. Well, I liked Jinx more than How to be Popular but it's not falling into my "love" category.

Jinx, aka Jean or Cousin Jean, is a bad luck magnet. The only kind of luck that she ever has is bad. Her luck is so bad that she had to leave home and go live with her aunt and uncle in New York City. She's kind of excited because she hasn't seen her cousin Tory in a few years and they used to have a lot of fun together.

But it turns out Tory has changed. A lot. Basically she's mean and bitchy. Oh, and thinks she's a witch. And Jinx's back luck continues when she develops a friendship (and a crush) on their next door neighbour - who, of course, it turns out Tory has a huge crush on herself even though she has a boyfriend.

My biggest problem with the book is that Jinx is smart and calls everyones personality except for Tory. When it comes to Tory she is incredibly naive and it's annoying. Yes, I get that Tory is her cousin, etc. but when it comes to Tory she is a total doormat. It just didn't quite work for me. It just made her seem really young. Especially as Tory is clearly mean and, by times, not quite so smart.

Comments on the audiobook: The narrator trying to do guys voices was just BAD. Oveall the narration was fine until a guy spoke. Then it was irritating. Kind of the same irritating as the voice Jim Dale has for Hermione - not quite fingernails on a blackboard but not quite not either. I also found the writing style was not great for audio - the book was meant to be read, not spoken. Much like pretty much everyone of my blog posts (I sometimes read them aloud when editing and um...ouch! Not always pleasant.)

 width=Book the third: Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

Until I came across it I had never heard about it. But a book that deals with intelligent design vs. evolution in schools from the perspective of a teen caught in the middle of the controversy?

Awesome.

I'm going to send you over to BlogHer where I posted about it last night for the discussion but I'll say this here - I was very impressed that Brande had her character struggle to reconcile her faith and science. She didn't go the either/or route. It could have been easy to have Mena renounce her faith and turn totally to science. But that doesn't happen. Instead there is a lot of internal struggle. I think it's an excellent book about how growing up and discovering new ideas that were sheltered from you as a child and trying to incorporate the into your world while still remaining you is HARD (no matter where you stand on the debate although it should be said that Mena's church, not faith in general but her church, comes of very badly in the novel).

Also, love the cover. And there are most excellent secondary characters.

Comments on audiobook: I liked the narrator - she did the teenage antsy/sighing/etc without annoying the heck out of me. Also, at the end of the audio version I listened to (publisher is Listening Library) there is an interview between the author and Kenneth Miller, the author of Finding Darwin's God. Miller kind of inspired the story and it's an interesting conversation. I'm not sure if it appears in any of the print versions.