Mini Reviews: Audiobooks
It’s been a minute since I’ve done a mini review, right? I’ve been doing quite a few blog tours and I’m really loving the experience! I have also been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately as I drive to work, so that seemed like a perfect theme for this edition. I feel like I go through phases with audiobooks. I’ll go through a stretch where I listen to them constantly and then I just… stop. I’m taking advantage of these current stretch by listening to as many as I can! And, today, I’ll be talking about three I’ve finished recently. Let’s get to it!
I was recently talking about this book because I did a whole post about books written in verse. It’s been on my radar for a minute, but I was always hesitant about picking it up. I’m just not a poetry person, it’s not my thing. But I had heard so many rave reviews about this coming-of-age story centered around a young, Dominican girl discovering slam poetry and her place in the world. I had also heard that the audiobook was the way to go to read this one, so, when I found it on Scribd, I thought I’d give it a shot.
Y’all… I’m mad. I’m mad at myself for waiting SO LONG TO READ THIS BOOK! I find it hard to put together words to describe how good this book was! It’s so powerful and raw and poignant. It wraps you up in Xiomara’s world and you feel all her fears, all her anxieties, and all her joys. It’s just so damn beautiful 💕
I feel part of my visceral reaction to this book is due to listening to the author perform her work. Elizabeth Acevedo narrates the audiobook and it’s just *chef’s kiss* She is an award winning slam poet and it is easy to see (or, rather, hear) why! She puts so much emotion into her performance. It absolutely takes your breath away as you listen!
So, if you have a Scribd account, you’ll know that once you finish a book, it gives you suggestions for similar books. As soon as I finished The Poet X, it popped up Elizabeth Acevedo’s most recent novel, Clap When You Land. So of course I immediately started listening to it! This is another contemporary story, but we’re following two points of view instead of one. Yahaira Rios and Camino Rios are sisters who have no idea the other exists. Their father spends the summers with Camino in the Dominican Republic and the rest of the year in New York City with Yahaira. They don’t learn of each others existence until their father dies in a plane crash.
I loved this novel just as much as The Poet X, if not more! The premise is so heartbreaking and Acevedo explores the aftermath of tragedy expertly. It was so interesting to watch Yahaira and Camino not only process the death of their father, but the news that they have a sibling neither knew existed. Acevedo does a beautiful job of conveying the whirling emotions that both characters are facing. She makes an situation that most would find impossible to imagine come to life with her poetry. It’s just so expertly done and absolutely enthralling.
Also, can we talk about Acevedo’s co-narrator, Melania-Luisa Marte? Because her narration was just incredible! I talked about Elizabeth Acevedo’s powerful performance in The Poet X (which is definitely on display here, as well), but Marte more than holds her own. The combination of these two voices is what made this book that much more compelling. And may be why I like this one just a teeny tiny bit more!
Recently, I’ve been feeling the itch to try and read more middle grade books. They always sound like such fun and, having a kid in middle school right now with similar reading tastes, I thought it would be nice to be able to recommend her some books. I joined a online book club called Middle Grade Marvels to find suggestions and because I love talking about books! Obviously 😂 The inaugural book chosen for the month of May was Tilly and the Bookwanderers and, as I’m on an audiobook kick, I decided to give the audiobook a try.
This is the story of a young girl named Matilda who lives in a bookshop called Pages & Co. She has lived there as long as she can remember, being raised by her grandparents who own the shop. Her mother disappeared when she was just a baby and even her grandparents don’t know much about her father. It’s a quiet life… until two of her favorite characters from her favorite books step out of their stories and into the bookshop. From there, Tilly is introduced to the magical world of bookwandering and it takes her on an incredible adventure.
Y’all, this book was absolutely adorable! I instantly fell in love with Pages & Co. and I kind of wish it was a real place I could visit. I know I would get lost in there for hours 💕 The entire atmosphere of not only the shop, but this entire book, is just so whimsical and fun! I found myself sucked into the story as soon as I had listened to the first chapter. The whole concept is such an interesting one! I found myself wondering which character out of a book I’d love to meet. And then immediately rethinking it because I tend to gravitate towards villains…
But, speaking of characters, I thought the author did a wonderful job of making Tilly a very dynamic one. She reminded so much of a young, bookish Kerri, when I was really getting into my reading groove. I remember having stories that I revisited over and over again. I remember the joy of discovering a new book with which to fall in love. And I know I would have loved to be able to wander into my favorite stories if given the chance! This was such a delightful read and I can’t wait to continue on with the series!
Have you read any of these books? Do you have any audiobooks you would recommend? Let me know in the comments!
And, as always, happy reading!