Author: Sarah Dessen
Narrator: Stina Nielsen
Book Rating: A
Audio Rating: A-
I really like Sarah Dessen's novels, and if you feel the same, then you probably like this one too. It's not exactly the same in terms of character traits or plot complications as This Lullaby or Just Listen, but the writing style is the same and the way things have of getting worked out is as well. The main characters are girls, and none that I've read so far have had brothers. They work through personal family problems while also having a romance. Since I like this plot line, it works for me.
If I had any criticisms at all, it would be two teeny tiny things. First, the main character doesn't have to wait until the very, very end to get the guy, does she? I know it adds to the novel's tension, but I'd like to see them together a little bit, just to change it up some! And the other thing isn't exactly a criticism so much as something that doesn't ring completely true to me. In all of the books I've read, the girl has these really caring (if a little messed up) suburban parents and she is very Type A, and yet she always goes to parties and has no problems either drinking or getting out of the house late at night without even a curfew. Now, in this book, the mom did eventually go crazy with the grounding and curfew, but before that, she, like the other parents, never seemed to ask where the daughter was going or give a curfew or anything. I totally would have had to lie to my parents to go to some party in the woods where alcohol was being served.
I like all of the "supporting" characters and what a great job Dessen does of making them fully realized and likeable.
Nielsen didn't have a lot of character voices, and that's the only reason I didn't give the rating a straight-up A. But if you like or prefer regular narration, she did a very good job of sounding like an intelligent but believable teen with appropriate inflection and vocal variety. I thought she did a good job with her characterization of Bert, making him sound likeable, if a bit over-eager.
Nothing was bad. I really enjoyed this performance, and like I said in "the good," the only real drawback was that the characters all pretty much sounded the same with maybe just a slightly lower voice for the males.