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The Reading Date

Hello fellow book lovers! I'm Lucy and I blog about books, audiobooks and movies at The Reading Date. I'm testing the waters over here to see how it goes. What are you reading?

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black Christine Lakin does a great job with the audiobook narration that really sets the mood for this scary vampire book.

This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life - If you love music themed YA this book is a must. It's about a girl who is having a rough time of it but finds solace through the art of DJing. Right after reading this one I headed to Spotify to make a playlist of all the great songs mentioned and played at the underground warehouse club Start but luckily the author already had me covered:http://open.spotify.com/user/macmillanchildrensbooks/playlist/68KPz76rEYpqs5KKCM7B1Y

Game. Set. Match. (Outer Banks Tennis Academy)

Game. Set. Match. - Jennifer Iacopelli I don't play tennis, or follow sports in general, but I think sport themed romance books are lots of fun, and there's a lot to love about GSM.GSM follows 3 aspiring tennis stars: Penny, the pro with the bright future, Jasmine, the daughter of tennis royalty who wants it all now, and Indiana (Indy), the newcomer who could surprise them all.In GSM we see all the hard work behind the scenes that goes into training for pro tennis. There’s competition not only in the competitive matches, but also for the spots to compete in the first place. The veterans at the OBX aren’t too thrilled with the new kid Indy. Since we follow girls in three different levels at the academy we get to see all sides of the story.All the three girls have their ups and downs and personality quirks. At times each of them got under my skin, but particularly the resident mean girl Jasmine. The one that was the easiest to relate to was Indy, the new girl. She’s coming into the tennis academy fresh, just like the reader. And I think she was the most three dimensional of the trio. Even though there were three different girls to keep track of, the author differentiated them enough to follow along, no sweat.Each girl has some boy trouble that distracts from the game. All three guys were pleasant enough but appropriately were not the focus of the book. The story is more focused on the girls themselves and their personal development. I did find the tennis scenes and team interactions more compelling personally. And if you’re wondering, even though GSM definitely fits the NA category, the love scenes are not explicit.Jennifer Iacopelli wrote an entertaining story. The tennis scenes seemed well researched and the terminology accurate as far as I could tell. I read the book quickly and it was a fun read overall. There is not any big cliffhanger at the end of the book, though there is the set up for future stories at the tennis academy. If you like tennis or sports romances I think you’ll find a lot to offer in GSM, though don’t get too scared off by the sports aspect. If I can follow along, so can you!

Faking It

Faking It - Cora Carmack A fun and worthy follow up to Losing It! Worried I'd miss Bliss/Garrick but I liked Cade/Max a lot. Review to come...

What Really Happened in Peru (The Bane Chronicles, #1)

What Really Happened in Peru  - Cassandra Clare

Jesse Williams (Dr. Jackson Avery from Grey's Anatomy) narrates the audio and does a nice job with the voices. He has good comedic timing for Magnus. The audio is novella length @ just over an hour and teasingly tries to answer the title question. It's fun to have a bonus series about Magnus Bane, and there will be 10 monthly installments in all.

Also Known As

Also Known As - Robin Benway Also Known As features Benway’s trademark humor and this time centers on a family of spies. I found it highly enjoyable, witty and fresh, and AKA even made me LOL at times. ;)I expected AKA to be a kind of funny Heist Society type novel, with lots of gadgets and dangerous missions. Where this book is a little different is that the main character gets to experience a normal life for the first time. She’s always lived the life of an international spy, never putting down roots anywhere. Now she’s getting her first taste of high school and being around teenagers, and it’s out of her comfort zone but in a good way.There’s a great cast of characters in AKA. Maggie has a mentor and coffee buddy in the forger Angelo, and Maggie’s parents walk the line between over-protective mom and dad, and stern bosses. Maggie is clever and sarcastic and is used to talking to adults all day. Her new friends are independent and loner types (but the filthy rich kind) like her. But together they click as a band of misfits.I loved the smart and snappy dialogue in AKA. The novel flows in a conversational and easy way and is a quick and fun read. Benway’s wit shines through the pages, and the story is full of action, friendship, and heart. The New York setting is also used to advantage with several scenes taking place in familiar landmarks. I found it humorous that Maggie has to be a “spy” for her Halloween costume and doesn’t know how to dress the part.In addition to Maggie torn between the spy world and wanting a normal life, there’s also a mystery to solve and the clock’s ticking. The stakes are high for her family and for the first time Maggie has friends that she doesn’t want to let down.I think anyone that enjoys humorous YA contemporary books will love Also Known As. The spy twist is fresh and a blast to read. And even though there is a sequel in the works, this book has a satisfying conclusion on its own. I’m looking forward to the next installment.Full review can be find at The Reading Date

Just One Day

Just One Day - Gayle Forman Gorgeous.

Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good

Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good - Kevin Smith I remember watching Kevin Smith’s Clerks and Chasing Amy back in the day – I was big into slacker movies in the 90s. I think those are the only two of Smith’s movies I’ve seen – now I’m more of a romantic comedy kind of girl. Still, I remember the two films fondly; they introduced me to Smith’s humor, and in turn led the way to me listening to this audiobook. Now I know Kevin Smith more as a personality, as well as an annual public speaker at Hall H at Comic-Con. Based on all this I knew I was sure to be entertained and amused with Tough Sh*t.In Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good, Smith talks about his movie career and his influences from George Carlin to Wayne Gretzky to John Hughes. He dishes on which actors impressed him and which actors pissed him off as he takes you behind the scenes of his movies. Smith also gets the infamous “too fat to fly on Southwest” incident off his chest. Smith acknowledges his family by including a loving recognition of his wife Jen and compares his first date with Jen to Lloyd Dobler asking out Diane Court. Behind it all is some good career advice to get paid doing what you love to do.Kevin Smith’s story is inspirational – he fell in love with film and followed his dream to be a filmmaker. From his first visit to New York’s Angelika theatre he knew he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Slacker’s Richard Linklater and make films. In fact I learned in this audiobook that Smith made his mark on cinema by creating the bromance film genre. Interesting, right?The part of me that loves Hollywood gossip ate up Smith’s celebrity stories, from Bruce Willis’ on set bad behavior to his falling out with mentor Harvey Weinstein. Smith also gives a fascinating look at filmmaking when he decides to self distribute his Tarantino-esque film Red State. He also gets some jabs in to the movie critics who love to hate him.Who better than Kevin Smith to narrate his story? It’s his life and his stories and you can hear the passion and enthusiasm in his voice. His story is very personal, and like his films potty-mouthed at times, and I can’t imagine anyone else narrating the book. Smith is a professional podcaster so is obviously very comfortable behind the mic, and the six hours I listened to this audiobook flew by. His sharp humor, intelligence and knowledge of pop culture made for an entertaining listening experience.This book is for Kevin Smith fans, those who love movies and pop culture, and those looking for some creative inspiration. If you have six hours to spare and are not easily offended, check out this audiobook.

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2) -  Ed Westwick,  Heather Lind, Cassandra Clare In the middle book of Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy, drama continues for the Shadowhunters. Charlotte may lose her seat as the head of the Institute, and Tessa, Will and Jem could soon be without a home. The team has to get to the bottom of the feud with the Magister before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Tessa can’t decide which Shadowhunter she loves the most.I recently listened to the audiobook of Clockwork Angel, and I enjoyed it, though not as much as the Mortal Instrument series. The slow pace and new characters took some time to get used to, even though I appreciated the charm of the Victorian England setting and new mysteries. Because I’m a fan of Clare’s I had to take a chance on the next installment. This time around I felt more comfortable with the book and it was a much easier listen. The characters got to show more personality and made me care about their fates. And, maybe even the two new audio narrators had something to do with a more successful experience this time around.Clockwork Prince introduces more new characters and mysteries. There are answers to questions introduced in the first book, some shocking reveals and revelations, and even more questions to ponder. We get to know side characters such as Charlotte, Henry and Sophie a little better and there are some lighthearted times in addition to the familiar mystery and angst. And lots more of my favorite Magnus Bane.What summarizes the book to me is the love triangle. It is one of the most torturous love triangles I’ve ever read. It seemed to me that most every scene in this book led back to the tangled love affair between Tessa, Will and Jem. This is one agonizing and angst-filled situation. And all I can say is with trilogies the middle book breaks your heart and I don’t for a minute think this triangle is over.I listened to the audiobook of Clockwork Prince to enhance the Victorian London flavor. It always takes a bit of an adjustment getting used to a new narrator in a series, such as the case with this book. The new narrators are Heather Lind (she read Blood Red Road) and Ed Westwick (of Gossip Girl and City of Fallen Angels). I’m familiar with both narrators so it wasn’t too hard to get used to them. They took turns with the narration, with Lind reading more of the Tessa oriented chapters, and Westwick taking on the Will centered chapters. Both of them did a great job with the accents, of which there are many types in the book. Lind has a pleasant voice to listen to and matched very well with my impression of Tessa. She even sings the parts of Agatha the heartbroken singing cook. Westwick gives a dramatic performance, and captures the emotional highs and lows of Will and the other characters admirably. At first I thought Westwick was better suited for the more contemporary Mortal Instrument series, but I warmed to him as the book progressed. Whereas Clockwork Angel took me over two weeks to listen to, I knocked off this book in half the time – and I think the narration made some of the difference.With Clockwork Prince, I’m fully on board with the series and anxious to read Clockwork Princess in March of next year. If you like a charming historical setting, steampunk, fantasy, and of course love triangles then this series is for you. I enjoyed the audiobook experience, but listen to a sample before taking the plunge to see if it’s your cup of tea.

Miracle

Miracle - Elizabeth Scott Megan is the only survivor in a small plane crash, and now seen as a miracle in her parent’s eyes. Megan is shell-shocked from the experience, but continues to go through the motions as if everything is fine. Megan withdraws from soccer, her friends, and her classes, retreating because of the ghosts that haunt her. She finds comfort from some unlikely sources, including Joe the troubled boy next door, and Margaret, a war veteran church acquaintance, who can see through her miracle façade.Miracle is Elizabeth Scott’s 11th book (I’ve read 4 of them so far) and is as intense and personal as I’ve come to expect. Miracle has a raw honesty as it delivers an authentic look at PTSD. I felt all the emptiness and isolation in Megan as she worked through the aftermath of the plane disaster. The book also takes a look at the individuals closest to Megan, who just don’t get what she’s going through, mainly because she won’t let them in.The story is told through Megan’s POV and takes place right after the plane crash. She doesn’t remember the crash, but fakes that she does just so she can get out of the hospital already. Bits and pieces begin coming to her and make it impossible for her to resume her normal activities. All of the symptoms of PTSD were there, and it was interesting that those closest to Megan refused to see her obvious need for help. Where previously Megan’s sickly little brother was the focus of attention, the plane crash created a shift in the family dynamic, as the parents became all about Megan.Two people recognize that not all is right in Megan’s head and become a support system in her healing journey. Joe, her gorgeous next-door neighbor, is one who is no stranger to survivor’s guilt. And though the book is not all about the romance, the two bond over their experiences. Margaret is another character who stood out for me, and her experience as a Vietnam vet makes her uniquely suited to recognize some of what Megan is going through. Both characters are societal outcasts in their own way and I really enjoyed getting to know them. Margaret especially stole the book, and I loved all the details about her character, such as her pushing milk on Megan, the homemade bears that littered her home, and her matter of fact personality.Scott’s stripped-down prose is well suited to the story and subject matter and makes it an intense quick read. Megan’s experience is one that many who have experienced a loss may relate to. The journey is not easy and the characters don’t always behave the way you want them to. This portrait of a PTSD survivor is a gratifying reading experience.

Black Dawn (Morganville Vampires Series #12)

Black Dawn - Rachel Caine Here we are back for another installment of the YA Morganville Vampires series. This latest is book 12 of a planned 15 book series that centers on Claire Danvers, a teen who attends college in Morganville, a Texas town where vampires and humans co-exist openly. Once you move to Morganville and find out their secret, good luck getting out. Rachel Caine sure knows how to feed my addiction to this series by releasing new books twice a year. Life is never dull in Morganville and each book introduces a new challenge for the gang. I miss the series already, even though there are still three books left to go. The latest book is still keeping me guessing on what the end game of the series will be as circumstances in Morganville become more and more dire.In the 12th Morganville Vampires book Black Dawn, the action picks up right after Last Breath took off. In fact, many of the same problems exist from that book so this is more of a continuation of that story. The icky mysterious draug creatures are still creating havoc in Morganville and have the vampires running scared. The draug hide out wherever the water is and feed off of any available vampire or human they can find. They are fiendish creatures that can multiply in water – they made me recall the monsters of Gremlins or CHUD. They have a deadly leader too named Magnus but he doesn’t have a stripe like in Gremlins, in fact it’s almost impossible to tell him apart. Time is running out to destroy them before they take over completely. And with Founder Amelie infected, wannabe vampire leaders come out of the woodwork to try and take over. Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve have their work cut out for them once again.The book again continues the recent trend of multiple POV, with Claire, Shane, Michael, Eve, and Oliver taking turns with the narration. And Shane in particular takes the reader on quite a journey with one of his chapters that had me holding my breath. I like following different characters around, and learning their secrets and thoughts about the craziness of Morganville. So I’m glad that the multiple POV has become a regular thing now.This book is moody, dark and intense and has a bigger sense of hopelessness than other installments. With Morganville under attack basically it felt like anything could happen. The stress and tension of the crisis brings out some interesting reactions from the characters.One thing that sets the vampires of Morganville apart is that they are so unpredictable, and for the most part very dangerous. And with Morganville in flux, the relationship between vampires and humans is extremely fragile. That relationship continues to intrigue me and I’m so curious to see where it’s all heading.In Black Dawn important events occur that set the stage for the next book in the series. Emotions run high and glimpses inside the minds of different characters show how much they care about one another. This installment was a little uneven for me though, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I think I was ready to move on from the draug story, or maybe they just creep me out. Regardless, this book ends on such an ominous tone that has me concerned for the fate of my favorite characters. I look forward to visiting Morganville again soon to see how Claire and the gang are managing to survive in the next book, Bitter Blood.

Wonder

Wonder - R.J. Palacio I started reading Wonder on a whim over the weekend and couldn’t put it down. I’d heard good things about the book for months, and liked the book trailer, but for some reason I kept finding other books to read instead. Even though I do like middle grade books, the subject matter of this one gave me pause. Anyway, the story is so engaging and uplifting, much more so than I had expected. Totally a worthwhile read and I’m so glad I finally read it.10-year-old August Pullman was born with a severe facial abnormality. His parents home schooled him all of his life due to his frequent surgeries and medical appointments. Now, when others August’s age are starting middle school, his parents think the time may be right for August to attend school as well. Auggie is a normal kid inside, smart and funny, and loves Star Wars and videogames. But will his new classmates be able to see past his outward appearance?Auggie is so endearing- he won me over from the very first pages. I was so scared for him to start middle school. Middle school is terrifying under the best of circumstances! And even though Auggie has seen reactions of strangers around him all his life, it’s hard to prepare yourself for this age group. I, like Auggie, hoped for the best but steeled myself for the worst. His experience has highs and lows and focuses in on a handful of students and teachers and the different ways they interact with Auggie.There are a few kids assigned to keep an eye out for Auggie at school to show him around. Auggie is very perceptive about others and is a good judge of character- he really is a brave little guy. It’s interesting to see the world through Auggie’s eyes and then later revisit the same scenes through the eyes of his friends when the book shifts to multiple POV. I hadn’t expected the book to shift POV actually, but it does satisfy some curiosity by hearing other characters perspective. Two of Auggie’s classmates, as well as his sister, her friend, and boyfriend all take a turn at the narration. Auggie’s sister Via is a standout character, as she shares the effect her brother has had on her life.Hearing the different reactions to Auggie made me think about who I would be in the scenario, and I’d react in middle school if I had a classmate like him. My daughter and I had a dialogue about it, and you always hope you’d be compassionate, but it’s hard to know what is the right way to respond in the moment. The book does a great job of making you think about how to treat people fairly and with compassion. The writing is accessible and has a light touch, even though there are some heavy and distressing scenes. It is just perfect for a middle grade audience, and to read aloud for class discussion or at home. But really I think this uplifting story is appealing for all ages.

Zero

Zero - Tom Leveen I thought I had this book pegged by the cover, which is so punk rock and artsy. I made some snap judgments about the book, thinking it would be a little dark and gritty for my taste. And while there is a fair amount of art and punk in the book, it is at its core a sweet story about a relationship and finding self worth. As I may have mentioned before though, I am a sucker for YA books about music so I jumped at the chance to check out Zero. Throw in an artistic, self-deprecating new adult protagonist and I was so on board with this one.Amanda “Zero” Walsh has just received some bad news that rocked her world. She didn’t qualify for a coveted art school scholarship and won’t be able to swing the money on her own. On top of that, things are beyond awkward with her best friend, and her dad’s drinking is spiraling out of control. Life takes an unexpected turn when she meets skate punk drummer Mike, and he helps give her a much-necessary boost of confidence.Tom Leveen writes a realistic teenage girl character, one who is self-absorbed and a bit whiny, and dealing with lots of family drama. Amanda’s nickname Zero started out as a put-down junior high kids called her because she was the loner art chick. However, it stuck and she decided to own it, and even her own dad calls her Z rather than Amanda, or the dreaded Amy. Amanda has body image issues and low self-esteem and uses humor and sarcasm as a coping mechanism. She is a gifted artist and idolizes Salvador Dali, but she lacks the confidence to take her art to the next level. She has one close friend, Jenn, but they have a mysterious falling out. In a big moment of bravery she approaches the gorgeous-eyed drummer of up and coming band Gothic Rainbow, and they begin a relationship.Mike the drummer is very crush-worthy, sweet and mature, and his scenes with Amanda spark with electricity. He is not a stereotypical rock-musician type at all, and in case you’re wondering he doesn’t have a Mohawk, as the cover would suggest. Leveen captures the feeling of first love really well, with an awkwardness and obsessiveness that rings true. And even though the two care for each other a lot, they both have a driving passion for their art that demands their attention. Their relationship goes a long way towards helping Amanda’s confidence issues, and takes some interesting and unconventional turns. It is also a more mature relationship, both mentally and physically, than found in most other YA books.Leveen’s writing has a lot of personality and includes some humorous asides to the reader. He captures the feeling of being at a rock show, with authentic band and song names. Also, Amanda’s passion for her art comes through clearly and she gets lost in her art and makes many artistic references. I liked the feminist leanings of the book too and that the relationship wasn’t the only thing in Amanda and Mike’s lives.Zero would be a great book for people that enjoy books about new adults, people who don’t fit in, and fans of art, music and romance.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) - Jenny  Lawson I enjoy humorous memoirs and something about the description of this audiobook called out to me. Before this listening experience, I was unfamiliar with the Bloggess blog, but the blogger’s funny/bizarre life stories sounded really fascinating. When I first started listening, I was skeptical that the stories were actually true, but as the author actually narrates the book, I became more and more convinced that you couldn’t make this stuff up.Before Jenny Lawson’s success as the famous “Bloggess”, she grew up in rural Texas and we learn about how her upbringing made her the person she is today. Stories about animals seem to be a running theme, which may have something to do with the fact that Lawson’s dad is a professional taxidermist. Some of these stories are not for the squeamish, and animal lovers such as myself are warned that they may be offended. Still, the stories are amusing in a dark humor sort of way – think dead squirrels made into hand puppets. Awkward high school years are also covered, and segue to the author’s married life. Victor is Lawson’s husband and is her opposite in many ways, though they have managed to stay married for fifteen years. There are some funny scenes with the two attending his business functions as Lawson worries about saying the wrong thing.The book hooked me right away, and when I wasn’t listening to it I was thinking about it or telling my family about it. One of the things I was surprised about is how easily I could connect to Jenny’s story. No, I didn’t grow up in rural Texas or play with taxidermy animals. But, I can definitely relate to her health struggles. As someone also diagnosed with arthritis in her twenties, I was interested to read about another young persons experience living with the disease. We also took the same scary drug that is supposed to help you if it doesn’t kill you first. One of the parts of the book that made me laugh out loud is Jenny’s experience at the acupuncturist, something I can also relate to. Jenny’s depictions of living with anxiety also hit close to home and there are some touching yet funny scenes about Jenny’s apprehension about meeting her blogging friends in real life at a retreat.It lends a personal touch when an author narrates her own audiobook, and I think it’s particularly appropriate with a memoir. Especially with this book, it would seem weird to hear the stories from a voice other than the author. Lawson’s reading is conversational sounding and matter of fact and it feels like she is relating the stories to you personally. Because the stories are hers, she is able to convey the appropriate tone and emotion as she recounts her life tales. She does take you out of the book experience occasionally by pointing out that you are listening to an audiobook, and I was not sure how much if anything was ad-libbed for the audiobook performance. There are sound effects between the chapters, musical clips, cowbell sounds, and Lawson even sings the chapter titles. One thing I missed about listening to the audiobook version is that I couldn’t see the captioned pictures referenced throughout the book. So, I wish there was a way to include a booklet with pictures with the audiobook. Other than that, the audiobook experience was thoroughly entertaining. The audiobook does have a bonus chapter though and behind the scenes outtakes that are a lot of fun.I recommend this book for fans of the Bloggess blog, and readers who enjoy memoirs or humor books, such as Tina Fey’s Bossypants. The audiobook is a quick listen at just over 8 hours long and will have you laughing throughout. Be advised that due to language this book may not be appropriate for all young adults, and is in fact meant for an adult audience. Lawson promises more stories in future books and I can’t wait to listen in.

Blood Born

Blood Born - Jamie Manning I for one am glad to see more vampire books popping up again, especially with the scary blood-thirsty kind of vampires found in Jamie Manning’s Blood Born. Blood Born is the first book in the Blood Prophecy Trilogy and is about a girl named Ava who wakes up in a coffin underground to find she’s been reborn a vampire. Good thing she has Chance, the boy who dug her out of the grave, to help her. But a new vampire is not the safest person to be around if you know what I mean. All Ava has to do to get out of her dire predicament is kill 100 vampires and she’ll be human again. Part Vampire Diaries and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Blood Born is scary and fun.There’s a lot of mystery and secrets surrounding Ava’s new vampire existence. She has no memory about her past life at all. Since this is the first book in a series, there are hints about Ava and the other vampire players to whet your appetite, but we are in the dark along with Ava for the most part. Ava seems like a normal high school student, but when the fangs come out—watch out. Ava has a great sense of humor though, and I was rooting for her to be strong and hold on to her humanity.The romance is really well done, and Ava and Chance have a lot of potential. And it doesn’t seem like there’s a love triangle, so thank goodness for that. Chance is a great guy, but he has secrets of his own to keep things interesting. I am very curious to see where their relationship goes in the sequel.Ava has her own Scooby gang of vampire hunters to help her in her quest. It is a different twist to have a vampire bond with vampire hunters but Ava can use all the help she can get. The fighting and action are exciting and Manning is fearless in putting his characters in danger. There is death and mayhem, and when it’s all over you will be craving the sequel like a newborn vampire craves blood.Blood Born is witty, action packed, fun, surprising and romantic. And it’s not too scary to read only during during the day, though there is definitely some bloodshed. Recommended for YA paranormal romance fans, this is an enjoyable quick read sure to please those looking for a fresh vampire tale. Bring on the sequel.

Countdown (The Sixties Trilogy Series)

Countdown - Deborah Wiles Countdown takes place in 1962 and is the story of 11-year-old Franny Chapman. Franny is a middle child living near Andrews Air Force base, and she often feels overlooked. She loves to read aloud, but her teacher never seems to pick her to read for the class. She’s fighting with her friend Margie, her uncle is losing his grip on reality, and her sister is mysteriously absent for long periods of time. And as if it’s not hard enough being 11 already, the Cuban Missile Crisis has everyone in a panic, and Franny fears for her life.The book Countdown is a documentary novel, and the printed book is scrapbook-like and includes important visual references from 1962 to enhance the reading experience. The audiobook experience is just as rich, however, and includes snippets of speeches, “duck and cover” instructions, presidential biographies, the sound of a typewriter, radio dial, bomb explosions and more. It really feels like you are there in 1962, with all the cultural references of the time. It is one of the more unique and entertaining audiobook experiences I’ve had.It’s easy to identify with Franny and understand her worries about the world. Even though the book takes place 50 years ago and times have changed a lot, some things are still the same. Friendship conflicts still exist, and fears about the future. Franny is a sweet, sensitive girl who loves Nancy Drew mysteries, and playing her sister Jo Ellen’s 45’s, and is excited to attend her first boy-girl party. The author captures the feeling of that age very well, and made me remember my own time in fifth grade, and I was a worrier like Franny so could definitely relate to that.One of my favorite YA audiobook narrators, Emma Galvin, reads the audiobook. Her voice works well for a variety of different stories, and again she shines with her performance here. She is believable as the voice of Franny, and gets to the heart of the character. Galvin conveys Franny’s kind and earnest nature and her voice is suited for the time frame. The character differentiations are subtle yet distinct, from Franny’s mother to her Uncle Otts, to her crush Chris. Even without the added bells and whistles found in the audiobook, her performance stands out.Countdown is the first book in the Sixties trilogy, but it is a complete and satisfying story on it’s own. This book is a lot of fun, educational, and entertaining for both kids and adults. Though it’s meant for a middle grade audience, I think anyone who enjoys historical fiction or contemporary YA would enjoy this book. I recommend listening to the audio format to hear the sound effects and bonus historical material to get a feel for the era.