cover image And We’re Off

And We’re Off

Dana Schwartz, read by Lauren Fortgang. Listening Library, , unabridged, 6 CDs, 6.5 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-1-5247-7789-0

For the audio edition, voice actor Fortgang adds realism to the mother-daughter dynamic at the center of Schwartz’s debut novel. Aspiring artist Nora, age 17, is thrilled to be accepted into a prestigious summer program for young artists in Ireland, and even more thrilled when her grandfather, a well-known professional artist, pays for her to take a trip around Europe in the weeks leading up to the program. In addition to looking forward to immersing herself in art, Nora can’t wait to get away from her mother, who is unsupportive of her art and has been negative, nagging, and argumentative since Nora’s father left her and recently remarried. Unfortunately for Nora, at the last minute her mother decides to join in on her dream vacation. Reader Fortgang captures both the youthful frustration of a teenager yearning to be independent and the jadedness of a middle-aged mother whose life did not turn out the way she’d hoped. She is most impressive during the many arguments between mother and daughter, who they bicker their way through Paris, Amsterdam, and Ireland. Fortgang bounces back and forth between characters so effortlessly that it sounds as if two actors are providing the dialogue. Fortgang is also adept at accents, creating distinctive voices for Scottish, Irish, and Australian characters. Her lively and entertaining narration makes this fun story even more of a treat to listen to. Ages 12–up. A Razorbill hardcover. (May)