Log In

Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the Table-of-Contents Database.

Get a digital subscription to Publishers Weekly for only $18.95/month.

Your subscription gives you instant access exclusive feature articles on notable figures in the publishing industry, he latest industry news, interviews of up and coming authors and bestselling authors, and access over 200,000 book reviews.

PW "All Access" site license members have access to PW's subscriber-only website content. To find out more about PW's site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

Pablo Cartaya, read by the author. Listening Library, , unabridged, 5 CDs, 5 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-1-5247-7517-9

Cartaya shines as both author and reader of the audio edition of his middle grade tale about the romantic pursuits and family life of 13-year-old Arturo Zamora. It’s summer in Miami and the young protagonist spends his days hanging with his abuela and cousins at his mother’s Cuban restaurant, playing basketball, and writing poetry to impress his love interest Carmen, a family friend and fellow poetry enthusiast. Cartaya nails the voices of various characters in Arturo’s extended family, all of whom are trying to save the family restaurant from a slippery, narcissistic property developer. Particularly entertaining is the over-the-top, passionate aunt who is prone to hysterical and unintentionally comical outbursts. Throughout, Cartaya’s performance gives voice to the sights and sounds of Miami, slipping comfortably back and forth between English and Spanish. Listeners will be glad that the end of the audio book, like the print version, features several key family recipes and instructive but funny details about how to bring those dishes to life. Ages 10–up. A Viking hardcover. (May)

Reviewed on 09/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
No Good Deed

Goldy Moldavsky, read by Michael Crouch. Scholastic Audio, , unabridged, 8 CDs, 8 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-338-03590-2

Voice actor Crouch reads this account of friendly competition gone wrong in a youthful, peppy voice that perfectly suits the teen summer camp setting. Sixteen-year-old Gregor Maravilla is attending a sleepaway camp for activist teens founded by his idol, tech billionaire Robert Drill. But Drill is entirely absent, and all the campers at Camp Save the World are hypercompetitive do-gooders competing for an internship with Drill at the end of the summer. Actor Couch captures the protagonist’s emotions, especially in the darker moments, such as when Gregor tries to convince his fellow campers that he’s not racist after attempting to sabotage a group project dedicated to social justice. Some of his vocal portrayals miss the mark, such as that of the teen celebrity Ashley Woodstone, whose valley-girl voice sounds too shallow during her more somber moments. The characters in the story are not all that developed, and Couch’s characterization only flattens them more. Ages 14–up. A Point hardcover. (June)

Reviewed on 09/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
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)

Reviewed on 09/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Kill All Happies

Rachel Cohn, read by Lauren Ezzo. Dreamscape Media, , unabridged, 5 CDs, 6 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-5200-7217-3

Cohn sets her rowdy YA novel in the town of Rancho Soldado in Arizona. With graduation looming, high school senior Vic Navarro is feeling lost. She does not know what to do with the rest of her life, since she didn’t get into college. She is especially distraught to learn her favorite restaurant, Happies, a local institution for generations, is closing. Vic decides to channel her frustrations and lack of direction into throwing an over-the-top party at Happies for the senior class, but she has to do it secretly to avoid the wrath of the vengeful Miss Ann Thrope, a sadistic high school teacher and head of the city council. When bus loads of fellow Happies enthusiasts show up to join the out-of-control revelry, Vic can only hang on and try to contain the ensuing chaos. Actor Ezzo gleefully throws herself into the farce, milking the over-the-top comedy. Her Vic is melodramatic yet immensely likable; Vic’s love interest, Jake, sounds every bit the gorgeous-but-dimwitted hunk he is; and Miss Ann Thrope hisses and shrieks like a cartoon villain. It’s a fun, rollicking listen. Ages 14–up. A Hyperion hardcover. (May)

Reviewed on 09/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Once and for All

Sarah Dessen, read by Karissa Vacker. Listening Library, unabridged, 9 CDs, 10.5 hrs., $60 ISBN 978-1-5247-7742-5

Actor Vacker captures both humor and tragedy in Dessen’s latest YA novel, about a 17-year-old whose summer job is assisting her mother in her high-end wedding-planning business. Surrounded by a clientele of couples in love at work, Louna is constantly reminded of the love she lost when her long-distance boyfriend, Ethan, was killed in a school shooting. Over the years, she has become increasingly skeptical about the nature of love after seeing several extravagant weddings end in divorce. Enter Ambrose, the handsome-but-unpredictable son of a client whom Louna’s mother has hired to help out for the summer as well. At first, Louna and Ambrose clash on the job, but their thorny relationship slowly evolves to friendship with a hint of romance over the course of the novel, which includes intermittent flashbacks to Louna’s relationship with Ethan. Reader Vacker convincingly enacts the range of emotions and array of attitudes experienced by the teenage protagonist, including love, heartbreak, grief, cynicism, longing, and admiration for her mother. She provides unique voices for the other characters. The adolescent boys—Ethan and Ambrose—are consistently distinguishable, and Louna’s mother gets the mature air of a successful business owner, who, like her daughter, is steeled against love after a brief first marriage to Louna’s father but is nevertheless dedicated her work. Vacker’s skilled performance draws attention to the changes in the characters and their relationships in this satisfying audiobook. Ages 12–up. A Viking hardcover. (June)

Reviewed on 09/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Pearl Thief

Elizabeth Wein, read by Maggie Service. Bolinda Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hrs., $14.99 ISBN 978-1-4894-0368-1

This coming-of-age adventure set in 1938 Scotland has 16-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart on a final summer visit to the Scottish estate of her late grandfather, which has been sold to cover his hospital bills. There, Julia learns that the person hired to assess the estate’s antiquities has gone missing. Then Julia is knocked out while on a walk by the lake and left for dead. She’s rescued by Euan and Ellen, twin teens of the McEwen traveler clan, and when Euan is blamed for the assault, Julia has to find the real attacker. Actor Service is particularly adept at quick-changing from Julia’s sweetly open, unconsciously aristocratic yet self-aware narration to the voices of an assortment of other richly developed characters, including her worldly dowager countess grandmother, the unemotional Inspector Milne, and the bullying Sergeant Henderson. The rough Scottish burr Service provides Julia’s grandad contrasts nicely with the more lyrical voices of the twins, pleasant Euan and his spikier sister Ellen. A nearly-15-minute author’s note includes a fascinating history of Scottish travelers and their connection to freshwater pearl mussels, capping off this swift-moving audiobook. Ages 12–up. A Hyperion hardcover. (July)

Reviewed on 09/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Mobshot: My Life and the Mafia

Vince Ciacci. Blackstone Audio, , unabridged, 8 CDs, 9 hrs., $34.95 ISBN 978-1-538-41085-1

Ciacci, a wiseguy turned podcast host, proves an entertaining guide to the life of crime he left behind in this collection of episodes of the podcast Mobshot. Listeners follow Ciacci from petty theft, through armed robbery, drug deals, and into the depths of alcoholism. By his own admission, given the choices he made in life, he ought to be in prison or dead. Even when he attempted to change his ways by moving from New York City to Los Angeles, he couldn’t escape his underworld lifestyle. As he states, “wherever you go, you take you with you.” It was through the birth of his daughter and his embrace of AA that Ciacci was finally able to turn his life around. Ciacci’s colorful New York accent sounds like he’s straight from central casting. His delivery is casual and captivating. He presents his life as is, without apology, and often ends his stories with a self-deprecating chuckle that seems to suggest he can’t believe his past himself. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 09/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road

Finn Murphy, read by Danny Campbell. HighBridge Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-6816-8651-6

Murphy recounts some of his more curious, amusing, and private moments as a lifer in the long-haul moving business. During his career he has driven across the country innumerable times in large trucks, loading and unloading people’s lives; through these adventures, he shares the trade lingo (“bed bug hauler” is trucker lingo for a mover like him), secrets (movers could care less about people’s stuff), and challenges (exactly how you back a truck down a winding, narrow road). Campbell’s genial and scratchy voice perfectly matches the tone of Murphy’s prose and Murphy’s demographic. Campbell is also able to tease out the more emotionally tense moments, projecting the anger and frustration when Murphy confronts his boss or relaying the tenderness the author feels towards a companion he picks up on the side of the road. It’s the perfect audiobook for a long drive. A Norton hardcover. (June)

Reviewed on 09/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock

David Weigel, read by Rudy Sanda. HighBridge , Audio, unabridged, 10 CDs, 11.5 hrs., $34.99 ISBN 978-1-6816-8605-9

Washington Post reporter Weigel draws on interviews with musicians, industry insiders, and fans in this history of progressive rock. He traces its beginnings from the early 20th century to its initial influencers in the 1960s, full emergence in the ’70s, and downward turn in the ’80s and ’90s, profiling numerous musicians along the way, including the Beatles, ELO, Kansas, and King Crimson. Voice actor Sanda stands in for Weigel in the audio edition, but never captures the author’s enthusiasm for his subject. Too often, his narration is flat. The book makes use of a lot of quotes from the people Weigel interviewed, but in Sanda’s reading there’s no way of distinguishing when a quote ends. As with other productions that adapt text about sound into an audio format, this one fails to capitalize on using sound creatively or to its advantage. A Norton hardcover. (June)

Reviewed on 09/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need

Naomi Klein, read by Brit Marling. Blackstone , Audio, unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hrs., $29.95 ISBN 978-1-5384-3871-8

Klein deconstructs the ways in which Donald Trump’s presidency represents a culmination of free-market policy, wealth concentration, and media manipulation to create a Frankenstein’s monster that has the ability to do harm that will impact the world for generations. She identifies strategies both local and global that people can use to minimize the damage. Marling reads in a soft, smooth voice that draws listeners in most effectively during the more personal parts of the narrative, such as when Klein talks about how she has experienced Trump’s rise and early presidency or when discussing her child’s future. But Marling falters capturing Klein’s command and intensity when delving into the details of Trump’s crass antics, economic interests, questionable dealings, and encouragement of white supremacists. Klein’s prose hints at anger, disdain, and reproach, but Marling’s tone sounds lackadaisical and even passive, which is antithetical to the book’s overall message. A Haymarket paperback. (June)

Reviewed on 09/01/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.