As a mother of teenagers I like to read young adult novels, and Pushing the Limits kept me riveted and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book, couldn't put it down. The back and forth narration format allowed me to connect strongly with both Echo and Noah, and watching them help and heal each other in the context of their family issues was satisfying.
There were times I found Tara Sand's voice a bit grating at times, but her pacing and emotion would soon sink me back into the story. She sounded a lot like Kat Denning to me. MacLeod Andrews never disappoints when voicing young, male characters and his portrayal of Noah was sufficiently sexy yet vulnerable and even had me wiping away a tear at the end. The soothing, yet angsty timbre of his voice was a perfect complement to Tara Sand's Echo.
I would definitely recommend this book to both adults and young adults, as it combined a sufficiently realistic high school feel with mystery (what happened to Echo), heart wrenching drama (Noah's need for his family) and flashes of humor as the story unfolded.
The chapters alternate between the points of view of twins Jude and Noah in order to tell the story of how they grew apart and quit communicating with each other when their family their family faces some problems. Jude's story takes place when the twins are sixteen,after an important family event, while Noah describes what happened when they were 14, when the problems began. It's one of those books where the story unfolds slowly, all of the puzzle pieces eventually fall into place and the reader breaks out in goosebumps (at least I did!)
Art plays a huge role in the lives of the twins, since their mother teaches art, Noah expresses himself through his nonstop sketches and painting, and Jude has a flair for sculpture. The beautiful metaphors and visual imagery that Jandy Nelson uses to describe not only the scenes, but also the feelings of the characters strongly mirrors the references to art that are throughout the book. It's almost like one very long poem, and the reader becomes immersed in the colors and mood of the descriptions. The writing was simply stunning, and I felt an emotional connection with both of the characters.
Julia Whelan is one of my favorite female narrators, and she did an excellent job portraying all of the emotions Jude went through in the book. She can build the suspense and voice heartbreak. I love her voice, and her pacing was perfect.
This book has more layers than a simple young adult novel, and both my teenage children and I enjoyed the humor, characters and plot. Lesh is a metal head who always wears black, and Svetlana is an eccentric, artistic, creative tabletop gamer. They forge a tentative friendship at school, sitting at the same lunch table in several delightfully awkward scenes. At home, Svetlana's parents continually force her to join them in activities she finds torturous, while Lesh's parents are mostly absent yet he's grounded for 2 weeks with basically no parental supervision, during which time he begins gaming online out of boredom.
There are several chapters which describe, very humorously, the storyline of Lesh's online fantasy game, and I found these to be expertly narrated by MacLeod Andrews, causing me to laugh out loud MANY times. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the gaming scenes as much had I read them in print! Anyone who has played or watched online RPGs will appreciate how perfectly Steve Brezenoff wrote the video game scenes, and even listeners with no gaming experience will be entertained by MacLeod Andrews' clever voicing of the fantasy characters. I felt Arielle DeLisle, with her sweet, clear, whimsical voice was a wonderful Svetlana, and MacLeod Andrews was able, as usual, to portray both Lesh's sulky teen boy voice and crazed, hormonal teen boy thoughts without missing a beat. Well done by both narrators.
Some sweetly romantic scenes plus a surprisingly clever twist at the end of the book gave it depth and raised some thought provoking questions about gender and role playing in real life. Genuine exploration of Lesh and Svetlana's journey towards making peace with their parents and their friends also kept this book from being a simple YA novel. I highly recommend it.
I have already listened to this book 3 times, I love it so much. It's the story of a college student who "likes a challenge" coming to live with a family in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Every character in the book was fascinating to me, from the well grounded, kind-hearted Julie to the nerdy MIT student Matt, and especially young Celeste, with her eccentricities. The romance in this book touched my heart and I fell in love with all the characters. Each scene is essential to the book, and the humorous lines are expertly delivered by Julia Whelan. There's a late night drunken phone conversation that is exceptionally funny. The sad parts will wrench your heart and the story builds to a satisfying climax.
I recommend this book for ANYONE.
Both my teenage son and I enjoyed this book with it's blend of science, suspense and plot twists. The narration was excellent, and I look forward to the continuation of the story, if a book 2 is forthcoming.
My teenage son listened to Jumper first and kept telling me "This is so good, this is so good!" I enjoyed every minute of Jumper, from the beginning where Davey discovers and explores his ability to teleport to the end where he uses his talent in attempts to exact revenge on those who have wronged him.
The author does a wonderful job of portraying Davy as a teenager, with the fears, anger and moodiness of a teen. The character makes impulsive, emotional decisions based on his mood, which he later regrets. There's a love story, some political intrigue and lots of action packed twists and turns throughout the book. It was fascinating to listen to Davy experimenting with the limits of his talent.
MacLeod Andrews did an excellent job at portraying the moods of Davy, speeding up the cadence of his narration during the action scenes and putting genuine emotion into Davy's voice when he is upset. I rarely "noticed" his narration- it was never distracting- as I would instantly become absorbed in the story, which is, in my opinion, the sign of a good narrator. MacLeod excels at voicing realistic fear and anger in Davy's voice.
I definitely recommend this book to young adults and adults, and I will definitely listen the Steven Gould's other books in the series.
This book inspired me to take the time and post my first review ever to Audible. From the first chapter of this book I was intrigued with Michael, who tells his story in pieces, skipping between childhood and teenage years. The story unfolds slowly, and near the end of the book I basically sat frozen while listening; I was spellbound. Michael takes the reader through experiences of growing up mute, learning to open locks, and the series of choices which drew him into a life of crime.
MacLeod Andrews chooses to voice Michael's thoughts the way Michael probably wishes he could speak them: strong, emphatic, full of emotion. The pitch and cadence of MacLeod's narration subtly changes from childish to eager teenager to world-weary adult through the course of the book. It's perfect. I really enjoyed the booming, egotistical voice MacLeod Andrews used for Mr. Marsh, and the creepy, whispery voice of Sleepy Eyes.
I loved this book so much that I pressed play and listened to the entire thing again, then had my husband and teenage son listen (they enjoyed it, too). Then I moved on to other books by Steve Hamilton.
Claire and Justin are likable characters and I enjoyed the descriptions of their feelings and interactions. The author did a strong job of describing their background friendship so I was wrapped up in their story and cheering for their romance.
I was occasionally distracted by descriptions of Claire's cat interrupting the conversation and love scenes at times.
Romance isn't usually my genre of choice for fiction, but I selected this story specifically because I enjoy MacLeod Andrews' style of narrating and I was not disappointed. His ability to voice female characters by softening his tone, rather than pitching his voice higher makes the voices sound natural. He puts wonderful richness and emotion into the voices and keeps the narration mesmerizing.
I spent an enjoyable few hours listening to this book and it was a satisfying romantic tale, expertly narrated.
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