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Joyland | [Stephen King]

Joyland

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.
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Publisher's Summary

"Joyland is a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book.... Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved."
—Charles Ardai, Edgar- and Shamus Award-winning editor of Hard Case Crime.

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.

©2013 Stephen King. All rights reserved. (P)2013 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What Members Say

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4.3 (3528 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ronna 08-01-13
    Ronna 08-01-13
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    "Nostalgic carnie days and a serial murderer"

    King's JOYLAND is a coming of age, summer carnival, ghost story, mystery. Devon Jones, with his 21 year old thoughts and feelings, fills the pages of this book with his broken heart, and his decision to befriend a very sick 10 year old boy and his beautiful Mom. This story is populated with all those people and things you'd expect to see at any local carnival, plus a ghost of a murdered girl who sometimes shows herself to special people in the Funhouse. The descriptions of feelings evoked at the carnie, the special carnie characters, the spunky little kid, and the love lorn heart of a college kid makes this book as much of a nostalgic trip down memory lane, as a thrilling mystery. Then add in a couple of saved lives, a mysterious fortune teller, the haunting ghost who just wants to 'move on', while throwing in a serial killer, and once again King has provided everyone with a great read!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber 07-18-13
    Amber 07-18-13 Member Since 2013

    I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.

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    "Bravo Stephen King!"

    I haven't read much Stephen King considering how much he's written and how popular he is and how much I read. I've read the The Shining, Carrie, and I tried and failed with making it through Lisey's Story. None of those books were that memorable for me. So, I have to say that I haven't really been too impressed with King… until now. Joyland was a little gem of a listen. It is a mystery, sure, but it also much more than that. It is a unique coming of age story. Devin Jones, the main protagonist, is a likable enough character and the narrator, Michael Kelly, enhances this. The story is told through the old eyes of Devin Jones as he reminisces back to the 1970's when he was a heartbroken college kid that decided to work at Joyland, an amusement park, for the summer. That summer changes his life forever. I felt that for a short-ish book, it had a lot of depth, meaning that I felt like the characters were well developed. I did plenty of giggling, gasping and a few tears fell as I listened to the story unfold. The cursing and the sex scene gave the book a bit of an edge that was appreciated. Also, there were twists and turns to the story that I didn't see coming and that always makes things a bit more interesting. This was a great summertime read/listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John S MA 07-17-13
    John S MA 07-17-13 Member Since 2014

    Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A coming of age done well"

    This is not your classic Stephen King novel. The supernatural part is rather muted, but the story is great. You will especially like it if your are in your 50s or 60s since it will bring back the days when you were in college and summers were a time to explore. Like the main character, I worked in a resort ( not amusement park) and the friends I met that summer are still my friends today. The characters are all great and the "mystery" part keeps you guessing to the end. It switched from present to past which adds a good amount of perpective to the story from the narrators point of view.

    You can't go wrong with this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Newark, DE, United States 07-02-13
    Thomas Newark, DE, United States 07-02-13 Member Since 2011

    tomsde

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Somewhat Typical"

    I have had a love/hate relationship with Stephen Kings writings over the years; I either loved or hated many of his books and TV miniseries. In this case Mr. King takes us back to the 1970s in a mystery/horror tale about a young college student struggling to come to grips with the loss of his first love. Mr. King's 70s are a bit anachronistic as he mentions things that either were not prevalent or hadn't been heard of in 1973. Devon Jones, is a bit too sensitive and effeminate for my tastes as the big hero of the piece, and the carnival talk he learns as he works at the Joyland Amusement Park sounds a bit clichéd'. I really couldn't decide if this was supposed to be a mystery, a horror story, or a coming of age story. We have the usual King potboiler cast of characters, the sensitive youth, psychic handicapped child, a somewhat lack-luster psychic who goes around giving Devon dire warning that he doesn't heed, and the ghost of a murdered woman who lives in the haunted house of the park. The performance of the reader was very good and I certainly don't fault him for my mixed emotions about the story. If you are expecting big chills you're bound to be disappointed, but the mystery part of the tale is entertaining without the help from the paranormal part of it.

    Final analysis: Joyland is somewhat of a hodge podge of the types of things you've come to expect in a King novel--if you like his usual stick, you'll like this, if you're kind of over the formula than skip it. It rather fails as a mystery novel or a supernatural one--it's a book that didn't know exactly what it wanted to be when it grew up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer RIDLEY PARK, PA, United States 06-25-13
    Amazon Customer RIDLEY PARK, PA, United States 06-25-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Joyfully Great Short Story"
    If you could sum up Joyland in three words, what would they be?

    King Short Story


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes. Most Stephen King novels are sprawling works that span over a dozen hours or more. At 7 1/2 hours, this is a very concise effort and I didn't find that it ever languished; it just keeps moving you forward to its conclusion.


    What does Michael Kelly bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He manages, while narrating as an older verison of the main character, to convey the voice of the youthful Devin Jones.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me laugh several times but anyone who reads Stephen King knows that laughs are part of the deal. Put that on a sampler and hang it in your kitchen. :)


    Any additional comments?

    I really missed the lack of a forward or afterward from the author with this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 06-10-13
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 06-10-13 Member Since 2013

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dear Bittersweet Story"

    Yes I am a die hard SK fan. This story set in a small town Carney is told from the point of view of a sweet nineteen year old boy. His first love has broken his heart and he is ready for new adventures. I expected the typical scary SK horror tale and yet there was no horror nor really not much of a mystery but nonetheless the book held my interest. I cared about the characters and wanted the best for them. So for me it was a good book, certainly not one of my favorites. I'm glad I had a listen, the narrator was good, he fit the bill.
    Mr.King please give us another real good one, we're ready!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hassan 06-04-13
    Hassan 06-04-13 Member Since 2015

    5 stars is i love and i will read agani and again. 1 is i hate and i never want to hear about it ever again. YES = :))) - NO= :'(

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another Great Horror book"

    Not all authors can do what Stephen King can do. First of all what made me buy this book before i even read the summary is that its a horror book by Stephen King called "Joyland" that was a reason enough for me. if you liked King's other horror book you will love this one. Remember how his book Duma key was? If you do then just add this and read it, and if you don't go buy Duma Key too then.

    I was waiting for this book for a while and i decided listening to a horror book at night would be the greatest thing, so took the day off from work and had a good scary listen to this book

    I don't want to say whats going on in the book exactly and i advice you not to check because getting surprised is way much better.

    The narrator did a great job, plenty of differente voices, and he gave life to these characters.

    highly recommended and you will love it.

    17 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 06-14-13
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 06-14-13 Member Since 2014

    50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I EXPECT MUCH MORE FROM STEPHEN KING"

    I was quite disappointed with this book. I've read many of kings novels and enjoyed them very much, King is a truly remarkable writer who has consistently delivered great work. So I certainly had high expectations with Joyland. Why he would release such a superficial, formulaic, predictable and shallow work is beyond me. As far as the narration goes, I think he did a good job and his voice fit the material .When I reflect on this book I feel Its as if he put this little book out there just to fulfill some contractual obligation. If you're debating on whether to invest in this or not- I say DON'T. If there are any other highly rated king novels that you haven't listened to then get one of those instead. MY fav`s are THE GREEN MILE-UNDER THE DOME -11 ;22; 63- THE STAND AND MISERY. DUMA KEY- CHRISTINE- AND DREAM CATCHER ARE worthy reads but are a notch below the former listed .SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION is remarkably short and is one of the very few examples of the movie being better than the book. - ON WRITING which is very rewarding and very enjoyable is mostly autobiography and not a novel. I think he is capable of much, much better, deeper more sophisticated work like he hinted at in under the dome and 11<22<63..While this is a reasonably well written short story it doesnt come close to standing up to kings recent work. Bottom line, I say SKIP THIS ONE

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 08-05-13
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 08-05-13 Member Since 2009

    procrastinator

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stephen King weirdly keeps getting better"
    Where does Joyland rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I don't know, I've listened to a lot of books. But I thought this was one of the best narrator performances. Michael Kelly was great.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Its kind of short for that. I wouldn't describe the book that way. I would compare this book more to the "Stand By Me"/"The Body" novella.


    Which character – as performed by Michael Kelly – was your favorite?

    Honestly, I loved them all. His southern voices were incredible, and I loved his dialogue between characters. I hope he'll consider doing some more narration in the future.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 07-18-13
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 07-18-13 Member Since 2009

    caffeinated

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The meddling kids with the dog solve it."

    King's storytelling is so approachable and infectious that one easily can overlook the minor play kinks. I wish there had a little more spine chilling ghost action, but overall, I really enjoyed this piece.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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