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Marlena Audiobook

Marlena: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

An electric debut novel about love, addiction, and loss; the story of two girls and the feral year that will cost one her life and define the other's for decades.

Everything about 15-year-old Cat's new town in rural Michigan is lonely and off-kilter until she meets her neighbor, the manic, beautiful, pill-popping Marlena. Cat, inexperienced and desperate for connection, is quickly lured into Marlena's orbit by little more than an arched eyebrow and a shake of white-blond hair. As the two girls turn the untamed landscape of their desolate small town into a kind of playground, Cat catalogues a litany of firsts - first drink, first cigarette, first kiss - while Marlena's habits harden and calcify. Within the year Marlena is dead, drowned in six inches of icy water in the woods nearby.

Now, decades later, when a ghost from that pivotal year surfaces unexpectedly, Cat must try to forgive herself and move on, even as the memory of Marlena keeps her tangled in the past.

Alive with an urgent, unshakable tenderness, Julie Buntin's Marlena is an unforgettable look at the people who shape us beyond reason and the ways it might be possible to pull oneself back from the brink.

©2017 Julie Buntin (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (324 )
5 star
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3.9 (301 )
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Story
4.2 (302 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Sudi 06-06-17
    Sudi 06-06-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    117
    ratings
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    80
    59
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    8
    Overall
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    Story
    "A Brilliant, Agonizing Portrait of a Young Woman"

    When first listening, I thought I would not be able to relate to Buntin's characters because I am so far beyond (in years,) in trying too figure out my teen years and because Buntin's antagonist is much more into drugs than anyone I ever knew. That character would be Marlena, a vibrantly limned but frenetic young woman who befriends and is befriended by a new, younger, neighbor, Cat.

    Marlena is on the road to destruction and because of recent family transformations in Cat's life, Cat is drawn into Marlena's orbit of uncentered living -- which has few boundaries but much potential for dissolution.

    In short, this is a well written book (told from Cat's viewpoint,) about what it's like to grow into adulthood when your best friend is spiraling into oblivion... while you are simultaneously dealing with the trials which just about every teen girl confront's about self esteem, "coolness" and body image. Not to mention how to relate meaningfully to guys.

    Buntin is a very skillful and talented writer. Cat becomes very real and her observations are fully fleshed out, three dimensional and bring all her relationships to life.

    As far as being drawn into the book...It seems everyone has a "Marlena" of some sort in their maturing, early years. Someone who pushes boundaries and doesn't care about consequences but whose core of "self" is somehow either so protected and sealed away because of prior abuse that they never let you really "know" them -- or their real self has been damaged into emptiness and you never think you can know them for who they are.

    But through your friendship, you grow to love them, despite feeling like they are always trapped beyond you, beneath glass or ice.

    This is a well written portrait of two young women and it will grab you... I promise.

    PS The narration by Emma Galvin is perfect.

    37 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cassi Gablick 11-19-17 Member Since 2017
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    9
    9
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    Performance
    Story
    "Very easy listen/read"

    Very easy listen/read. I would recommend. It was an entertaining story and the narrator delivered.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TeeShirtBroker Austin 11-15-17
    TeeShirtBroker Austin 11-15-17 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    84
    7
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    Story
    "Kind of depressing"

    Well written very well performed, the opposite if an inspiring story.

    Call me hopelessly naive but I wanted some character in the story to find happiness (even if just a tiny bit somewhere along the line)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri Jo 11-13-17
    Terri Jo 11-13-17 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    1
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    Story
    "Enjoyed this book!"

    Good story, kept me wanting to listen. Glad it was a daily deal.
    Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hanna 11-13-17
    Hanna 11-13-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Heartbreakingly Real"

    Marlene is a story about two young girls who deal with the challenge of growing up in very different ways. When tragedy strikes it changes one girl's life and leaves the other without one. It was hard to listen to at times due to content but that made it all the better

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcia Leader 11-12-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    Story
    "Interesting but depressing"

    This story really helped me to think about, and feel sympathy for rural teenagers and the drug problems they experience. Such crazy downward spiral lives. Nice to know escape is possible, though difficult.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alana Middletown, CA, United States 11-09-17
    Alana Middletown, CA, United States 11-09-17 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    167
    20
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    Story
    "I cried out "no" when book ended"

    This is a stunningly well-written novel with characters so clearly delineated that one feels they are friends known for years. A coming of age story that will resonate with you no matter your age. I know I will listen again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Scardino 11-06-17 Member Since 2017
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    13
    4
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    Story
    "Loved!!"

    Thus wasn't what I was expecting but I loved it. A well-constructed story. I loved the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela b 11-05-17
    Angela b 11-05-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    56
    7
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    Story
    "Moving"

    This was a deeply moving and well written work of fiction. It will strike a familiar cord of bitter sweet
    Nostalgia that colors the past for everyone.
    Well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marianne Withington Plymouth, MA USA 11-05-17
    Marianne Withington Plymouth, MA USA 11-05-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    71
    44
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    Story
    "Descriptive character study"

    well written and performed, I was sceptical at first, but really ended up enjoying this story. it was very real in its poignant portayal of a young troubled girl.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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