Audiobook mini-reviews: Lucy by Laurence Gonzales; Slam by Nick Hornby; and Skellig by David Almond

Title: Lucy
Author: Laurence Gonzales
Genre: Literary fiction, speculative fiction
Publisher: Knopf
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Abby Craden, Kim Mai Guest
First line: Jenny woke to thunder.

This is one of the most thought-provoking novels I’ve read/listened to in a long time. Jenny Lowe is a primatologist doing research on Bonobos in the Congo when violence breaks out and she is forced to flee the country. She takes Lucy, the daughter of another researcher who has been killed, back to the States, where she discovers that, thanks to some genetic manipulation on the part of her father, Lucy is half Bonobo, half human. The question of what Jenny does about this knowledge and what the world – especially the United States government and extreme religious fanatics – would do in this situation are central questions to the plot. And yet Gonzales manages to take this extraordinary premise and boil it down to the people involved, so that while the book has a strong plot, it feels like a character-driven novel. Highly recommended

Title: Slam
Author: Nick Hornby
Genre: YA fiction
Publisher: Putnam
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Nicholas Hoult
First line: So things were ticking along quite nicely.

Can I just say I love Nick Hornby? I’ve always had a weakness for a man with a good sense of humor, and Hornby’s books always make me laugh. Slam is Hornby’s first foray into the world of YA fiction, and I hope it won’t be his last, because this book is a terrific read, no matter your age. Sam is fifteen years old when his girlfriend becomes pregnant – a painful and ironic situation considering that Sam’s mom had him at age 16. The way Sam deals with this situation seems so realistic – and the birth scene had me laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants. Nicholas Hoult, the reader, is a perfect Sam – and hearing the story in the voice of a teenage boy made it all the more comic.

Title: Skellig
Author: David Almond
Genre: Children’s fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: David Almond
First line: I found him in the garage on a Sunday afternoon.

I owe thanks to Nick Hornby for this one, too, as I first saw it mentioned in one of his Polysyllabic Spree essays. Michael’s life has been turned upside down – his family has just moved into a new house and his baby sister is sick and he’s found an extraordinary creature in the garage. Plus, the girl next door, Mina, is challenging everything he thinks about life and learning. This book is full of magic and creativity and curiosity and hope. I will be reading this one aloud to the kids at some point.

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13 Responses to Audiobook mini-reviews: Lucy by Laurence Gonzales; Slam by Nick Hornby; and Skellig by David Almond

  1. Coffee and a Book Chick
    Twitter: coffeebookchick
    says:

    Skellig looks interesting — I might have to check that one out!

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    Skellig may need to be added to my kid audio list!

  3. Ash says:

    I have tried, and tried, and tried, and TRIED to read Slam and just cannot get into it. I love Nick Hornby and I bought the book as soon as it came out but just couldn’t get into it. Maybe I should try the audio.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Ash- yes, you should give it a try on audio- something about hearing it from a teenage boy brings it to life.

  4. I’m not familiar with Lucy at all but it does sound good from your description of it. And I still haven’t read anything by Nick Hornby. I have a couple of his books around here so I have no excuse. Really must give him a try one of these days.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Wendy- Hornby is one of my very favorites – you should definitely give him a try!

  5. S. Krishna
    Twitter: skrishna
    says:

    Ooh, I’m so glad you enjoyed LUCY. I have that ARC for awhile and haven’t gotten around to it yet. I hope it works as well for me in print as it did for you in audio!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Swapna – It is so well-written and I still find myself thinking about it and talking about the issues it raised – sure sign of a good book!

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