Audio Book Road Trip #1: Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King, narrated by Kirby Heyborne

Ants

I know, I know. I said I’d start Monday. I couldn’t wait.

The first book I listened to on my Manitoba road trip was Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King, narrated by Kirby Heyborne. I really hit the ground running with this one.

Well, not literally running. I was driving. I mean, it was 1,234 miles to my destination (which I think is kind of cool) (this is really close to 1984 kilometers, which is also cool, as that’s the year of my birth). Anyway, I didn’t run. I sat. And I listened.

And what I listened to was phenomenal. I had given up on audio books for a little bit because I listened to some stinkers. Basically, if the narrator speaks in either a monotone the entire time or, like, like a valley girl chomping on her bright pink gum? With her fingernails matching her headband matching her gum color matching her lip gloss? And her sentences all sound like questions? I won’t like it. But this one was great.

First, a little plot music. Lucky Linderman is the fortunate hero of this tale. His family is. . .less than functional. His dad is the son of a champion MIA/POW supporter, as Lucky’s grandfather never came home from Vietnam. So this dad character has never really dealt with that fully, and doesn’t know how to be a father. He cooks (that’s his job), and. . .that’s about it. His mom swims. Like, 7 million laps a day swims. Lucky just goes through his day, doing what he can to ignore it all.

But Lucky has a bully. Nader McMillan (what a sweet bully name, right?). And one day, Nader picks on Lucky just enough that his mom can’t take it anymore. So they’re off to Arizona to visit her brother and his wife. Where they can deal with things. Which basically means she can swim 7 million laps a day in a different state, and Lucky can have a different male role model. As if that changes anything.

There’s something else, though: Lucky’s grandfather. Yes, he never came home from the war. But Lucky has been having meetings with him. In his dreams. There’s a very real nature to these dreams. Lucky decides it is his job to rescue his grandfather (which was also his grandmother’s dying request. Oh, by the way: his grandmother is dead).

So much more is going on (there’s a girl, among other things) that wouldn’t really fit in the context of a review. But here’s the thing. This story is layered and complex and all that. But more than anything, it’s just. . .it’s good.

A.S. King takes us on a journey through Lucky’s mind that is just so real it’s impossible to turn off. I mean, not that I had anything else to do but sit and listen, but I didn’t want to stop. This was so good at being a teenage boy’s perspective of life that I didn’t know A.S. King was female until after I got home and looked her up on Twitter. The book was just spot-on.

Without Kirby Heyborne’s narration, though, it might not have come alive as much. There was just this dry, teenage sarcasm dripping through my speakers. This was juxtaposed with intense teenage confusion, as Lucky often experiences this particular feeling. I can’t explain how good it was. Just go listen yourself.

I would recommend this book for anyone looking to try an audio book. It’s not too long (just under 8 hours), and will definitely hold your interest. Also, I think fans of John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower will enjoy the story.

My rating: 5 out of 5 fish. FishFishFishFishFish

 

Audio Book Road Trip!

Those of you who know me on a more personal level (not that personal, just, you know, as a person, not just as a faceless blogger [or do I have a picture up here?]) may know that I took a road trip to Manitoba at the beginning of April.

If you’re wondering/don’t know, I live in Michigan. This was about an 18 1/2-hour drive, one-way. So about 37 hours in a car, over 4 days of driving. Being a member of the Nerdy Book Club, this could mean only one thing:

PIE!

Well, a little bit of pie. If you’re ever near Osseo, Wisconsin, you must stop at the Norske Nook and have some pie. It’s phenomenal. But you might find yourself writing poems about it later and having some people wonder if it’s erotica.

Anyway, 37 hours in a car also means another thing:

AUDIO BOOKS!

The week before my trip, I gassed up Le Grande Topaz (my wonderful car), got an oil change, got new tires, and got some books. And yes, I know my use of “got” in that sentence is terribly wrong. It was for effect. ::chases those particular grammar bullies off with a stick (and logic)::

I settled on five books I knew would keep me good company:

  • Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
  • Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
  • Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
  • Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

I completed 4 of these on the trip, while the 5th had to wait (disc 5 of 10 was completely ruined by a previous listener, so needed some intense cleaning. It is has been restored to health and is currently being completed while I drive about town).

Side note that cannot wait: if you encounter or create scratches or anything else on your library audio books (such as disc 5 of Just Listen, that looked like someone mistook it for bread when they were making a jam sandwich), please be sure to tell them at the circulation desk! Many libraries have ways to fix this, but they’ll never know if they’re not told! Do your part.

Anyway, the point here: I am going to attempt to review these audio books over the next week, in order. So Monday, we will begin with Everybody Sees the Ants.

Just a word of caution: I have told myself that I am not going to force myself to stick to schedules on the blog. That means that while I hope to review one each day, it might end up being one each week. Also, if I’m not done with Just Listen by Friday, I won’t be posting a review (though I only have a couple discs to go, so I should be finished). But come on by, and I’ll try to have things posted.

And for your next road trip: think audio books!