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August/September 2018

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LIKE VANESSA Tami Charles Read by Channie Waites Narrator Channie Waites turns Tami Charles's protagonist into a flesh-and- blood teen full of doubts, humor, and grace. In New Jersey, in 1983, Vanessa is a wallflower who dreams of following in the footprints of Vanessa Williams, the first black Miss America. She enters a pageant at her middle school—despite feeling too fat, too dark, and too shy— and compares the cost of pageant outfits to the price of groceries and utility bills. While a few adult charac- terizations are heavy-handed, Vanessa's voice bubbles with charm and crackles with energy in her racially charged inner- city school. As family secrets are revealed and events spiral out of control, the lis- tener will be compelled to hear the end of the story. S.T.C. Recorded Books 7.5 hrs. Unabridged Ages 10+ Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781501990755 $66.75 (also DD) ENDLING #1: THE LAST Katherine Applegate Read by Lisa Flanagan Applegate's new fantasy series has a fas- cinating cast of characters, and narrator Lisa Flanagan does justice to each. Byx may be the last of her species. When she views the site of her family's slaughter by human soldiers, Flanagan portrays her shocked hor- ror and palpable loneliness. But she gradually builds trust as an unlikely band of travelers becomes fam- ily. Flanagan aids listeners' imagining of each charac- ter with differing timbres and touches—from Tobble, a comic, devoted creature, to Khara, a human with deep feelings and conflicts. From coldly cruel to ruthless, Flanagan varies her portrayals of the menacing vil- lains. Overall, she represents a range of dark and light moods in this fast-paced, family-friendly audio. S.W. Harper Audio 8.5 hrs. Unabridged Ages 8+ Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9780062841452 $23.99 HURRICANE CHILD Kheryn Callender Read by Krystel Roche Narrator Krystel Roche's Caribbean- inflected voice delivers this poignant coming-of-age tale, which transports lis- teners to a sunny, sea-splashed world. Caroline, a dark-skinned 12-year-old, is the story's central narrator, born on Water Island (in the Virgin Islands) during a storm. Since the day her mother abruptly disappeared, Caroline has been living with her father in a state of bewildered longing. Surrounded by unkind peers, Caroline must navigate a lonely, challeng- ing world, but she gains a friend in a new girl named Kalinda. As the story touches on race, love, and abandonment in sensi- tive ways, Roche delivers a sure narration of Caroline's complex emotions. With nuanced inflections that shade emotion, Roche offers an insightful performance that draws listeners into Callender's deeply original story. J.C.G. Scholastic Audiobooks 4.75 hrs. Unabridged Ages 8+ Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9781338249811 $18.99 Library Ed.: DD ISBN 9781338279849 $56.99 YOU GO FIRST Erin Entrada Kelly Read by Amielynn Abellera Amielynn Abellera narrates the story of a tumultuous week in the lives of two mid- dle schoolers. Deftly moving between their voices in alternating chapters, Abellera excels at capturing the nuanced emotions of Ben, age 11, and Charlotte, age 12, two smart kids who connect as long-distance online Scrabble competitors. Already fac- ing middle school problems such as best friend troubles and social awkwardness, Ben and Charlotte also must grapple with divorce and the grave illness of a parent. Abellera captures the searing embar- rassment kids feel in lunchrooms and hallways. Overall, she portrays Ben and Charlotte ars complex and believable, as are the voices of those around them, including the mean girls and mean boys they encounter. This tautly plotted story will engage a range of listeners well beyond middle schoolers. J.C.G. Harper Audio 4.5 hrs. Unabridged Ages 8+ Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9780062821409 $17.99 64 n AudioFile/www.audiofilemagazine.com Children & Family Listening

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