Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

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In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner; narrated by Michael Crouch
Listening Library
Release date: August 8, 2021
ISBN: 9780593399040

Cash and his friend Delaney are barely surviving in their small Appalachian town. Cash is being raised by his grandparents after his mother succumbed to opioid addiction, and Delaney is running from drug dealers and an unstable home while working at Dairy Queen.  A small but profound scientific discovery by Delaney gives her leverage to earn them both places at a prestigious boarding school.  Cash is torn between going and leaving behind the grandparents who have raised him and grabbing the otherwise unattainable opportunities the scholarship would give him.  Convinced by Delaney to go to the new school, he discovers his inner poet, and goes through many coming of age experiences.

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An Interview with Alex Award Winner TJ Klune, author of The House in the Cerulean Sea

Each year, the Alex Award committee works to select ten titles published for adult readers that might have special appeal to young adults, ages 12-18. One of the 2021 selections is The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is brilliant and gentle, the narrative slipping on like a well-worn sweater while performing a certain magic that makes it all feel fresh. The story focuses on Linus Baker, longtime employee of the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. His job as a caseworker sends him into orphanages designed for the care and keeping of these children with unusual or fantastic gifts, and his judgment on those facilities determines whether they stay in operation or not. He lives alone with his cat, Calliope, and suffers the constant rain and near-daily harangues from his neighbor until one day, he is unexpectedly chosen to go on a month-long observational visit to an orphanage shrouded in secrets. Home to the most dangerous, highly classified magical children, this orphanage is run by the mysterious Arthus Parnassus. As Linus gets to know Arthur and these remarkable children, everything begins to change.

The book is a delight, and we are grateful to Klune for this thoughtful and inspiring interview!


photo by Natasha Michaels

THE HUB: This book defies classification! Published as an adult title, winning an Alex Award for YA crossover appeal, it could also easily fit on middle grades shelves next to Harry Potter or the Penderwicks or the Melendy quartet from Elizabeth Enright. Why do you think this book works across so many ages?

KLUNE: I think there’s something not only topical about the story, but also universal in its messaging. Fantasy is often filled with grimdark stories (absolutely nothing wrong with that!), and we don’t get to see a lot of “happy” fantasy these days. I wanted to write a story that reminded me of the cozy fantasies I read as a kid, books that not only made me happy, but allowed me to believe everything could be okay. Hope can often seem like it’s in short supply these days, and while a novel like The House in the Cerulean Sea won’t fix the world’s problems, I hope it can at least serve as a small reminder that we are capable of so much when we stand for what we believe in and lift each other up.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 30 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

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Raybearer by  Jordan Ifueko; Narrated by  Joniece Abbott-Pratt
Blackstone Publishing
Publication Date: August 18, 2020
ISBN: 978-1094149189

Tarisai has grown up living a privileged life surrounded by tutors, luxury, and protection in her realm, but she has never received love and closeness from anyone around her. She especially longs for attention from her mother, called The Lady. At 11 years old, Tarisai is sent to Oluwan City to compete for inclusion on Crown Prince Ekundayo’s governing Council of Eleven. If chosen, she will bond eternally with Prince Dayo and her Council siblings via a mystical Ray, and gain the human closeness she so craves. But Tarisai learns that before she was born, The Lady commanded a djinn to impregnate her with a child who must someday grant her third wish. Tarisai is that child. And The Lady’s third wish is to kill the prince Tarisai is now sworn to protect. 

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 11 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

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The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune; narrated by Daniel Henning
Macmillan Audio
Release date: 03-17-20
ISBN: 9781250264299

Linus Baker takes his job as overseer of magical children’s orphanages very seriously.  His by-the-book approach to visits and reports gets him noticed by Extremely Upper Management. They select him for a special job visiting a house at what seems like the end of the world to report on a particularly special group of kids.  But while there, he finds that there might be more to life than filling out forms and boxes, and in this case, the children and their enigmatic master are teaching him more than he expected to find.

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