Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: Stars and Smoke by Marie Lu

  • Stars and Smoke
  • by Marie Lu
  • Narrated by Becca Q. Co
  • Macmillian Audio
  • Publication Date: March 28, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250877451

Winter Young is a pop star phenomenon. Sydney Cossette is the youngest-ever member of an elite covert ops group, Panacea. Winter is known world round while no one truly knows Sydney. They live worlds apart until Winter is recruited to join the ranks of Panacea’s elite spies to take down a criminal tycoon, Eli Morrison. The assignment is to infiltrate Eli’s house, Winter is the perfect person to get past Morrison’s security as entertainment for his daughter’s birthday party, and Sydney is assigned to be Winter’s bodyguard and his fake love interest. Their mission starts off smoothly, but the longer Winter and Sydney are in Morrison’s home, the more dangerous their assignment becomes, and the more their fake relationship begins to feel real.  

Becca Q. Co expertly brings to life Marie Lu’s latest novel. Co’s narration adds drama to the slow-burn espionage romance. She breathes life into Winter and Sydney as they follow the twists, turns, and dangers of going against an international drug lord. Lu’s signature writing is evident in the intricate and sprawling plot, strong charming characters that walk off the page, and masterful world-building. Fans of Ally Carter and Jennifer Lynn Barnes will enjoy this fast-paced adventure that is perfect for reluctant readers

–Rebecca Baldwin

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.