Middletown by Sarah Moon, narrated by Hope Newhouse
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Release date: April 5, 2021
The story opens with thirteen year old Eli sleeping with her seventeen year old sister, Anna, while waiting for her mom to come home after a night of drinking. This time, their mom is caught drunk driving for the second time and is sentenced to mandatory rehab for at least 90 days. Anna and Eli struggle to find money to pay the bills and feed themselves while attending school and navigating parent-teacher conferences. On top of this, Eli has feelings for one of her best friends, Mina. At the same time, she finds out that Anna was sexually harassed by the coach at her high school and tries to encourage other girls to speak up. When the schools try to get in contact with a guardian and send a social worker to their home, Anna and Eli run away to try and find a place where they belong.
The narrator does a great job of capturing the different female voices within the story. The audiobook captures the pacing and progression of the story in an engaging way.
Similar to Crank by Ellen Hopkins, this story draws attention to the resilience required to overcome addiction and continue to be in relationship with family and friends. For readers who enjoy texts about being resilient, try Parenthesis by Élodie Durand, No Longer Human by Junji Ito, and The Sea in Winter by Christine Day.
– Caitlyn Seale
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. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.