Author: Ransom Riggs
Length: 8 audio CDs
Plot Basics: Jacob Portman’s grandfather always told him bizarre stories, but he always thought they were made-up. When his grandfather dies in strange circumstances, Jacob takes a trip to a Welsh island to learn the truth and discovers his mundane life isn’t as boring as he thought.
Banter Points: Riggs managed to hit on an essential YA idea — that teens want to find a place where they feel accepted, no matter how weird they feel.
Bummer Points: I think if I’d read this book and not done it on audio, I would have liked it better. I didn’t like the reader’s voice. It wasn’t bad enough to give up, but I didn’t find it pleasant (he was no Scott Brick, that’s for sure). The book also took way too long to get going for me. Riggs also had an annoying writing habit (which I try to do a lot too) of backing into sentences with gerunds such as, “Sitting at my desk, I write all my blog posts.” I had a writing fellowship mentor ding me on this one and Riggs did it so much I couldn’t NOT notice it.
Also, there were weird moments when Jacob’s character got really crass and it wasn’t necessary.
I read faster than I listen. In print, I wouldn’t have noticed the things that bugged me as much because I would have glossed over them.
Word Nerd Recommendation: I know people who love these books and I’m trying to want to go on to book 2. I need some seriously strong recommendations to stick with the series at this point.