Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, July 6, 2017
Jyotsna Hariharan’s audio drama REBUTTAL from HarperAudio, performed by narrators Phoebe Strole, Michael Crouch, Nina Mehta, Peter Ganim, and Dan Bittner, features two high school students who go from being competitors to being teammates. The cast supplies authentic voices for each of the characters, including the success-driven teens, a pair of Indian-American parents, and the adult debate announcer who sometimes has to serve as referee between the accidental teammates. Ambient auditory enhancements, including buzzers, footsteps, and closing doors, all make this easy for new audio readers to become immersed and sustain interest.
Paired with this is Ashley Royer’s novel about a mute teen who has been sent from his home in Australia to his father’s American household in the hopes that a change in scenery will help with his depression. REMEMBER TO FORGET, from audio publisher Blink, is performed by Will Lasley, who must move from viewpoint to viewpoint as character perspectives alternate between depressed and silent Levi and his new American acquaintance, Delilah. Levi’s depression is credible, and the coping methods he’s developed for communication give plenty of opportunity to “hear” his silent voice. Thanks to Lasley’s straightforward pacing and minimal character voice interpretations, listeners can fall right into the unspooling plot.
At a time in life when friendships made and broken seem like the most important thing in the world, teen listeners can both enjoy and relate to these listens. Be sure to click through to the supplementary links above for information about Harper's writing contest and teen-friendly information about coping with depression.