Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, May 31, 2018
Josh Sundquist’s LOVE AND FIRST SIGHT, performed by Pat Young for Hachette Audio, is also a title selected as 2018 Best Fiction for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services division of the American Library Association. If ever a book needs to be heard rather than read with the eyes, this is the one. At 16, Will has never experienced the sense of sight and Sundquist builds his character’s perceptions fully around hearing, smell, touch, and taste. Listeners will have many realizations about Will’s credible take on the world: the problem, if you’re blind, of coping with nearly silent electric cars; new people in your life assuming you’re staring rudely at them when you don’t even know that they are across the room; deciding whether to try an experimental surgery that will leave you confused by the onslaught of new stimuli. Pat Young reads with energy and the humor Will needs to get through the first semester of his new life.
Robyn Schneider’s EXTRAORDINARY MEANS, read by Khristine Hvam and James Fouhey for HarperAudio, is the second title in this week’s pair. With two narrators sharing the points of view of Sadie and Lane, listeners can expect their own worlds to fade away as they become engrossed in Latham House, a place where rules don’t always make sense, the threat of death from a near-future tuberculosis epidemic hangs close, and two teens discover first love.
This is a week to give your eyes a rest and just listen. Then you might want to find out more about the authors who make these characters so vivid. You can start with some of Josh Sundquist’s comedy videos, in which he describes life as a guy with one leg, and then listen to Robyn Schneider reading a letter to her 16-year-old self. Remember, too, that each week’s free audiobook displays on our website with suggested additional listen-alikes. If you like these two, you’ll find good suggestions for more like them.