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Zen and the art of faking it by Jordan Sonnenblick

Zen and the art of faking it by Jordan Sonnenblick

Zen and the art of faking it by Jordan Sonnenblick

San has spent most of his life moving from school to school. Tired of being the guy who blends into the shadows, he uses his Asian looks to capitalize on a class assignment on Buddhism and pretends to be a Zen master. To carry on his Zen façade, San secretly studies books on the topic and in doing so not only learns more about Zen but about himself as well.

Mike Chamberlain does a very good job but something about either his voice or his reading that didn’t quite fit the voice of the story. All in all I enjoyed listening as San bumbled along the path of self discovery. This is an excellent combination of teen self discovery novel and Zen introduction—all with a touch of humor.

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Things that are by Andrew Clements

Soon after losing her vision several years ago, Alicia met Bobby, a boy who has turned invisible. The two become friends as they searched for a cure for Bobby’s affliction. Several years later Alicia, now a senior in high school, has adapted to her blindness. Her biggest worry these days is trying to work up the courage to tell Bobby how she really feels about him. When Alicia meets a man named William who is suffering from the same condition as Bobby, her once calm world is shaken. Not only is William demanding that Alicia and Bobby help him get back to normal but, somehow the FBI wants to ask them questions as well. Will Alicia be able to keep Bobby and her family safe?

Although the story is preceded by two books: Things not seen and Things hoped for, it definitely stands alone. It’s an engaging story but I think readers looking for action and intrigue may be disappointed as the story focuses a lot more on Alicia’s feelings for Bobby as well as her internal struggle to determine right versus wrong.

As far as narration went, all in all I think Jennifer Ikeda did a good job. There were a few things that I felt could have been done better. When Alicia is debating with herself, you could tell she tried to make Alicia’s inner voice sound different Alicia’s. I didn’t think the distinction between the two voices was strong enough as I sometimes had to use context clues to determine who was “talking.”

I also felt that the emotion in the character’s voices was sometimes hit and miss. There were times when you knew by the situation and the character’s lines that they were upset, but there were no clues to that in the narration. I think I feel strongly about this because since Alicia is blind, she is more attuned to the little nuances and vocal clues in a person’s speech and I felt the narration should reflect that.

I enjoyed both the book and the reading enough that I may go back and listen to the other books in the series.

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