AudioBook Review: Accidental Love by Gary Soto
Today I have an audiobook geared to your 12 year old and up listener: Gary Soto’s Accidental Love is about romance, conflict resolution, friendship and achieving your destiny despite the odds.
Filled with all of the drama and angst that puberty, school, friends and self-image can create, this ultimately is a story of self-worth and realization, love and conflict resolution and finding your own inner strength to change and grow: for yourself. Gary Soto has seamlessly integrated the feelings of alienation and self-doubt so common to everyone, given us real-world examples of behaviors that these insecurities can create and shown readers how to strive for dreams, even when circumstances may seem dire.
Marisa is a 14 year old Latina girl with dreams of better and moreSadly, her anger and her school are both conspiring against her, a steady intake of junk food doesn’t help, and her go-to problem solvers are her fists. A series of misguided actions to take revenge for her friend Alicia, Rene steps in to stop the fight. Marisa and Rene inadvertently grab each other’s cellphones, and from there a relationship is sparked.
Marisa and Rene have to weather many difficulties: their relationship has caused Rene grief with his mother, and his more ‘nerdy’ appearance has schoolmates laughing at Marisa. Their conflicts are not only from the outside pressures: their own development and learning to deal with conflict, how to work with others, and even how to realize their own dreams are laid out with easy to understand examples that are common to most of us at one point in life or another.
Barrie Kreinik narrates with smooth delivery, neither over the top exclamations or tone, with smoothly conversational insertions of the Spanish words that are sprinkled throughout the story. While there is definition of the Spanish for those who don’t speak it, the meaning of most of the words is clear in context.
I received an MP3 download from the audio producer via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Title: Accidental Love
Author: Gary Soto
Narrator: Barrie Kreinik
Format: Paperback, Library Binding, eBook and AudioBook
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Audio Producer: AudioGo
Length: 3 Hours: 45 minutes
Source: AudioBook Jukebox
Genre: Children 12 and up
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 4 Story: 4
About the Book:
It all starts when Marisa picks up the wrong cell phone. When she returns it to Rene, she feels curiously drawn to him. But Marisa and Rene aren’t exactly a match made in heaven. For one thing, Marisa is a chola; she’s a lot of girl, and she’s not ashamed of it. Skinny Rene gangles like a sackful of elbows and wears a calculator on his belt. In other words, he’s a geek. So why can’t Marisa stay away from him?
About the Author:
Gary Soto, born April 12, 1952, was raised in Fresno, California. He is the author of eleven poetry collections for adults, most notably New and Selected Poems, a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly, Poetry International, and Poetry, which has honored him with the Bess Hokin Prize and the Levinson Award and by featuring him in the interview series Poets in Person. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. For ITVS, he produced the film “The Pool Party,” which received the 1993 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Film Excellence.
In 1997, because of his advocacy for reading, he was featured as NBC’s Person-of-the-Week. In 1999, he received the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Author-Illustrator Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association, and the PEN Center West Book Award for Petty Crimes.
Gary admires people who have done great service for others. High on his list are Jose Padilla of California Rural Legal Assistance, Arturo Rodriguez of the United Farm Workers, Dr. Marc Lasher of the Fresno Free Clinic, and Nancy Mellor of the Coalinga Huron Avenal House. As for his own service commitment, Gary has taught English to Spanish speakers as a volunteer. In his free time he likes to play tennis, tend his garden, attend musical concerts, and travel. Recently he has discovered that he enjoys baking cookies. He divides his time between Berkeley, California and his hometown of Fresno.