AudioBook Review: License to Spill: Pretenders #2 by Lisi Harrison
I had read the first book in this series, and was hoping that the second would actually provide far more resolution than it did. A prologue indicates that the first book ended where it did specifically to test demand for more. For me, that feel manipulative and leaves a bad taste. But, I was hopeful as I started, and prayed that gossip and a “what I did today” didn’t substitute for characters, and the emotions were less overly dramatic telenovela and more realistic, even for angsty teens.
Sadly, I was as disappointed in this instalment as the first, with the added frustration of narrative choices that ranged from competent to annoyingly nasal, over-reaching little girl voice. Sadly, there is also no delineation of the narrator/character choices, the only hints come from male or female voices. The male narrations were competent, if lacking in emotional intensity. Female narrations for many of the voices were the same, with the exception of the narration for Sheridan (and others), with an over the top reliance on a whingy, high-pitched little girl whining tone that is as pleasant as nails on a chalkboard. I will admit that stories with multiple narrators are not always a favorite, but the narration only provides a part of the total package.
There are certainly storylines that run through this book that are stronger than others: Vanessa and Jagger both feel more complete as people and carry more interest – although Vanessa’s slight condescending approach to footnoting her entries is still unexplained, if an amusing quirk. The rest of this motley cast of characters were just there: no new points of interest, no growth and still an amazing lack of empathy or awareness of consequences. I didn’t find much wit or amusement in this installment, and with yet another cliffhanger I am quite certain that I won’t continue.
While I realize I am not the target audience for this author’s work, it usually doesn’t present such a disconnect and frustration with the flaws in character, plot and conclusion. I could be encouraged to understand these characters better had there been solid construction of real people, rather than the slightly one-dimensional paper dolls that are presented.
Performance-wise, the narration group of Zach Roe, Corey Bradberry, Audra Pagano, Christina Devallescar and Stephanie Willis all have different characters, although it is never explained who voices whom. The boy’s voices were all competently presented, while Vanessa, Lily and X are pleasant if a bit lacking in emotional depth as they overemphasize every syllable in each word. Sheridan’s voice was the real standout in this story, and not in a good way. Although, on reflection, it was fitting for a character that lives a dramatic and “notice me” life.
Stars: Overall 2 Narration 3 Story 2
Title: License to Spill
Author: Lisi Harrison
Genre: Teen Reads
Narrator: Audra Pagano, Christina Devallescar, Corey Bradberry, Stephanie Willis, Zach Roe
Published by: Hachette Audio
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 5 Hours: 59 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦Audible
About the Book:
Three girls, two guys, five secret journals.
The five most popular students at Noble High have secrets to hide; secrets they wrote down in their journals. Now one of their own exposes the private entries...
When our parents were growing up they were encouraged to make mistakes. That's how they learned. But us? Our mistakes go viral. There is no delete button on the Internet. What kind of future do we have if we can't escape our embarrassing pasts? I must come off as quite the hypocrite; complaining about our overexposed lives in a book of secret journals I have leaked. But these pages hold proof of how this pressure affects the "best" of us... so until the heat's turned down, keep reading.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.