Thursday, October 27, 2011

Audiobook Review: Golden by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Narrator: Jenna Lamia
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Edition: Unabridged
Duration: 5 hours, 50 minutes
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
When Lissy James moves from California to Oklahoma, she finds herself in the middle of a teenage nightmare: a social scene to rival a Hollywood movie. And if understanding the hierarchy of the Goldens vs. the Nons isn’t hard enough, Lissy’s ever growing Aura Vision is getting harder and harder to hide, and if she’s not careful, she’s going to become a Non faster than you can say “freak.”
But it’s becoming clear that Emory High has a few secrets of its own. Around the halls, the term “special powers” goes way beyond one’s ability to attract the opposite sex, and there may be something more evil than the A-crowd lurking in the classrooms. Lissy can see a lot more than the average girl, but she’s about to learn the hard way that things aren’t always as they appear and you can’t always judge a girl by her lip gloss.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

The beginning is slow, but once you get into it, Golden is a novel that is hard to put down. There were revelations that actually surprised me once the mystery started to unravel. Because while this is very much your typical unpopular-girl-trying-to-navigate-her-way-through-high-school sort of book, it also has a rather intriguing mystery attached to it. I was definitely more interested in this than Lissy's analyses about how much of a freak she is, so it's a good thing that the mystery takes over in the latter half of the novel.

While it's a good story, it's apparent that the author was nineteen when she wrote this. The characters lack complexity and a lot of the conflict is superficial. I know it's probably supposed to be the point that all the "Goldens," or popular kids, at the high school are unintelligent and shallow, but I like to have a little more realism in the characters I read about. The only interesting character is Lilah, the leader of the "Goldens" because she's hard to figure out.

Even though I don't usually like music and sound effects in audiobooks, I did like the music that signaled the end of every section. It was different each time and perfectly complemented the tone of the story at the time. The integration is so well done that I hardly noticed that there was background music playing (which is a sign of a good soundtrack, in my opinion). Jenna Lamia also does a good job in portraying Lissy. I was sure she was a high school student, which turned out not to be the case.

I would say that Golden is a good beach read. It's quick, has a decent plot, and a really good ending. Young adult paranormal fans -- this one's for you!