My first audiobook of 2010 was 2007's recording of A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama by Laura Amy Schlitz. In anticipation of the author's new book for 2010 (The Night Fairy) I remembered I had wanted to read this one.
Alma Cuervo gives a fine performance as the reader. I love the complex and rich characters, the melodrama, the seances, and Maud. A great, suspenseful read for 8-12 year olds. Maud is a voracious reader and there are a number of turn-of-the-century (20th century that is) works mentioned, especially those featuring orphans who overcome. This story was a nice send up to those classics and I appreciated the author's nod to them. I cannot imagine a young reader not getting swept up in this deliciously gothic story. Thumbs up.
I'm almost finished with The Red Blazer Girls: the Ring of Racamadour By Michael Beil and I am loving it! It is a 2010 Texas Lone Star Reading List title which means it will get all the exposure it deserves as every middle school & public library in the state will think about purchasing it. Tai Alexandra Ricci's gives a solid performance with her pitch-perfect girl voices. But I have to hand it to (private girls' school) teacher Michael Beil for his amazing grasp of the preteen girl in all her over-the-top emotional wonderfulness. Sophie is spot-on. Love her. He must be one amazing teacher.
My one concern for the audio is that the puzzles the girls work on can be a challenge to imagine by the descriptions alone. I'm sure there are plenty of 10 year olds who know geometry far better than me, but I kept thinking it might be confusing to someone who has never figured out the Pythagorean Theorem before. Even still, put this on your booklist now. Hooray for mysteries! Hooray for the sequel! Random House, please have ARCs at TLA next month. Thanks!