Genres: Mystery, YA
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush. In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little less structured.
Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters by Gail Giles
Sunny Reynold’s sister, Jazz, dies in a fire. Then one day a letter arrives, a letter from Jazz. A girl follows. But she can’t possibly be Jazz–or can she? She seems to know all the family secrets, but Not-Jazz clearly has a few secrets of her own. Compelling, edgy, and suspenseful, Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters will keep you guessing. And just when you think you know what’s real and what’s not, Gail Giles unfurls another surprise.
This is a short book. The paperback version is only 128 pages, and the unabridged audiobook clocks in at just 2 hours and 45 minutes. Giles doesn’t waste any words. The mystery is on from the start and the book will keep you guessing as to what’s going on until the very end.
Gail Giles has a dark, twisted mind, and I love it. Her characters have layers on top of layers- more onion than parfait for you Shrek fans. Nothing is ever quite as it seems in Giles stories, and because they’re short and tight, your mind doesn’t really get a chance to go off wondering. By the time you even think to start to figure things out, she slams you with twist. They aren’t always loud, jaw dropping twists, but they nevertheless offer up delightful surprises. Well, for me anyways. I can’t speak for you, maybe you don’t like surprises.
I feel more clever when I’m listening to an audiobook written by Gail Giles, which I know sounds terribly conceited, but there it is. She’s not an author you see on everyone’s Top Ten Tuesdays lists, and in a way I feel like she belongs more to me than to you, midnight readers. She’s like an indie band that you listen to before they’re featured on some soundtrack and hit it big. I bet she’s the kind of author other authors know and love. Maybe I’m delusional and should have gone to bed half an hour ago instead of writing this part of the review that I’ll forget to delete later. I’m just saying, Gail Giles rocks, and you should read one of her books. I liked this one a lot, but I’d have to give the edge to What Happened to Cass McBride? to be the one book you read by Giles. Or, like me, you can vow to read them all.
It was easy to connect with Sunny, she’s a girl who lives a lot in her head and in her books. Only fourteen, Sunny has to bear the burden of sad depressed mother, a drunken neglectful father, and she’s doing all of this while still living in the shadow of her dead sister. Sunny is smart and sarcastic, and she handles everything so much better than I ever could- seriously, she impressed the heck out of me.
The only fault in this book is that it is too short- I will always want more when it comes to Giles books. Sign me up for the Sunny Reynolds series! Let’s follow her to college and the eventual retirement community that we’re all headed for. We’ll get our Golden Girls on and it’ll be like one long book club meeting, full of cheesecake and coffee and prunes to keep us regular.
I really hope Giles is busy writing right now. Unless she’s on the East Coast, in which case I’ll let her sleep in a few more hours. If she’s on the West Coast then she should still be up creating her wicked twisty tales.
Also, once you read this book, or listen to the audiobook, go to Giles website and look at some of the extras on this book. I honestly want everyone to read this so that we can discuss!!!
Khristine Hvam narrates this book, and What Happened to Cass McBride?, and a million other books. Which is how it should be. One day, when I win a huge jackpot lottery, I will pay Hvam to follow me around and narrate my life. It’s a good thing I’ll have all that money, because she’s great at doing foreign language accents (seriously, listen to her read the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series already!) and I plan on traveling so she won’t get bored narrating my exciting trips to… the mailbox.
Hvam has an incredible range of voices. I’m used to her young adult voice, but she goes younger even for Sunny, who’s only 14. She goes older for Sunny’s mother and father, back to young adult for the voice of Jazz. Hvam has a gift, her voice is pure magic. I have to wonder if she narrated every single book I listened to if they’d all end up 5 stars just because I enjoy her narration so much?
Does it sound like I have a voice crush? Because I totally do! In fact, I bought my first Gail Giles book on Audible mostly because Hvam narrated it and only partly because it sounded like my kind of book. If Giles and Hvam ever team up to rule the world, watch out. Because they could totally get me to buy into their plan of world domination.