Monday, May 29, 2017

Walking and Listening to "Hello, Universe"

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
Harper Audio
5 hours 17 minutes
2017
Narrators: Ramon de Ocampo and Amielynn Abellera


"It's hard not to believe in fate when you watch a boy climb out of a well using a jumprope" 
As the school year comes to a close, Virgil deems himself a failure. Not because of bad grades or anything school related, but because he never got up the courage to say hi to a girl in his school. Not sure how he'll get over this, he consults his friend (and psychic) Kaori and her assistant/sister Gen. Convinced that Virgil and V.S. are destined to be friends, Kaori sends him out to find 5 different stones for her to consult and asks that he hang her business card up at the grocery store. These  requests sets off a chain of events, which may just seem like they are unimportant or unrelated, but as Kaori and Gen repeatedly tell us, "There are no coincidences."

I loved this book! The characters were amazing, each with qualities that readers can relate to, whether they are shy, trying to find friends, being picked on, finding their voice etc. I loved how Filipino folktales were woven throughout the story, which not only help Virgil to cope in various situations but are also a great way to expose readers to stories they most likely have never heard before. I love how the story introduces kids to fate in a way that they can understand.

I am a sucker for audiobooks that use different narrators. Ramon de Ocampo and Amielynn Abellera were great choices for this book, keeping the story moving along and the listener engaged. They beautifully vocalized the characters personalities and emotions. I hate to say this, especially since I enjoyed the book so much, but I did had teeny tiny problem with one bit of the narration. Growing up and living in Hawaii, a Filipino accent is something I am very familiar with, hearing it on a daily basis and this accent was off. Yes, the pronunciation of "Ay Sus!" was spot on, but Lola's accent was something I just couldn't quite place. I know the understanding of a thick Filipino accent might be a challenge to some listeners, but this seemed too mild to me. I appreciated that the narration for Valencia was varied from her thoughts to her speaking voice. How one sounds inside themselves is often quite different as to how they sound in the real world and I am glad this was done for Valencia.

Favorite Chapter Title: Drama in the Freezer Department


Summer is here!

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