Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Audio Book Review: The Whites of Their Eyes

Media Type: Audio Book
Title: The Whites of Their Eyes
   *Series: Keepers of the School #3
Author: Andrew Clements
Narrator: Keith Nobbs
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Format: Unabridged Compact Disc; 4 discs
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Source: Audiobook Jukebox
Intended Reading Group: Middle Grade / YA
Content Screening: Nothing of note.
Recommended to: Readers who love adventure!
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Andrew Clements delivers the latest in his adventure-filled school series.

This could be the last great Memorial Day weekend on Barclay Bay, and Ben knows it. This time next year, he might not be able to stand in the yard of the Oakes School and watch the harbor shake off winter—boats buzzing just beyond the bulkhead and families spreading picnics in the fields. If the school gets torn down and replaced by an amusement park, the town will never be the same. But that’s only if the school gets torn down. Ben and Jill are determined to keep that from happening. And the evil janitor Lyman has taken note. He’s following their every move—and undoing their progress along the way. Good thing Ben and Jill have a secret weapon. (Who knew that annoying Robert Gerritt would be such a spy wiz?) But Lyman has a secret weapon as well: a vicious guard dog. These kids are smart, but can they outsmart Lyman—and his beast—as the clock tick, tick, ticks toward total demolition?

Narrator Review:
Overall, I thought that Keith Nobbs did a pretty fair job at narrating this book. His girl voices could use a little work, but then again it's tough to be a girlish girl when you have a deeper voice :). I accept that. His pacing is spot on, and I loved the way that he would pause for dramatic effect at important points. Nobbs also does a great job at intoning danger and excitement.

Audio Book Rating: 4/5 - It's a great listen!


Book Review:
First off I find it only fair to say that I wasn't really paying attention to the fact that this was the third book in the series. I'm a long time fan of Andrew Clements, and when I saw The Whites of Their Eyes I knew I wanted to read it! So, I picked it up. Unfortunately for me that meant I came in at the middle of the story. I'll warn you, this is not a stand alone book. I had to go back and pick up pieces from the other two in order to understand what was going on. If you're looking at this series, make sure to start from the beginning!

That being said, I was pleased to see that Ben and his friends fit so wonderfully into the world of Clements' writing. They are vivid, funny, and smart. His characters always know how to hold their own. In particular (and I may be a little biased) I loved Jill. She not only has the wit to keep up with Ben, but a lot of the good ideas they come up with start with her. These two are fun to follow, even when they head off into dangerous situations. It's nice to see a female and male main character who both shine so boldly off the page.

The story does move a little more slowly than most books geared toward this age group generally do. There is a lot of historical background, and Ben does a lot of explaining about what his mission is. I had no problem with it as an older listener/reader, but I'm not sure that the younger audience would be as patient. Still, once the story picks up it does it very well! Clements' writing shines as Ben and Jill take off on a hunt for the ultimate treasure, and try to find a way to save their school from being torn down.

As a last comment, I really think that this installment should be coupled with the other two in one entire book. This was a short read, and it would be nice for readers to be able to get the entire story in one fell swoop. Despite everything though, I really did end up enjoying the story overall! If you have a young reader who loves adventure, pick up a copy of The Whites of Their Eyes and Ben's previous two adventures.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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