The Stars at Oktober Bend

5 CDs. 6:30 hrs. Brilliance Audio. May 2018. $21.99. ISBN 9781543687828.
Gr 9 Up—Alice is the survivor of a traumatic brain injury inflicted after she was brutally raped. The attack has left her unable to articulate her thoughts verbally. She instead writes beautiful poetry and creates gorgeous fishing lures that transcend utility and become a form of art. Manny is a refugee and a soccer player who shares very little about his disturbing time when he was forced to be a child soldier. When he picks up one of Alice's poems, he becomes intrigued and seeks to know her. The two, sympathetic of each other's trauma, find comfort in one another, demonstrating strength, resilience, and heroism. The translation of this story to an audiobook format presents some interesting challenges. Poetry that might make more sense when read on a page feels random and disjointed despite Candice Moll's otherwise well-executed narration of Alice's character. Those who are patient will be rewarded with memorable performances by Moll and Ron Butler, two top-notch narrators.
VERDICT This is a superb and moving purchase for libraries where titles like Cath Crowley's Graffiti Moon are widely circulated.

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