This is a book that can definitely stand alone; but you’ll miss out on the subtleties of the central relationship if you don’t read Streetlights Like Fireworks first. Plus that is an excellent book, which I am planning to go back and re-read (in audio this time) now that I have finished this one. I’ll post a review when I do. Note: Because Jack, rather than Lauren, is the protagonist of that story, the book has a different (male) narrator.
I have struggled with how to say this - in Book 1, the characters had certain problems, attitudes, and characteristics. In this book, the characters have changed realistically as a result of what came before. They are not just the same people dealing with the same problems in the same ways. I liked the level of growth (or lack thereof). It was not so little that Book 1 seemed irrelevant, nor so much that they weren’t the people I came to love on the first trip. That is an area where some less experienced authors struggle, they change the relationships without letting the characters mature.
Jack resolved his central problems in the first book and is beginning to make the transition from Young Adult to New Adult as he prepares for college. He is centered and stable. Lauren on the other hand, didn’t find what she was looking for, and is stuck unable to move either forward or back. She is lost and she knows it. When it comes to their abilities, however, Jack is still a bit ambivalent while Lauren thinks she’s got it figured out.
The story starts by jumping into the mystery, but then wanders off into character exploration for awhile. This is the place where people who haven’t read the first book might be tempted to quit (obviously I think you shouldn’t). Once they hit the road, however, the pace remains steady, with a good mix of actively pursuing the answers and quietly exploring their relationship. And the resolutions, both in the case and in their lives are satisfying.
I would have liked to see Jack participate more with the psychic stuff, rather than being mostly emotional support. What I am hoping to see in the next book - A bit more of Jack’s perspective/involvement. More romantic progress.
NARRATION: I liked it / She did a really good job on Jack’s voice / Good accents (which are reserved for the minor characters, rather than our Virginian protagonists) / Beyond the occasional accent, side characters didn’t all have their own “voice,” but I never lost track of who was talking / Smooth pacing & production / Listened on 1.25 speed (my usual) -- Just FYI: Pagliacci Pizza should be pronounced the Italian way (Polly atchi), it's very good.
FAVORITE PART(S): When Jack shares the fact that more sunglasses are sold in the rainy NW than elsewhere (having lived in WA myself, this is a fact that I have actually shared with people before) / “Linda Martian” (i.e. resident of Linda Mar) / The scene in the (plant) nursery, where they accidentally bean a customer with a penny tossed at a (non)wishing well.
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: swearing (it was very mild)
--Re-readability: HIGH - despite the fact that I know how the mystery works out, I will enjoy spending time with these characters
--Narrator Impact: HIGH - I read this book before I listened to it. I had initially felt there wasn’t enough romance, but the audio performance really helped me feel their connection.
I received this book free in return for an honest review, courtesy of Audiobook Blast dot com.
The Dragonfly Season by David Pandolfe; read by Kerrie Seymour; produced independently in 2015 / Length: 6 hrs 51 min (Unabr) / Available through Audible & Amazon plus iTunes