SOMEWHERE OUT THERE by Amy Hatvany (Audiobook)

Somewhere Out There
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SOMEWHERE OUT THERE is a poignant story about a young mother named Jennifer who gives up her two daughters for adoption, and what becomes of them in the years following. Her girls, Brooke and Natalie, end up with very different childhoods, one trapped in the foster care system, and one adopted by loving parents. It’s not until Natalie’s daughter is assigned a “family tree” project at school that Natalie starts searching for her roots.

I always say that Amy Hatvany writes emotional stories, and this one is no different. Just given the subject matter, a homeless mother with seemingly no other choice but to surrender her children to the state, it’s heartbreaking to say the least. I don’t have a lot of knowledge in this area, but it seems that the book portrays a realistic picture of what happens to kids in this situation. Unfortunately, not everyone gets a happily ever after. I wasn’t exactly pleased with the ending of this book. Hopeful, though. Sad, but hopeful.

The audiobook was narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Rebekkah Ross, Candace Thaxton, who happen to be three of my favorite voice actors. Wonderful performances all around.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Audiobook Review: SAFE WITH ME by Amy Hatvany

Format: Audio; 10 hrs, 21 mins
Narrators: Joy Osmanski, Rebekkah Ross, Cassandra Campbell
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Released: March 4, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½

The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. A year after she signed the papers to donate her daughter’s organs, Hannah is still reeling with grief when she unexpectedly stumbles into the life of the Bell family, whose fifteen-year-old daughter, Maddie, survived only because Hannah’s daughter had died. Mesmerized by this fragile connection to her own daughter and afraid to reveal who she actually is, Hannah develops a surprising friendship with Maddie’s mother, Olivia.

The Bells, however, have problems of their own. Once on the verge of leaving her wealthy but abusive husband, Olivia now finds herself bound to him in the wake of the transplant that saved their daughter’s life. Meanwhile, Maddie, tired of the limits her poor health puts upon her and fearful of her father’s increasing rage, regularly escapes into the one place where she can be anyone she wants: The Internet. But when she is finally healthy enough to return to school, the real world proves to be just as complicated as the isolated bubble she had been so eager to escape.

A masterful narrative shaped by nuanced characters whose delicate bonds are on a collision course with the truth, Safe with Me is a riveting triumph.

SAFE WITH ME is one of those books that stirs up all kinds of emotions. Anger, heartbreak, empathy, and hope. It’s the kind of story that rattles you from the very beginning and makes you a part of the characters’ lives. I liked how the author handled some heavy subject matter with sensitivity and compassion.

The story is about two mothers, Hannah and Olivia, who are brought together by chance when Hannah’s daughter dies, and her organ donation allows Olivia’s teenage daughter Maddie to live. The donation was anonymous and confidential, but fate has different ideas, and the three women unknowingly become tangled in each other’s lives.

Hannah, Olivia, and Maddie were complex, realistic characters dealing with serious issues – Hannah, dealing with the death of her child; Olivia, suffering at the hands of an abusive husband; and Maddie, struggling with the guilt that someone had to die for her to live. My heart went out to each one. Listening to the audiobook helped me connect with the characters even more. Joy Osmanski, Rebekkah Ross, and Cassandra Campbell gave brilliant performances, capturing the essence of their character.

SAFE WITH ME is another winner from Amy Hatvany. Definitely sad at times with some nail biting moments along the way, but the ending left me feeling optimistic.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Audiobook Review: OUTSIDE THE LINES by Amy Hatvany

Format: Audio; 10 hrs, 29 mins
Narrators: Candace Thaxton, Corey Brill
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Released: December 10, 2013
Source: Review copy from the publisher

When Eden was ten years old she found her father, David, bleeding out on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents’ divorce, and David all but vanished from Eden’s life. Since childhood, she has heard from him only rarely, just enough to know he’s been living on the streets and struggling with mental illness. But lately, there has been no word at all.

Now in her thirties, Eden decides to go look for her father, so she can forgive him at last, and finally move forward. When her search uncovers other painful truths–not only the secrets her mother has kept from her, but also the agonizing question of whether David, after all these years, even wants to be found–Eden is forced to decide just how far she’ll go in the name of love.

Listening to OUTSIDE THE LINES stirred up all kinds of emotions in me. The story is about a woman’s quest to find her father, missing from her life for 20 years. Eden was 10 when her parents divorced, her father David’s suicide attempt was the last straw for her mother. David, a very talented artist, suffered from mental illness most of his adult life, and he was unwilling to stay on medication. After the divorce David disappeared from mainstream society, earning a few dollars for alcohol by sketching portraits of tourists and living on the streets.

I enjoyed how the story was told from Eden’s and David’s POVs, and the time period alternates between 2010 and the late 1980s forward. It took several chapters for me to warm up to Eden and become invested in her quest. Just hearing about David’s behavior and how it affected Eden made me angry. He was a man who did not want to be helped. As the story progressed, I began to understand and sympathize with Eden. I particularly loved seeing her relationship with Jack develop. Jack was the founder and director of Hope House, a homeless shelter in Seattle. (Eden described him as looking like Tom Cruise without the “crazed look” in his eyes. Ha ha.) Jack helped Eden see the situation with her father in a new and realistic light.

Overall, I liked the audio performance by Candace Thaxton as Eden and Corey Brill as David. Both captured the temperament and emotions of their character very well. My only complaint was there was little or no variation in voices of the secondary characters, and sometimes it was hard to tell who was speaking.

OUTSIDE THE LINES is a poignant story about love, trust, forgiveness, and acceptance. The bittersweet ending made me teary-eyed. Amy Hatvany is an amazing storyteller, and I’m looking forward to reading more from her.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.