Audiobook Review: THE POSSIBILITIES by Kaui Hart Hemmings

thepossibilities
Format: Audio; 9 hrs, 30 mins
Narrator: Joy Osmanski
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


In the idyllic ski town of Breckenridge, Colorado, Sarah St. John is reeling. Three months ago, her 22-year-old son, Cully, died in an avalanche. Though single, Sarah is hardly alone in her grief. Her father, a retiree, tries to distract her with gadgets from the QVC home shopping channel. Sarah’s best friend offers life advice by venting details of her own messy divorce. Even Cully’s father reemerges, stirring more emotions and confusion than Sarah needs. Still, Sarah feels she is facing the stages of grief – the anger, the sadness, the letting go – alone.

Barely ready to face the fact she will never again hear the swoosh of her son’s ski pants, or watch him skateboard past her window, Sarah is surprised when a strange girl arrives on her doorstep. Unexpected and unexplained, she bears a secret from Cully that could change all of their lives forever.

Kaui Hart Hemmings highlights the subtle poignancies of grief and relationships in this stunning look at people faced with impossible choices in the wake of a tragedy. With the unsentimental and refreshingly wry style famous for presenting trouble in paradise in The Descendants, Hemmings in The Possibilities considers the difficult questions of what we risk to keep our loved ones close.


THE POSSIBILITIES is a poignant story about coming to terms with loss, working through grief, and finding the strength to move on. The main characters in this book are mourning the death of Cully, a young man who was their son, grandson, and friend. His mother Sarah, in particular, is grieving the loss of his future possibilities, and she’s become stalled in her own life. Then, a stranger comes into Sarah’s idle existence who will jolt her awake once again.

I enjoyed listening to this book. Kaui Hart Hemmings has an engaging writing style, and her characters are genuine, flawed, and easy to sympathize with. Given the conflict that the stranger brings, the plot could have gone in a cheesy and improbably direction, but luckily the author didn’t let that happen. The characters’ emotions, reactions, and ultimate decisions felt realistic to me.

This book was narrated by Joy Osmanski, and I thought her performance was excellent. Her portrayal of Sarah and what she was going through was moving. She also did a great job creating distinct voices for the other characters, especially Sarah’s father, Kyle. He was the comic relief for this emotional story.

THE POSSIBILITIES made me want to cry at times, but there were also many funny moments when I laughed out loud. Definitely an engrossing read (or listen) that will stay in my thoughts for a while.

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

Audiobook Review: SAFE WITH ME by Amy Hatvany

SafeWithMeAudio
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.