Breve Audiobook Reviews: Symptoms of Being Human + The Lifeboat Clique

May 27, 2016 | Posted by Genesis in Audiobook Reviews, Book Reviews, Multi-Reviews | 13 Comments

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Breve Reviews is the new name/feature for short reviews. Breve is a term in Italian that means short and is used to describe an espresso coffee drink made with a half-and-half light cream or semi-skim milk instead of full fat milk.

Breve Audiobook Reviews: Symptoms of Being Human + The Lifeboat CliqueSymptoms of Being Human
by Jeff Garvin
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Tom Phelan
Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Audible | iBooks Audio
5 Stars
Source: Audiobook Received for Review

A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers.

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn't exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in über-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley's life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it's really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley's starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley's real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

From debut author Jeff Garvin comes a powerful and uplifting portrait of a modern teen struggling with high school, relationships, and what it means to be a person.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

late chat with gen

I had seen this book around but never really paid attention to it until my lovely co-blogger Gaby reviewed it a while back (you may check her review here because it’s awesome!). Her review definitely made me want to read this book so I was excited when I got the chance to review the audio-book. This was a ride! Since my co-blogger reviewed it and covered all of the aspects, I will keep this short.

Symptoms of Being Human opened my mind to something I was very closed off on, but listening to this story helped me understand the LGBTQ community. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I got a lot more than what I bargained for. The author never revealed if Riley was a boy or a girl. NEVER! There were times when I really thought Riley was a girl, and others when I thought Riley was a boy. The author didn’t use pronouns when referring to Riley. I was so sure it was going to slip somewhere and I was so very attentive but nope! So kudos to the author for keeping me guessing because the writing process must have been tough.

This book deals with diversity, bullying, depression, and suicide. All of these topics combined are bound to make for a very memorable and eye-opening story.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS: Tom Phelan was fantastic as Riley. His voice worked perfect and it was hard to identify the voice as either a girl or a boy because it could fit for both. He brought Riley to life.

About Jeff Garvin

Jeff Garvin grew up in Orange County, California, the son of a banker and a magician. He started acting in high school, and enjoyed a fifteen-year career including guest-starring roles in network television series ranging from The Wonder Years to Roseanne to Caroline and the City, as well as several independent features.

While studying at Chapman University, Jeff won awards for classical guitar and visual storytelling before graduating with a BFA in Film. As the front man of his rock band, 7k, Garvin released three albums and toured the United States. When the band dissolved in 2011, Jeff, who had always written short stories and lyrics, found his passion in full-length fiction.

His debut novel, SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN, tells the story of Riley, a 16-year-old gender fluid teen who starts an anonymous blog to deal with hostility from classmates and tension at home. But when the blog goes viral, a storm of media attention threatens Riley’s anonymity. Coming February 2, 2016 from Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins.

Jeff lives in Southern California with his music teacher wife, their menagerie, and a respectable collection of books and guitars.

Breve Audiobook Reviews: Symptoms of Being Human + The Lifeboat CliqueThe Lifeboat Clique
by Kathy Parks
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Publication Date: March 1st 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Allyson Ryan
Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
3 Stars
Source: Audiobook Received for Review

Mean Girls meets Life of Pi in this darkly humorous, compulsively readable teen novel that’s perfect for fans of Libba Bray and Andrew Smith. A hilariously dark and twisted story that sparkles with a remarkably fresh voice, The Lifeboat Clique is Kathy Parks's irreverent yet insightful novel about how to survive in the most unthinkable circumstances.

Some people might say that Denver has a death wish. Why else would she dare to sneak into a Malibu beach party where she’d be surrounded by enemies?

Oh yeah. Croix. Denver never thought in a million years he’d ask her out, but who is she to question this miracle of fate?

Well, that isn’t the only surprise fate has in store.

During the party a tsunami hits the coast of California, and Denver and a handful of others escape death and are swept out to sea. Of course, one of her fellow castaways is none other than her ex-BFF, Abigail, who can barely stand the sight of her.

Trapped on a small boat with the most popular kids in school and waiting to be rescued, Denver wonders what might kill her first—dehydration, sunstroke, or the girl she used to think of as a sister?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

late chat with gen

This was…. Interesting, to say the least. I was expecting something fun and light but I got much more than that. Denver moved to California and let’s just say she isn’t used to all the earthquakes—she freaked out at school when everyone else was calm and collected. The same day, she gets invited by Croix, someone who’s very popular at school. At the party, she’s finally talking to Croix when an earthquake happens… Then another… Next thing she knows, there’s a tsunami.

This book deals with survival. Denver is stranded on a boat with people who don’t like her at all but they all have to get along in order to survive. There’s also loss and this, I wasn’t expecting. Many students lost their lives in this tsunami and that was such a shock to me. I honestly expected this to be all a dream and Denver would wake up soon, but no. It was real! That made this book very realistic to me and I was able to enjoy it even more.

Overall, this story was unexpected and enjoyable despite all the negative things happening in the story.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS: The narrator was a bit on the slow side and her voice took me a bit to get used to but soon I was able to relate her voice to Denver. When the desperate situations rose, Allyson’s voice was great to describe the other characters. She managed to change her voice so well that it was very easy to know which character was talking at the moment.

About Kathy Parks

I am both Kathy Hepinstall, writer of Adult Fiction, and Kathy Parks, writer of the #YA novel, THE LIFEBOAT CLIQUE (Katherine Tegen Books, March 1 2016)

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13 responses to “Breve Audiobook Reviews: Symptoms of Being Human + The Lifeboat Clique

  1. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Symptoms. I need to get myself a copy. My knowledge of LGBTQ communities is also flimsy, but YA books have certainly been teaching me. And interesting how the author doesn’t use pronouns at all.

    The Lifeboat Clique never appealed to me for some reason. It has such a strange premise and definitely not one that I’m intrigued by. I’m glad you enjoyed it though and that it felt realistic!

    Lovely reviews! 🙂

    • Exactly! Thanks to the YA books because they are the ones that teach me about this specifically.
      It’s beyond interesting! I was so attentive to it and nothing! When it came to Riley, no pronouns were used. That’s how no one knows if Riley is a girl or a boy. It was very intriguing.

      Yeah, I don’t recommend TLC to you, knowing your reading preferences.

      Thank you <3

  2. You really like coffee! Confession: I’m not a coffee person…or tea or soda. I’m boring and like 100% orange juice with pulp and plain ol’ water.
    I haven’t even heard of the first book but I’m glad to see you loved it.
    I can’t read books like the second one. I am way too curious about stuff like how do they brush their teeth, use the restroom, etc. I can’t turn that part of my brain off!

    • HAHAHAHA! I love coffee! For me, water comes first, then Orange juice and then coffee. I love love love orange juice, especially the fresh kind.
      The second one is weird for sure.

  3. I really like Symptoms of being Human! I loved not knowing who sex Riley is, it never felt important ya know? It was an eye-opening book for sure! I’m glad you liked it, too!

    • To me, it felt important because I wanted to know haha But yeah, I understand your point. It wasn’t important because it wasn’t going to add to the story. Besides, I totally loved the mystery and trying to figure out. Obviously I never did.

    • Haha thank you! It’s a great book for sure.
      And yes, you should skip it. Unless you’re bored with nothing to read, but let’s face it. Our TBR’s are huge so.. Haha

  4. I REALLY need to read The Symptoms of Being Human! I have heard nothing but amazing things about that one! The Lifeboat Clique was…. odd. I mean, I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it either? I agree with you, I thought there was going to be some kind of twist because it was so random, but nope! I needed more in the way of explanation, I think. Great reviews!

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