The first Jack & Lauren road trip is a fun YA Psychic Mystery that I liked better after listening to the second one.
Jack has been getting on his parents' nerves for some time. Bad enough he's a rock musician, has crappy grades, and hangs out with his "loser" friends. But Jack's ability to predict the future - well, that just annoys the hell out of them.
Jack's classmate, Lauren, is said to have unique abilities too. The town still talks about when she kept badgering her mother about the money in their wall. For the longest time, Lauren's mother didn't listen. Finally, she did and Lauren's mother hasn't had to work since.
Jack would really like to connect with Lauren but can't figure out how. She's never looked at him twice. But when he experiences a mystifying event involving visions, voices, and spectral visits, Jack figures there's only one person to help him understand who's calling out to him and why. Before long, Jack and Lauren are off on a road trip of discovery that could provide answers to a mystery left unsolved for 20 years. More importantly, they might even unravel the greatest mystery of all - how every so often someone will accept you for who you are.
Buy Now | +Goodreads
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Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible.
Streetlights Like Fireworks by David Pandolfe, read by Adam Verner, published Independently (2015) / Length: 6 hrs 46 min
This is #1 of 4 (so far) in the Streetlights series. The first 3 are available on audio. According to the author, the narrator "expects Gem [#4] to be ready by the end of June." When asked if there would be a #5, he said "Yes, regarding another book in the series. They're fun to write!"
In November of 2014, I got the Kindle version of this book for free. (It is permafree, so you can pick up too if you'd like.) I read and liked it, but it wasn't an instant favorite. When the sequel, The Dragonfly Season, came out I read it and liked it enough that I was willing to accept the audiobook for review. I found that I really liked it in that format. (You can read my review here.)
So, I put the audiobook version of this one on my TBR (TBL?). And I found that I liked this one better in audio format as well. This isn't any great surprise, since this is usually the case for me, if the narrator is good. (Note: This book has a different narrator than the others.)
This is a leisurely tale that won't be for those who need constant action, but may be appreciated by those who like spending time getting to know great characters.
Jack: The unsatisfactory son of a stuffy straight-laced family. He isn't a social outcast, due to his family's status, but he doesn't have a lot of friends either. He struggles with the fact that nothing he ever does or wants to do is acceptable to his family, and everything they want him to do is something he hates. I like that, despite the fact that this is a paranormal story, Jack is just so normal.
Lauren: A social outcast who has found her circle of friends among other "gifted" people online. She takes charge and makes things happen, pushing Jack to do what needs to be done to resolve the mystery. She also serves as his guru, encouraging him to learn what he can do with his gift.
Jack & Lauren: No InstaLove (& no Love Triangle)! Jack has had a bit of a crush on Lauren for a while now, but never had the courage to approach her. The relationship develops bit by bit (although it is over a relatively short period of time).
I think we started at the perfect point, when Jack "meets" the guitar that will change his life. In the end, the mystery of the guitar is solved and Jack & Lauren have bonded. In between, we get to visit a lot of interesting people and places as they make their way across the country.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
- Jack's description of Lauren
I’ve always had this thing about moths. How they fly at night, beautiful spots and patterns not meant for our eyes. Everything about them intended for some other realm we might glimpse but never fully experience. Hidden. Magical. Secret. That’s Lauren to me. Jet black hair streaked with blue, green and sometimes red. Black eyeliner. Purple hoodie, gray jeans, black combat boots. A midnight rainbow.
- Jack's comments on judging people based on their appearence:
"...adults peg you for being a total loser if you don’t look like you just strolled out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. If you dress in black or do anything suggesting “goth” everyone assumes you’re mainlining heroin while bent on suicide. It doesn’t ever occur to them that maybe it’s the football team and cheerleaders sucking back beers, smoking weed and hooking up while the “freaky” kids are home on Friday night reading a book or checking out stuff on Tumblr."
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Swearing (including 2 F words, used by one character during a single conversation) / Underage drinking (although he regretted it the next day) / Illegal driving
OTHER CAUTIONS: Jack has to control his thoughts about Lauren to avoid embarrassing himself. / A briefly met character is said to have done "something" to his sister / They visit & stay with a lesbian couple who are friends of Lauren.
Good differentiation of voices, emoting & pacing / Speed is really good. I was able to listen on regular speed (rather than my usual 1.25 speed) / Some might find his voice a bit deep for a high schooler. / His female voices aren't feminine, but he doesn't try to fake it so they are acceptable.
Streetlights Like Fireworks (#1) by David Pandolfe, read by Adam Verner, published Independently (2015) / Length: 6 hrs 46 min Buy Now | +Goodreads
Talk to Me (pretty please)
- Can you recommend any other (non-murder) YA Psychic Mysteries?
- If you could do the road trip of your dreams, where would you go? [I would do New Zealand, since friends of mine went before LOTR ever came out and I was blown away by their pictures.]
- Has your life ever taken a turn because you realized that you liked something else more than what you were currently doing? (Check out the author's answer in his interview below.)
- If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?
- I recently debuted my redesigned blog. What do you think?
Bonus Author Interview
Tell us something about your lead character(s) that we don't already know. [Exclusive
"When Lauren was a child, she used to tell her parents about Sarah, the other girl living in their house. Her parents assumed Sarah was Lauren’s imaginary friend (no one likes to think they have a ghost in their house)."
If you were to spend a day with your lead characters, what would the three of you do?
"Road trip! Knowing Jack and Lauren, we’d probably be gone much more than a day and could end up anywhere."
Tell us something about yourself that we might not already know.
"I used to front an alternative rock band. I later realized I liked writing songs more than performing them. Then it occurred to me that I might be able write something longer (maybe even a book)."
What is the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?
Stopping is the hardest thing about writing (ironically so is starting). The easiest part is drafting since you can just go with your imagination and leave straightening out the mess for later when you edit.
Audiobook / eBook / Paperbooks? Which is your favorite and why?
I enjoy all three formats for different reasons. ebooks are fantastic since you can access them so easily and walk around with a library in your pocket. I enjoy audiobooks as interpretations, almost like when a book is produced as a movie (love them for driving, in particular). Print books are things of beauty and always will be.
To learn more about me and my books, here’s a great place to start (and you also come away with a free book
This review will be linked up with the following (hover for descriptions):