Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –Tess Dombegh has spent her whole life unable to live up to her angelic twin, Jeanne, and her half-dragon stepsister, Seraphina.

redstarHARTMAN, Rachel. Tess of the Road. 13 CDs. 16:16 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2018. $70. ISBN 9781524779559. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Tess Dombegh has spent her whole life unable to live up to her angelic twin, Jeanne, and her half-dragon stepsister, Seraphina. When Tess can no longer take the disapproval of her parents, she runs away. Disguised as a boy for protection, she meets her childhood friend, a small dragon named Pathka, who invites her to help him find a legendary serpent, Anathuthia. On the road, Tess learns to deal with the tragedies of her past—rape, a lost baby, abuse from her family, and her self-hatred—while helping several people along the way and becoming truly herself. Hartman has masterfully built her world, and narrator Katharine McEwan does an excellent job portraying those who live in it. McEwan has a personality for each character, capturing the emotionlessness of the dragons, Tess’s doubt, and the colorful people Tess meets on the road. The created languages and unique sayings of the story really lend themselves to the audio format. VERDICT Fans of Hartman’s Seraphina will be drawn back into the stories of Goredd and will be clamoring for more.–Sarah Flood, Breckinridge County Public Library, Hardinsburg, KY

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2018 issue.

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