Accidental Love

By . 3 CDs. 3:30 hrs. AudioGO. 2013. ISBN 978-1-62450-506-0. $49.95.
Gr 6–10—Soto's novel (Harcourt, 2006) tells the story of Marisa, a tough Latina, and her surprising attraction to nerdy Rene, "a lamb with no sins except bad taste in clothes." Opposites in every way, the couple overcome obstacles in their relationship, including his abusive mother and her explosive temper. In the end, their romance brings out the best in each of them. Soto's simple, straightforward writing style, featuring lots of dialogue and teenage slang, is appropriately expressed by Barrie Kreinik's crisp, clear narration. The characters are easily differentiated, with appropriate accents for the Spanish words that naturally occur in conversations. The print version includes a helpful glossary. Listeners will understand the sense of most words by the narrator's tone, although hearing Marisa described as a "chola" won't quite express the ferocity of "gangster" to English-speaking listeners. The search for identity plays out here among stereotypes of checked-out urban youth from the barrio and chess-playing nerds from the magnet school across town Listeners will root for Marisa and Rene to beat the odds and live happily ever after.—Toby Rajput, National Louis University, Skokie, IL

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