Sunday, August 16, 2015

Buddha Boy

Koja, K. (2004). Buddha Boy. NY: Full Cast Audio.

YA / Realistic Fiction / Audiobook / Bullying

I gave this audiobook 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb:
With his shaved head and begging bowl the new kid is an audience target for the bully boys of Edward Rucher High--"an easy mark for this casual cruelty. Watching this, Justin would gladly stay as far from the newcomer as possible--"until their economics teacher pairs them for a project and he finds himself becoming fascinated by the kid the others mock as "Buddha Boy." The thing is, friendship with an outcast always carries a price, and soon Justin must decide if he can stay silent in the face of what he knows. A scorching portrait of contemporary high school life, featuring a character listeners will never forget. 

I listened to this quick story, and I enjoyed the effects that were used in the audio: for example, using music to signal chapters/transitions and using an echo-y effect on the voice of the main character, Justin, when he had internal dialogue. I also enjoyed that the narration was truly full cast, so there were different actors for each character.  There were just a couple of times when it sounded like the wrong voice was speaking for a part, but it wasn't frequent.

This is a semi-typical bullying story but it does have a less-than-typical victim, Jinsen, and a good twist to his story. There were some very poignant observations and commentary about church, religion, and karma, and for a delightful change of pace, several adults are actually honorable and role model-ish. The high school setting and characters felt authentic, and though sometimes the messages were excessively beat upon the readers, the messages were good, nonetheless. Sensitive readers beware; there is some swearing -- including an F-Bomb - and some violence, but it's not graphic.

Thank you to SYNC for providing the free audiobook download with absolutely no strings attached. Good stuff.

Kathe Koja (born 1960) is an American writer. She was initially known for her intense speculative fiction for adults, but  has turned to writing young adult novels.

Koja is also a prolific author of short stories, including many in collaboration with Barry N. Malzberg. Most of her short fiction remains uncollected. Koja's novels and short stories frequently concern characters who have been in some way marginalized by society, often focusing on the transcendence and/or disintegration which proceeds from this social isolation (as in The Cipher, Bad Brains, "Teratisms," The Blue Mirror, etc.). Koja won the Bram Stoker Award and the Locus Award for her first novel The Cipher, and a Deathrealm Award for Strange Angels. Her prose has been described as "stunning".

Koja won the Bram Stoker Award and the Locus Award for her first novel The Cipher, which was also nominated for the Philip K Dick Award. She also won a Deathrealm Award for Strange Angels.

Learn more on Kathe's WEBSITE or BLOG on TWITTER or FACEBOOK.

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