Friday, October 25, 2013

Audiobook Review: Rooftoppers


RooftoppersAuthor: Katherine Rundell
Narrator: Nicola Barber
Released: September 24th 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Lenght: 5 hrs and 52 min
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Audiobooks

Embrace possibility in this luminous novel about a girl in search of her past who discovers a secret rooftop world in Paris.Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck that left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive—but “almost impossible” means “still possible.” And you should never ignore a possible.
So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian, threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has— the address of the cello maker.
Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers—urchins who live in the hidden spaces above the city. Together they scour the city in a search for Sophie’s mother—but can they find her before Sophie is caught and sent back to London? Or, more importantly, before she loses hope?

Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials series, calls Rooftoppers“the work of a writer with an utterly distinctive voice and a wild imagination.”
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell has the quality and the warmth of a children’s classic. It is a gorgeous story about a little girl in search of her mother. There aren’t many stories like this, not anymore, and as a parent, I’m extremely grateful when I discover one to share with my daughter.

By far the best part of this book is Sophie’s relationship with her foster father, Charles. Charles always encouraged Sophie’s peculiarities and never tried to fit her into a mould. His only method of upbringing was to love Sophie as much as possible – everything else was to work itself out. Parents can learn a lot from Charles; oftentimes we try too hard and focus on all the wrong things, and in the process, we neglect what’s most important. Sophie ate from book covers because she tended to break plates; she never brushed her hair, allowing it to become a tangled mess; she wore trousers sewn by Charles when girls were expected to wear pretty dresses, and she was homeschooled, mostly on Shakespeare. But she was the happiest child, free to become the person she was meant to.
"I know these sorts of people. They are not men. They are mustaches with idiots attached."

Rundell’s writing is a thing of beauty, smooth and elegant, easy and utterly charming. She created a wonderful and magical story, practically flawless, full of love and unconventional beauty. It is almost impossible to describe why this book feels so much like a classic, but it does. Books like Rooftoppers are extremely rare and I’m eager to share it with the people I love.

"Sophie," said Charles, "knows all the capitals of all the countries of the world." Sophie, standing in the doorway, whispered, "Almost." "She knows how to read, and how to draw. She knows the difference between a tortoise and a turtle. She knows one tree from another, and how to climb them. Only this morning she was telling me what is the collective noun for toads." "A knot," said Sophie. "It's a knot of toads."

Nicola Barber handled the narration extremely well. Her characterization is excellent and her voice laced with humor in a way that can keep the attention of smaller kids. Sophie’s naiveté and sweetness were evident in her speech and she even pulled off a decent French accent when it was needed. Judging from my daughter’s severe lack of patience, I can’t see younger kids sitting through 6 hours of audio at home, but if you’re planning a longer road trip with your children, I strongly recommend this book as an excellent way to make the time go faster. Both you and your children will gain a lot from it.

This is a book children and adults both can read and reread several times. I know I would have, as a child, and I probably will now. I can’t wait to share it with my daughter. Do yourselves a favor and give this wonderful book a chance.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.

24 comments:

  1. OMG the first quote made me crack up :'D Kinda true...lolz. I really enjoy books about young people looking for their past, it already makes me love them for their curiosity and will to know more. I need this book in my life.

    Stunning review, Maja! <33

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  2. I absolutely loved this book. I must try the audiobook now. Lovely review for a lovely book, Maja!

    -Maggie

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  3. Wow I haven't heard of this book before, but it sounds like a beautiful read. I love it when you're able to find a gem of a read (or audiobook in your case) when you least expected too! Gorgeous review Maja, I will definitely be recommending this book to my younger sister.

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  4. Aww, this one sounds so sweet and heart-warming. You've got to love a good family read, especially one written - and narrated! - so well. I'm always on the lookout for more audiobooks, so I'll have to see if I can find this one. Fantastic review, Maja!(:

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  5. I know how she feels -- I've met many mustaches with idiots attached. (That quote made me giggle!) Sounds like a cute read.

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  6. AWW! I love this review! I'm definitely reading this one soon.

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  7. Aw this sounds like a truly wonderful read! Thanks for sharing it with us Maja!!
    Have a nice weekend. :D

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  8. I can't believe I've never heard of this one until now. I'm definitely putting it on my tbr after reading your awesome review.

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  9. I love the sound of this one Maja, it just sounds absolutely gorgeous and really, really special. I'm not a huge audiobook person, like your daughter I lack a little patience ;-), but I'm going to recommend this one to my brother for his girls. It just seems like one that shouldn't be missed!

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  10. Hm..ok yes maybe it would work on audio for me :D

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  11. Aww! I love that first quote. It sounds like such a wonderful read, Maja and it says a lot about an author's ability when children and adults alike can learn something from a children's books. I will make sure to recommend this to my friend's daughter.
    Lovely review, Maja!

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  12. Great review, Maja! Now I have another book to give to the bf's niece for Xmas!

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  13. This sounds fab! I really like the way she wrote. You picked some great quotes and it just shows the flavor of a book like this. Oh I don't know if I could get my cousins to do audio, but I do know they travel a bit and it might be perfect. If not, I'll tell them to do the print book (and not before I read it!).

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  14. I love audio books when the narrator is good. This sounds like such a lovely and peculiar story! What a wonderful idea to have it playing on a long car trip for kids. Those quotes are beautiful. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

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  15. This sounds fantastic! I am always on the hunt for great books to share with my daughter so I am adding this to my kids' pinterest board so I won't forget!

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  16. Oh this sounds perfect! I love, love, love books like this and the narration sounds fantastic! I'm adding this to the list immediately!

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  17. Great review Maja, sounds like a fantastic book. I'll definetly be checking this out for my kids. I love that cover too, with the big moon in the background. Very nice.

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  18. Amazing review Maja! I remember doing fun long car rides as a kid listening to an excellent audiobook! (Creepy book aka Door to December by dean kootz) so I'm always looking for another captivating voice. I like unique characters and there is nothing better than a book focused on family.

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  19. This book sounds so wonderful, Maja. I've never heard about it before so I'm definitely adding it to my TBR.

    Great review!

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  20. Wow... beautiful review <3 I am so glad you found this book amazing. I am really going to have to check it out. It does sound worth it.

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  21. This sounds completely wonderful, Maja! I'm sure I've come across this title a few times before, though I don't think I actually knew what it was about until now. I'm already falling in love with the sound of Sophie and the writing. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  22. Wow, wonderful review. This sounds fantastic and I agree, it just seems like a classic children's novel. Thanks for sharing!

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  23. I haven't heard of this one, Maja, but it sounds like a fabulous read. I already like the character of Charles; it's rare to read a book where parents are involved but aren't trying to change their child in some way. Sophie is a very lucky girl!

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  24. This sounds like a wonderful read! It's rare that a new children's book can take on that classic feel, but when it happens it is pure magic. I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed the audio version, that's most likely the way I'll read it too. I love Nicola Barber, she always does a fantastic job narrating and doing accents. Lovely review Maja!

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