Narrator: Jenna Lamia
Length: 4 Hours 41 Minutes
Published by Simon and Schuster on December 21st 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Friendship
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HOW HAD MRS. OLINSKI CHOSEN her sixth-grade Academic Bowl team? She had a number of answers. But were any of them true? How had she really chosen Noah and Nadia and Ethan and Julian? And why did they make such a good team? It was a surprise to a lot of people when Mrs. Olinski's team won the sixth-grade Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School. It was an even bigger surprise when they beat the seventh grade and the eighth grade, too. And when they went on to even greater victories, everyone began to ask: How did it happen? It happened at least partly because Noah had been the best man (quite by accident) at the wedding of Ethan's grandmother and Nadia's grandfather. It happened because Nadia discovered that she could not let a lot of baby turtles die. It happened when Ethan could not let Julian face disaster alone. And it happened because Julian valued something important in himself and saw in the other three something he also valued. Mrs. Olinski, returning to teaching after having been injured in an automobile accident, found that her Academic Bowl team became her answer to finding confidence and success. What she did not know, at least at first, was that her team knew more than she did the answer to why they had been chosen. This is a tale about a team, a class, a school, a series of contests and, set in the midst of this, four jewel-like short stories -- one for each of the team members -- that ask questions and demonstrate surprising answers.
I love reading award winning books. There’s something that is quite gratifying about reading a book of verified quality. When I saw the Newbery Award winning The View From Saturday by EL Konigsburg in the Audible $5 sale, I immediately snapped it up. One of the other main reasons being that it is set mostly in Upstate NY (whoop whoop). The final reason for purchasing being that one of the narrators is Jenna Lamia, who typically delivers a stellar performance.
Frankly, The View From Saturday by EL Konigsburg did not disappoint. I found the quality of the story to be what I would consider Newbery caliber. The plot of The View From Saturday centers around four sixth graders who are members of the Academic Bowl Team and their paraplegic teacher, Mrs. Olinski. There’s basically five narratives, four of which center on Noah, Nadia, Ethan and Julian in that order and the life changing, turning point where an event shows their true character and turns the kid into the sort of person who would qualify for ‘The Souls’, a secret club the four kids form. It’s kind of hard to explain. The fifth narrative is the wider, framing story which takes place at the Academic Bowl competition and also shows why Mrs. Olinski picked the four Souls to be her Academic Bowl team.
I loved the structure of The View From Saturday. I thought the multiple points of views kept the story fresh and actually worked for the context of the story. Once we finished with one person’s plot line, it went to the larger framework point of view, then to the next person’s point of view, without returning to a previous person’s narrative. I know I made that seem super confusing, but trust. It was a great way to showcase the moral and tell the story.
I listened to the audio book version of The View From Saturday that was produced by Simon & Schuster Audio. It is 4 hours and 41 minutes unabridged. The book has dual narrators in Jenna Lamia and Jan Maxwell. Jan Maxwell narrated the larger framework plot line at the quiz bowl. Her voice is soothing and professional with the right touch of emotion. Jenna Lamia continues to sparkle as a narrator and provides distinctive voicing for the four Souls. For a good story, a great message and a wonderful listen check out The View From Saturday by EL Konigsburg.
Disclosure: Purchased copy with my own cashmoney.
Other reviews of The View From Saturday by EL Konigsburg:
Second Childhood Reviews – “a cleverly put together combination of present action and flashback”
The Best Little Bookshelf In Texas – “Read it! Revisit it!”
Nose In A Book – “a charming book about what really makes a team.”