The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as Told to His Brother)

Listening Library. Feb. 2021. 355p. $50. ISBN 9781984885531.
Gr 4-7–When 12-year-old Aidan disappears one day, his family, friends, and indeed the whole town are thrown into turmoil. Search parties, police interrogations, and family tensions ensue. Lucas, his 11-year-old brother, is particularly affected, and when he finds Aidan alive and well in their attic six days later (in a place that had been searched multiple times), the mystery of where Aidan had been intensifies. Aidan’s claim that he entered a fantasy world called Aveinieu through a dresser in the attic is greeted with skepticism and disbelief. Only Lucas tends to believe his tale. Everette Plen narrates the audiobook in an expressive way from the perspective of Lucas in the first person. He captures Lucas’s anxiety and confusion while Aidan is missing, reading in a clipped manner. There is little role differentiation; rather than performing unique voices for the characters, Plen treats the book as a read-aloud. Listeners waiting for action sequences or details of the fantasy world Aveinieu will be disappointed, as the audio focuses more on the believability of Aidan’s tale and the relationship between the brothers.
VERDICT This audio may appeal to more reflective listeners but in most cases should be treated as an additional purchase.

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