Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 6 hours, 17 minutes
Christmas Kitsch is one of my favorites in Amy Lane’s incredibly impressive catalog of books. When it first came out, I gave it five stars and it made my Best of 2013 list. This is the book for which I invented the Amy Lane Rule (I just tell you “It’s Amy Lane, bitches” and you all nod sagely and say, “That’s all I need to know”). So I was thrilled when this one was released in audio so I could experience the book again. And I am delighted to say I adored it just as much, if not more, in audio format.
So let’s start with the story itself. In a nutshell, it is a friends to lovers tale featuring two young guys who meet in high school. Rusty is our narrator and he is sweet and has the biggest heart in the world, but he is also not the sharpest pencil in the box either. It takes him a while to figure out that is really in love with his friend Oliver. And things aren’t helped by parents who try to control his life. But once he figures out who he is and what he wants, oh are these guys so amazing together. This is such a wonderful young love story about two guys who are figuring out what they want out of life, and realizing what they want most is each other. It is beautiful and romantic and sexy. Rusty and Oliver are so sweet and earnest and wonderful, it makes my heart melt and fill with joy at the same time. If you haven’t read the story, I’ll send you over to my original review where you can get all the details on the book, as well as more thoughts on the story itself.
So sometimes an audiobook is pretty much just someone reading the story out loud. And that can be good, if you are a fan like me of “reading” while you are doing other things. But sometimes I come across an audiobook that elevates the story so much, it amplifies the experience of reading beyond just what is written on the page, and truly that is how I felt listening to Nick J. Russo’s narration. Like I said, I already thought this book was amazing having read it. But listening took things to just another level. Russo captures these characters so well and completely brings them to life. They are all distinct and just perfectly done, even the more tricky voices, like Oliver and his family’s Spanish accents and the female characters. The voices had such depth and added such warmth to the story. The tone is just right, the pacing excellent, and it really brings the book to life. I know I am gushing, but honestly this is one of the best narrations I have ever heard. Everything about it just worked for me, and I would urge you all to give it a try.
It is always exciting when a book you remember fondly turns out to be just as good (and in this case maybe even better) than you remember. I just adored Christmas Kitsch and can’t recommend the story or the audio more highly.