A Wild Ride of Self-Discovery

4 out of 5 stars

An Otherwise Perfect Plan by Ken Schafer, narrated by the talented Renee Cannon, is an absolute gem that I stumbled upon, and I couldn’t be happier that I did. The story follows Gwen Pendergrass, a quirky and fiercely intelligent sixteen-year-old, on her quest to uncover the mystery of her mystery man of a father. Gwen’s journey is filled with humor, heartfelt moments, and a healthy dose of teenage angst, making it a delightful and relatable young adult novel.

From the moment I started listening, I was hooked by Gwen’s witty narration. Renee Cannon does an incredible job bringing Gwen to life, capturing her sarcastic humor and emotional depth with ease. Gwen’s character is one that many of us can relate to – dealing with the ups and downs of adolescence, the pressure of school assignments, and the complexities of family dynamics. The assignment to write about her earliest memory of her father, who she’s never met, sets off a chain of hilarious and heart-wrenching events.

One of the aspects I loved most about this audiobook is how it encapsulates the feeling of “everything is the biggest and worst thing ever” that is so prevalent during the teenage years. Schafer masterfully creates a sense of impending doom over something as simple as a school paper, making it feel like the end of the world for Gwen. The subplot around her budding romance adds just the right amount of levity and drama, making me root for Gwen even more. I found myself laughing, crying, and experiencing all the emotions right alongside her.

The narration truly shines throughout the book, with Renee Cannon becoming Gwen in every way. However, I must mention a couple of moments near the end where the audio paused for over 10 seconds, which pulled me out of the story briefly. Despite this minor hiccup, the overall experience was thoroughly enjoyable.

Ken Schafer has crafted a complete world, with subplots that add richness and depth to Gwen’s story. From her best friend Peter to her mom’s mysterious past, each character and storyline contributes to the overarching theme of self-discovery and the lengths we go to for those we love.

Overall,I enjoyed An Otherwise Perfect Plan. If you enjoy a good coming-of-age story filled with humor, heart, and a dash of mystery, this book is for you. Despite a few technical glitches, the audiobook’s engaging narration and compelling storyline make it a memorable experience.

Book Description:

An Otherwise Perfect Plan is a fiercely intelligent, introspective, and laugh-out-loud funny young adult novel of self-discovery, narrated by a quirky teenage girl as she embarks on an unpredictable and often hilarious quest to find the father she’s never known, unravel the mystery of her mom’s silence on the subject, and achieve the impossible: actually understanding her own unruly emotions.

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Gwen Pendergrass has a problem.

Well, a whole bunch if you really want to start counting, but then again, what sixteen-year-old doesn’t?

Her latest is an assignment in English class to write a paper on her earliest memory of her father, only she’s got zip. Nada. Absolutely none at all.

She strongly suspects this is due to never having actually met the man. In fact, the only presence he’s had in her life is as a face in a strip of photobooth photos taken in Las Vegas during “The Weekend She Was Made” (ew….!) In them, he and her mom look really happy, and kind of drunk, which Gwen figures explains a lot. Or, if not a lot, at least her birth nine months later.

Aside from showing her the photo strip, Gwen’s Mom has flat out refused to tell Gwen anything about him, not even his name, leaving Gwen with an enduring mystery that she’s worried like a loose tooth. Though without the shiny dollar coin that the tooth would bring at the end.

All this changes when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to alter the course of their lives falls into Gwen’s mom’s lap. But nothing is ever simple with Gwen, and she has to rope her best friend Peter into a wild, Hail Mary of a plan to find her long-lost dad to ensure that nothing stands in the way of her mom reclaiming her future.

What could possibly go wrong?

Turns out, just about everything, and she soon finds herself racing against time to succeed before her mom figures out what she’s doing, her head explodes, or it all spirals completely out of control.

four-stars
An Otherwise Perfect Plan by Ken Schafer
Narrator: Renee Cannon
Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
Published by Moon Jumper Press on April 10th 2024
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
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four-stars
Brian

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