The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (2015), narrated by Lauren Fortgang
Despite living in such a magical place, Hazel and Ben are regular high school kids. They have crushes and text their friends and defy their parents. They also know the rules for attending a faerie revelry, have seen tourists murdered in ways that can only be magical, and their friend Jack is a changeling. So, you know, things can get weird. The same night the horned boy's coffin is broken open, a local girl is found almost dead, her mouth full of dirt. Hazel and Ben set out to find out what happened and try and set things right.
I love the cover art, and I will admit it is a large part of the reason I read the book (despite the fact I listened to the audio and barely saw the cover). This really wasn't my kind of story - I mean, faeries? Especially faeries with an 'e'? No, thank you. But because it was Holly Black, and because I so enjoyed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown even though it was about vampires, I thought it was worth trying.
The story was good, though as with many books I listen to I think it would have been better for me in print. But I got the gist of it despite my attention-span problems, and I liked Hazel and Ben and Jack and even the horned boy. I liked that it was magical and modern at once.
Some of the narration left a bit to be desired - a few of the male voices sounded forced and fake - but otherwise Fortgang did an excellent job. Her strong voice seemed just right to capture Hazel's personality.
All in all, it was enjoyable enough but didn't really grab me. I have nothing bad to say about it, but it simply wasn't the best choice for me. This wasn't a book that made me excited to listen to the next chapter, but I think people who like books about magical folk would have a different experience. The Goodreads rating is one of the highest for Black's books, higher even than The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Although I didn't love it, I will likely try other books by Holly Black, but I'll stick to ones that sound more my speed.