How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson – Audiobook Review

How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson, narrated by Renee Raudman
Published in Audio by Tantor Audio
Published in Print by Plue, an imprint of Penguin


Carley Wells doesn’t have a whole lot going for her. She’s heavy, not particularly good at school, and not exactly popular in rich and chic Fox Glen. Eager to make her shine for her 16th birthday: they are going to commission an author to write a novel to coordinate with her birthday party theme. The author, Bree McEnroy, has been tasked with writing a book that Carley will love, but as Carley doesn’t think much of books and reading, this may be a more difficult commission than Bree bargained for. Hunter Kay is another complicating factor. As Carley’s best friend and a huge fan of the written word he initially spends a good deal of time helping Bree and Carley’s creative process along, but it becomes increasingly apparent that Hunter’s use of alcohol and prescription drugs is a much bigger problem than he wants to let on – a revelation that has great impact on all of the people around him.

Thoughts on the story:

I am completely amazed that I didn’t absolutely hate each and every character. Everyone, with the exception of the author, Bree McEnroy, had entirely too much money for his or her own good, to the point where frivolous purchasing what the name of the game. I mean, for pete’s sake, Carley’s parents basically bought her a novelist in order to impress their friends and make her look better for colleges. What could be more ridiculous than that? Then there’s the fact that the only things most of the kids in Fox Glen seemed to care about were drugs and sex – maybe being popular and fitting in as well. Really, not much could sound less appealing to me.

And yet, Egan Gibson managed to humanize her main characters to a degree I would not expect, given their most prominent qualities. In fact, I was really impressed with how, not only did I not completely hate the characters, I actually felt sympathy for most of them. And that’s really saying something, because ‘poor little rich girl’ doesn’t usually elicit much sympathy from me. That, in my opinion, is an impressive quality in an author.

Thoughts on the audio production:

I very much enjoyed Renee Raudman’s work narrating “How to Buy a Love of Reading.” I thought that she was well cast in the part, and she gave both life and depth to her characters. And, praises be, she did not interpret them as whiny, as she might have most annoyingly done. Her narration certainly helped keep Egan Gibson’s characters in the realm of surprisingly sympathetic, instead of simply obnoxious spoiled brats.


I was definitely nervous during the first part of this book that I was going to hate the characters so much that I wouldn’t be able to finish it, but I was pleasantly surprised by the depth introduced by Egan Gibson and the way that Raudman’s narration supported the story. Recommended.

Note: although the chief protagonist of the story is a high school girl, “How to Buy a Love of Reading” doesn’t come across as a YA book. I believe that adults, as well as older teens, would enjoy this story.

The audiobook has a similar cover design as the hardcover, but “How to Buy a Love of Reading” was recently released in paperback, with this new cover.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound: Audio
Amazon: Audio

This review was done with a book received from the Tantor audio.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

13 comments to How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson – Audiobook Review

  • I’m glad to see the characters are sympathetic even though they’re disgustingly rich. I look forward to reading this book!

  • I read the print version, and really enjoyed it. You’re right, it’s amazing that I didn’t hate all the characters, but Tanya Egan Gibson did a great job.

  • Jen-Girls Gone Reading

    I completely agree with you, and I think I said something similar in my review. You think-Oh No, these people are the worst, but somehow you care about them. I was really impressed. Glad you like it!

  • OK, I’ll give it a second try. I gave it up about 1/4 in, because I was just finding the characters flat and unpleasant…

    • That is probably roughly where I was wondering if I was going to have to give it up. I thought that they really grew by the midpoint, and continued to do so until the end.

  • I give a nod to the narrator, who could have sealed the deal for you and your investment in the characters. It sounds like it would have been easy to interpret the characters in a negative way.

  • Just saw this promoted by Tantor on Twitter…looks just perfect for where I’m at after The Resurrectionist. Thanks, Jen!

    –Xe Sands

  • Good to hear! I just started this one last night so I am relieved to hear this :)

  • Thanks for the review! I am always on the lookout for good audiobooks, especially when the narrator is mentioned specifically. The person reading the story can really make it or break it for me. I’ve been eying this book, wondering how it is. Maybe I’ll give the audio a go!

  • I’ll have to consider this in audio — I was hesitant to read this because I was afraid I’d hate all the characters too! You’ve changed my mind.

  • I just received this from the author not too long ago. I was excited about it, until I saw how long the book was and how small the type! Perhaps I should listen instead? I’m intrigued by your reaction to the characters!

  • Oh my. Just got through this and it affected me so much more than I thought it would. It was an excruciating read, and so tragic in almost every way. I found the life lived by most of the teens in the book a bit tough to believe, but then again, I have no clue what uber-wealthy Long Island teens actually experience…still, the themes presented by Gibson are so applicable to teen experience across the board: wanting desperately to fit in, seeking acceptance from our parents, struggles with the pressure of expectations, body image issues, drugs, etc. Thanks for the great recommendation!

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