AUDIO: Losers Bracket by Chris Crutcher

Review published on April 17, 2018.

A ‘mad as a bucket of frogs’ family, a fostered daughter struggling with loyalties, and a missing boy…

Annie has the maddest birth family I think I’ve ever read about, the sort you see on TV but pray doesn’t really exist. Put through the system so many times, they KNOW the answers to the parenting tests, yet Annie was regularly removed into foster care. And now her nephew is in the same situation with her sister Sheila.

Now in a secure foster family, Annie is nearly through high school, she’s part of some sports groups, a teenage book club at her local library and hoping for a scholarship to college. She keeps getting sucked back into her birth family’s dramas though – you can see she has real unshakeable feelings for them, despite past neglect – and it also causes friction in her new family (a part I wasn’t as keen on or felt particularly realistic).

This was a short read, with a strong voice in Annie, who is pretty matter of fact about her unconventional history and relatives, and a rather shocking story about abduction in the second half. I found little Frankie rather annoying, but that might be the voice put on for his by the Audible narrator I listened to, his speech patterns are meant to sound stunted and immature, but here they sounded whiny and too like a baby.

The book works well on audiobook, with the first person narrator talking to us, and a plot with scenes at a book club of internalising teens, a crazy family and its never-ending spiralling problems, and Annie’s coaching sessions she just wants her birth mother to turn up and watch.

Easy to listen to, I really enjoyed Annie’s story, with a cast of eccentric/memorable characters and equally bizarre happenings.

Older teenagers might like this, aged 13+.

Katy Noyes 4/4

Losers Bracket by Chris Crutcher
HarperAudio B079G9NM17 audiobook Apr 2018

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