Audiobook Review: The Starving Years by Jordan Castillo Price, Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Imagine a world without hunger. In 1960, a superfood was invented that made starvation a thing of the past. Manna, the cheaply manufactured staple food, is now as ubiquitous as salt in the world’s cupboards, pantries and larders.

Nelson Oliver knows plenty about manna. He’s a food scientist—according to his diploma, that is. Lately, he’s been running the register at the local video rental dive to scrape together the cash for his exorbitantly priced migraine medication.

In a job fair gone bad, Nelson hooks up with copywriter Javier and his computer-geek pal Tim, who whisks them away from the worst of the fiasco in his repurposed moving truck. At least, Nelson thinks those two are acquainted, but they’re acting so evasive about it, he’s not sure how they know each other, exactly. Javier is impervious to Nelson’s flirting, and Tim’s name could appear in the dictionary under the entry for “awkward.” And with a riot raging through Manhattan and yet another headache coming on, it doesn’t seem like Nelson will get an answer anytime soon. One thing’s for sure, the tension between the three of them is thick enough to cut with a knife...even one of those dull plastic dealies that come in the package with Mannariffic EZ-Mealz.

Some things just go together  - ice cream and jelly, gin and juice, Derek and Stiles, and Jordan Castillo Price and Gomez Pugh. Her words and his narration are magical together. MAGICAL. And there is nothing more that this unicorn likes more than magic. Gomez Pugh is definitely one of my favourite narrators. He doesn't just read the book he becomes the characters. So, so, good.

I'm a verified JCP fangirl - which makes me oddly nervous when I pick up a new (to me) story of hers. I mean what if this is the one I don't like???

Yeah. Like that's going to happen.

I mean the five big blue hearts at the top of the review kinda gives it away that I loved this story, so I'm not surprising anyone by proclaiming the love I have for it. Right???

With JCP's trademark intriguing characters, sharp humour and well written plot  I was hooked from beginning to end. I loved how Nelson, Tim and Javier were so different and how they gelled so well together. Nelson was perhaps my favourite. Perhaps. I loved his observations, his sarcastic good guy persona and the hero he denies he is. He's a genuine good guy who does the right thing precisely because it is the right thing. He does it without turning into an obnoxious twat though, laid back and cool precisely because he doesn't try to be. I loved him. To me he was the main character, with Javier and Tim close seconds.

Javier's suspicious nature and Tim's almost naivety were perfect counterbalances to Nelson. The plot unraveled well in a world that is close to ours but not quite the one we know. In a riot stricken city where lives are in danger these three, and the two others who ends up in the chaos with them, work so well together. I liked the familiarity of the world and the way JCP twists it just a little.  

Then there's the relationship(s). Menage doesn't always work. Or it becomes a three way mess of sex, sex, sex. JCP does so much better than turning their relationship into a just there for the shagging thing. There is mistrust - genuine, not manufactured for the state of it - lust, feels, uncertainty and raw emotion. Simply put, for me she nails it completely. My only complaint is that I could read (or listen to, as the case was here) so much more about these guys. 

 A great story from a great author.
A copy of this audiobook was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

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