Scott, Savannah. Friendshipped (Get Shipped! #1). Dreamscape Audio, 2022. Unabridged. 8 Hours, 58 Minutes. ISBN 9781666624458 $48.99
I don’t listen to a lot of audio books, but decided for a change of pace to try this one, very admirably narrated by voice actors Amy McFadden and Will Damron. Ohio natives Lexi and Trevor grew up down the street from one another, work for the same newspaper, and now share a duplex. They have been best friends forever, with two failed attempts by Trevor (once in high school, once in college) to move their relationship out of the Friend Zone. The relationship hasn’t evolved or fizzled because they are each secretly in love with one another, and so convinced the other doesn’t feel the same, neither will take the risk of rejection or destroying their friendship. This sophomoric behavior and refusal to communicate is the central tension of this friends to lovers romance.
As a gentle read, with warm family and community relationships, expletives limited to “Oh my sweet pickles!” and no admittance of sex, this is a real throwback. Not even the threat of a tornado and just!one!bed! trope disrupts their ethos to not ruin their friendship. In spite of the dating app that brings several duds to Lexi, and that Trevor hops on to connect with Lexi at a friends insistence, this could have been set anytime in the last thirty years except for a few modern musical and Hollywood references. Lexi at times seems immature for her almost-23 years, and at other times, matronly and chaste. Trevor speaks with great sensitivity all the time and the wholesome of the characters was warm and sweet but not always believable. Overall, this slow burn was too painfully slow for me.
The voice actors are both very talented but I found Lexi’s midwestern twang seasoned with a hint of valley girl (attributed to her youth, and identifiable from her more polished mother and sister and aged MeMaw) to be mildly annoying and more Minnesota than Ohio. The commitment to a new distinctive voice for each character introduced is impressive and consistent, and the accents are authentic enough (although my mother’s Columbus relatives hard R’s are softened by a faint West Virginian drawl). This sweet story will be widely appealing to readers looking for a kind and cozy story.
I received a free advance reader’s edition of #Friend(Shipped) from #NetGalley