We love Kelly Link here on the 5th floor of the Penguin Random House building, and we’re excited to share our favorite short stories from her new audiobook collection, GET IN TROUBLE! (Although, truth be told, we love them all.)
Link is known for her quirky, dream-like stories that blend realistic fiction with elements of fantasy, science fiction, the supernatural, and fairy tales. She’s a widely admired short story writer that has amassed a myriad of dedicated fans, including fellow authors like Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, and Karen Russell.
Link also loves bookstores and libraries. In an interview with NPR, she said that as a girl, “I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on…I would just go to the library and sort of work my way through the shelves.” Her previous short story collections, Stranger Things Happen and Magic For Beginners even feature stories about librarians.
See what our staff has to say about our favorite stories from GET IN TROUBLE. And also scroll down to find an audio clip, full cast information, and additional rave reviews:
“My favorite, favorite story in Kelly Link’s new collection is “The New Boyfriend,” read by one of the audiobook industry’s newest narrators, Ish Klein. Not only is it a creative story on its own, but it tips its hat, in a clever and endearing way, to the current obsession with paranormal romance and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series.
In “The New Boyfriend,” Link presents a world not unlike our own, except for the fact that girls can buy and date life-size artificially intelligent robot dolls called Boyfriends. Listeners meet Immy, whose jealousy of her best friend Ainslie comes to a head when Ainslie receives a limited edition Ghost Boyfriend as a birthday present. Ainslie already has a Vampire Boyfriend and a Werewolf Boyfriend, and Immy can’t help but resent her friend for being so spoiled. When it becomes clear that Ainslie has been neglecting her Ghost Boyfriend, Immy hatches a plan to literally steal him from Ainslie’s closet and run away into the sunset with him. But since he’s a ghost, this proves to be more difficult than she expects.
While listening to the story, I was struck by Klein’s bright and youthful tone. Klein’s narration complements a story about teenage girls perfectly, capturing the excitement, impulsivity, and the undertone of insecurity that comes with adolescence and young love. This story is a brilliant example of Link’s ability to create a concept so weird and fantastical and set it in our own backyards.”
“While it’s incredibly difficult to pick a single most favorite from Kelly Link’s new short story collection, I had to land on “Origin Story,” read by Rebecca Lowman. It’s a beautiful story, comprised of a series of moments, mostly of a conversation (or a series of conversations) between two friends in a world where superhero powers appear to be commonplace: Bunnatine, whose only super power is to float, and Biscuit, who saves the world from time to time. The two friends are, at least in some way, in love. The story plays out like a small town romance which time, circumstance, and the occasional bad decision has done wrong, but the story also comes with a side window into the superhero genre. Rebecca Lowman’s narration brings with it a lovely exploration of the sentimental and nostalgic atmosphere that can be both romantic and sad. She perfectly encapsulates Bunnatine’s longing in one breath and her resentment in the next.
Bunnatine is an exceptionally wonderful character, in all her flaws. Throughout these glimpses of conversation, and of Bunnatine’s life, we learn that, like her mother before her, she seems to have been relegated to the position of forever waiting for a lost love. In her conversations with Biscuit, they speculate about which characters of other stories and fairy tales might be superheroes themselves. Link pulls off what might be described as a neat subversion of the superhero genre, while maintaining what is ultimately a brilliant story of first love.”
GET IN TROUBLE
By Kelly Link
Read by Various (see narrator list below)
Hardcover and E-book Available from Random House
Listen to a Clip:
Read by a Full Cast:
“The Summer People”… read by Grace Blewer
“I Can See Right Through You”… read by Kirby Heyborne
“Secret Identity”… read by Tara Sands
“Valley of the Girls”… read by Robbie Daymond
“Origin Story”… read by Rebecca Lowman
“The Lesson”… read by Cassandra Campbell
“The New Boyfriend”… read by Ish Klein
“Two Houses” … read by Susan Duerden
“Light” … read by Kirsten Potter
More Praise for GET IN TROUBLE
“To be sure, her stories are wonderful creations; the author has a way of concocting a unique world in each piece and drawing in the reader…the tales are imaginatively bizarre yet can be seen as allegorical representations of our own crazy modern world.”—Library Journal, starred review
“Link, well known to fantasy fans and others who enjoy the weird in fiction, has gathered nine stories bound to captivate a broad audience. Humor, outrageous concepts, and first-class world building make these stories unforgettable.”—Booklist
“These nine stories may begin in familiar territory…but they quickly draw readers into an imaginative, disturbingly ominous world of realistic fantasy and unreal reality. Link’s characters…not only get in trouble but seek trouble out—to spectacular effect.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review