Marlena (audiobook)

Read by Emma Galvin
9.6 hrs • 9 CDs• 1 MP3 CD • Unabridged
Target Audience: Adult
Release Date: 04/18/17
Library CD Library Edition CD titles are packaged in an attractive, full-sized, durable vinyl case with full color art. Cloth Sleeves keep compact discs protected and in numerical order. 
- 04/18/17 9781504777520
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MP3 CD MP3-CDs: Come in a durable vinyl case similar to a dvd case. An index of contents and tracking information are included within the Mp3-CD format. MP3's can be played on any compatible CD player 
- 04/18/17 9781504777544
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Playaway Playaway: Playaway editions are a pre loaded audio device that is half the size of deck of cards. Simply plugin headphones and listen. 
- 04/18/17 9781538424728
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An Oprah’s Book Club Selection

Winner of a Michigan Notable Book Award for 2018

A Washington Post Notable Book for 2017

Esquire Magazine Best Book of the Year So Far

An Elle Magazine Pick of 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017

A Huffington Post Best Book of 2017

A Vogue Best Book of 2017

An Entertainment Weekly Best Book of 2017's debut novels

Finalist for the John Leonard Prize

An NPR Best Book of 2017

One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2017

A 2017 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year selection

A Barnes & Noble Discover Award Winner

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for April 2017

A Nylon Magazine Pick

An Indie Next List Selection

A 2017 Buzzfeed Best Books of the Year selection

A BookPage Book of the Day Selection

An electric debut novel about love, addiction, and loss; the story of two girls and the feral year that will cost one her life, and define the other’s for decades

Everything about fifteen-year-old Cat’s new town in rural Michigan is lonely and off-kilter, until she meets her neighbor, the manic, beautiful, pill-popping Marlena. Cat, inexperienced and desperate for connection, is quickly lured into Marlena’s orbit by little more than an arched eyebrow and a shake of white-blond hair.

As the two girls turn the untamed landscape of their desolate small town into a kind of playground, Cat catalogues a litany of firsts—first drink, first cigarette, first kiss—while Marlena’s habits harden and calcify. Within the year, Marlena is dead, drowned in six inches of icy water in the woods nearby.

Now, decades later, when a ghost from that pivotal year surfaces unexpectedly, Cat must try to forgive herself and move on, even as the memory of Marlena keeps her tangled in the past.

Alive with an urgent, unshakable tenderness, Julie Buntin’s Marlena is an unforgettable look at the people who shape us beyond reason and the ways it might be possible to pull oneself back from the brink.

Review Quotes

“Narrator Emma Galvin brings a slightly gritty yet vulnerable-sounding voice to the main character in this audiobook…a haunting yet tender story of growing up.”


“A novel of deep and exquisite intelligence, humor, and riveting sensitivity.”

Lorrie Moore, New York Times bestselling author

“Captures that unique moment at the precipice of adulthood with emotional honesty and insight.”

Jonathan Safran Foer, New York Times bestselling author

"[A] dark, gorgeously written story.”

Entertainment Weekly

“In this icy and accomplished first novel, the intoxicating friendship between an inexperienced loner and her manic, wild-child neighbor continues to exert an irresistible pull on our narrator decades later.”

O, The Oprah Magazine

“Perfectly capture[s] the thrill of what it’s like to become best friends with the beautiful girl from the wrong crowd…[and is] one of the most sensitive portrayals of a Midwestern town struggling with poverty, drugs, and restlessness.”


“The telling is so intimate that one can miss, at first, that Marlena is addicted to the pills she carries around…The book is ostensibly about friendship and the indelible mark the troubled Marlena left on Cat, but it is also a quiet, powerful look at addiction.”

New York Times

“The kind of coming-of-age friendship that goes beyond camaraderie, into a deeper bond that forges identity.”

New York Times Book Review

“A novel about youth―a time of splendor and squalor. Buntin make us see, hear, and feel both."

San Francisco Chronicle

“Reads nearly as compulsively as a thriller…Viscerally captures the sensations and heartaches of adolescence.”

Boston Globe

“Poignant and unforgettable.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Devastating; as unforgettable as it is gorgeous.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Buntin’s prose is emotional and immediate, and the interior lives she draws of young women and obsessive best friends are Ferrante-esque.”


“This gorgeous, assured debut captures the romance of young friendship, cutting deep with the finest touch.”

Julia Pierpont, author of Among the Ten Thousand Things

“[This] visceral, gripping novel combines humanity with a thrilling edge.”