Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
First, let me start out by saying I love Veronica Mars. I didn’t watch it when it was originally on, but I own it on DVD and really enjoyed the movie (I’m just bummed I missed out on the kickstarter!). So when I heard there was a book series that picks up after the movie, I was immediately sold. AND, when I heard the first book in that series was narrated by Veronica herself, Kristen Bell, it was a given that’s how I would consume Book One.
And consume it I did. The audiobook is eight hours long, which isn’t too bad, but I sped through it in a few weeks rather than the entire month, which is how long it usually takes me to finish audiobooks. I forwent the radio in the car (even in the morning, and I love morning radio talk shows!) and when I blow dried my hair, and I couldn’t get enough.
The book is prototypical Veronica, except now that she’s a full time PI and an adult, it deals with full-blown investigations worthy of a detective novel that used to take Veronica an entire season to figure out rather than the short and easy problems students were having.
The plot is set around spring break in Neptune, when a college girl goes missing. The always incompetent Sheriff Lam botches the investigation and the media, and Veronica gets hired to solve the mystery.
It’s a typical detective investigation novel, with twists and turns and red herrings all over the place, but the thing I love the most about Veronica Mars isn’t the “mystery of the week,” which is enjoying, but I come to Veronica for Veronica herself. She’s spunky, smart, salty, arrogant, and broken, and I love her.
But I also love all the characters in Veronica Mars. If Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights is my TV husband, Keith Mars is my TV dad. The banter between the two is quippy, funny, and full of the love they have for one another. Keith’s concerns for Veronica are legitimate concerns, and yet I could feel Veronica’s struggles as if they were my own.
It doesn’t hurt that Veronica and I are very close in age (aka, the same age), so it’s easy to relate to Veronica and the personal struggles she’s going through. I’m not as cool or as snarky as she is, but I wish I was. I also don’t have the mommy issues or the boyfriend issues she has, but that I’m thankful for.
I also love all Veronica’s friends: Wallace, Mac, Logan, and Dick, and it was fun listening to Kristen Bell imitate her colleagues, which she pretty well. Overall, Bell did a really good job narrating (but, I mean, she also narrated V Mars and Gossip Girl, and was Anna in Frozen, so her narrating chops are well tuned) and listening to her as Veronica was just the icing on the cake.
I’m not sure how this book would stand up for readers not already in love with the characters and Neptune, but the story was intriguing, and I enjoyed being back in Veronica’s world a bit longer.
I am sad to note that the second audiobook in the series, Mr. Kiss and Tell, is NOT narrated by Kristen Bell, and as I can’t imagine Veronica Mars without Ms. Bell, I’ll be reading the paper version instead.