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Interview: ‘The Final Revival of Opal & Nev’ is the Fictional Oral History You Have to Hear

'I always thought it was so cool, the way memories played with each other.'
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  • The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
  • 'I always thought it was so cool, the way memories played with each other.'

Publisher's Summary

A Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show Summer Reads Selection

An electrifying novel about the meteoric rise of an iconic interracial rock duo in the 1970s, their sensational breakup, and the dark secrets unearthed when they try to reunite decades later for one last tour.

A Good Morning America Buzz Pick

Named a Best Book of 2021 by Esquire and Entertainment Weekly

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by * Oprah Daily * Vogue * Elle * The Washington Post * Entertainment Weekly * Essence * PopSugar * Bookriot * Goodreads * Literary Hub * Parade * MS. Magazine * The Millions *

“Feels truer and more mesmerizing than some true stories. It’s a packed time capsule that doubles as a stick of dynamite.” (The New York Times Book Review)

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job - despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.

In early '70s New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially Black women, who dare to speak their truth.

Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.

Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.

©2021 Dawnie Walton. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Featured Article: Hit the Open Highway with the Best Road Trip Listens to Hear This Summer


In theory, any audiobook, audio performance, or podcast can be listened to in the car, but it takes more than great storytelling to be the right fit for every type of road trip. What works for a cross-country adventure may not be quite right for a quick day trip. What you listen to with your significant other may not be (read: is definitely not) the same as what you listen to with a carload of kids. No matter what kind of journey you have coming up, we’ve got you covered.

What listeners say about The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Outstanding and timely

I almost gave up on this. The start was slow and I wasn’t crazy about the interview format. I kept listening because my daughter told me it was the best book she’d heard in a very long time. She is absolutely right. This book and the narrators are seriously good. I even came to appreciate the format. It’s well worth a credit.

9 people found this helpful

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My favorite audio book I've listened to!

The story is absolutely captivating- Opal & Nev are so seamlessly sewn into the rock & roll scene that you forget they are a fictional band. The full cast is fantastic, & the story brought up so many great points about racial injustice & white privilege & saviors. A definite must read!

4 people found this helpful

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Hard to believe this is fiction

Although I found it difficult to stay present for every word (occasionally the content seemed.unnecessarily detailed),this is an awesome story that I repeatedly had to remind myself was fiction. The format was unique and engaging, and the performance was superb! I am so glad I chose the audio version and I highly recommend it to others.

3 people found this helpful

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As good as advertised

This the single best audiobook I have listened to all year and I have heard more than 100 already. The narration in this full cast production is picture perfect, while the story is both timely and captivating. I give this 5/5 stars.

2 people found this helpful

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Can't wait for greatest hits release!

wonderfully entertaining. well written and the narrators were excellent. love the detail given to Opal's "amor". don't want to write more, fearing I'll soil the read for others

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing!!!

Absolutely loved this book from start to finish! Listened while I read along. All narrators were excellent!

1 person found this helpful

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LOVED the full cast

Listening to this audiobook with the full cast was so amazing, it was like listening to a play, infinitely better than one person boringly reading a book aloud, or worse: one person using fake voices to play various characters. This was the first book that I truly felt that the money that I pay for audible is worth it.

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My favorite Audiobook of the year!

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev is hands down the best audiobook I’ve listened to this year, and possibly of all time. Thought-provoking and engaging story, innovative structure, terrific characters and phenomenal performances by the full cast. I have been recommending it to everyone one I know.

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Never took off

I kept waiting for it to get good. I loved Daisy Jones and the Six and The Songbook of Benny Lament. I was hoping for another winner like those. Nope. It just never made me feel anything. Granted, I only made about a 1/3 of the way through. If you can't grab me in the first 4 hrs, I don't owe you the last 9.

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Fun story sheds light on important issues

Important issues of our time are encapsulated in an entertaining and empowering story. The author is clearly well-versed in music, history, racial and gender struggles and she brings them all together in such a believable way that you want to search the internet for the music and pictures.
The performances were well done; I think it would have been difficult to keep the characters straight in the print version & the voices brought the story to life.