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Publisher's Summary

Velva Jean Hart, the fiercely independent heroine of Jennifer Niven's spectacular debut novel, Velva Jean Learns to Drive, returns in a captivating adventure that literally sends her soaring. Bristling at the limitations faced by a woman in rural Appalachia and fueled by the memory of her late Mama telling her to "live out there," Velva Jean hits the road to pursue her dream of singing at the Grand Ole Opry. But after a string of auditions, she begins to lose hope - until her brother pays her a surprise visit and treats Velva Jean to a flying lesson that ignites a brand-new dream: to become a female pilot. Funny, poignant, and utterly unforgettable, Velva Jean Learns to Fly will have fans cheering all over again.

©2011 Jennifer Niven (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Besides creating a gutsy heroine, who, despite the repressive times, never becomes bitter, Niven's writing shines overall. Cheers to Niven, Velva Jean." ( Booklist)

What listeners say about Velva Jean Learns to Fly

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance
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Story
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I wish Jenna Lamia had narrated the entire series.

What did you like about this audiobook?

Great story and characters

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

Yes

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

Lots of detail on my hometown, Nashville. Love the characters!

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

Not a bad narrator, but Jenna Lamia was better.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Why change the reader?

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I liked the way Jenna Lemia read the first book in the series, and I felt like I was now a part of Velva Jean's family, rooting for her so much that I wanted to hear her next adventure, but this the new reader (Emily Durante) was so different, I was very disappointed. I felt as if my baby was switched at the hospital. The book is so well written, but the new reader obviously hadn't read the first book and didn't know the story line, so her interpretation was flat. Bummer.Regarding the story, I loved it, but I felt at one point, there was a forced event - when Gossy ended up on the same plane Velva Jean was piloting into history. The story didn't need it and I didn't buy it for a second that Gossy would put up with the military and vice versa. Also, the way it ended makes me feel that there's so many loose ends, there's gotta be another book soon.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Velva Jean Learns to Fly?

I love the way Jennifer Niven weaves a tale. I also like the way she's paints the landscape of discrimination, prejudice and how women were (are) treated. Good for Velva Jean!

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Emily Durante?

Jenna Lamia.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enthralling!

If you enjoyed Velva Jean Learns to Drive you are in for a treat. This book is even better. I can't wait for the next one. Hope the author doesn't make me wait to long. I am dying to know what happens next.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another great story by Jennifer Niven!

Forget all the negative reviews about the narrator change. After the first couple of chapters I got use to Emily Durante and she did a good job (of course there is no one like Jenna Lamia). This book is rich in history about the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) a civilian women pilots' organization, whose members were United States federal civil service employees. Members of WASP became trained pilots who tested aircraft, ferried aircraft, and trained other pilots. Their purpose was to free male pilots for combat roles during World War II. This was a great story and I learned so much I didn't know.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

took awhile to adjust to the new narrator.

I still enjoyed the book but missed the original reader. will look for more Velva Jean books

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I LOVED this book!!!

I really liked Velva Jean Learns to Drive, but I LOVED this sequel. I found the first book to be very entertaining and it was enjoyable to learn about a girl growing up living a very sheltered life, but, in this book, that little girl has finally spread her wings and she is learning that she can do anything. I did not know there was a 3rd and 4th novel in this series, so when it ended, I was crushed...but imagine my surprise when I learned the next book, Becoming Clementine was available to download! I am so glad I started this series - I can honestly say this book inspired me.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Sad and disappointed by the reader

I loved the book, Velva Jean Learns to Drive, and I loved the reader. She did a wonderful job maintaining different voices for each character. I felt like I was right there on Fair Mountain.

I was excited and looked forward to Velva Jean Learns to Fly. Sadly, a different reader was chosen for this book. She doesn't have a southern accent and is not at all consistent in the voice she uses for Velva Jean, and barely manages to differentiate the other characters. Sorry, Emily, it's nothing personal, I am sure you are a very nice person!

It's hard to rate the story because I am so disappointed in the performance.

I'll be returning this book and hope that Becoming Clementine has an engaging reader.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Moving and Heartfelt

If you could sum up Velva Jean Learns to Fly in three words, what would they be?

Moving, Heartfelt, Emotional

What was one of the most memorable moments of Velva Jean Learns to Fly?

The moment she knew what "Beyond the Keep" really meant.

What about Emily Durante’s performance did you like?

She has a pleasant Southern Drawl and kept the story lively.

If you could take any character from Velva Jean Learns to Fly out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Velva Jean, I want to hear more stores about the WASP's

Any additional comments?

At the end of the book there was a narritive on the WASP program telling of it's many victories and faults. This made the book come to life and left me thinking about the times during WWII and the women who joined in our fight to freedom.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

VJ still adventuring!

Originally I had read "Being Clementine" before I knew about the first 2 books. But it wasn't a problem going back to read and catch-up, except she would refer to something in her youth she expected you to know. Not to worry, VJ explained things in a way a child does and you move forward. I am glad I went back and picked up on who she had been. It finishes painting the "Big Picture".

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A must-read after Velva Jean Learns to Drive

Having just finished Velva Jeans Learns to Drive, read by my favorite narrator Jenna Lamia, I was very skeptic about switching to a different narrator. After the initial shock of a different voice, I have to say that Emily Durante did a very good job. So if you're apprehensive about the switch in narration - don't be. This book is still an excellent listen.

1 person found this helpful