Get Your Free Audiobook

Slow Dance in Purgatory

Purgatory, Book 1
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
Series: Purgatory, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 13 & Up
4.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

Non-member price: $43.66

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The hallways are empty, the school day long over, the din of lockers and youthful laughter have dissolved into silence. It's as if the very walls are waiting. And then through the intercom a song starts to crackle, the soundtrack of a forgotten life. And the band begins to sing: "Lovely Maggie falls for Johnny, a boy no one else can see. Heartthrob Johnny, '50s bad boy, trapped for eternity. Lonely boy and lonely girl, unsolved mystery. Maggie and Johnny, only high school sweethearts, because Johnny can't ever leave. Do wop, Do wop . . . "

In 1958, a rumble goes down outside the brand-new high school in Honeyville, Texas. Chaos ensues, a life is lost, and Johnny Kinross disappears. But in 2010, someone finds him. Orphaned at the age of 10, 17-year-old Maggie O'Bannon finally finds a permanent home with her elderly aunt in a small Texas town. Working part-time as a school janitor, she becomes enmeshed in a 50-year-old tragedy where nothing is as it seems and the boy of her dreams might vanish when the bell rings.

This volatile and mismatched romance is doomed from its start, as Maggie struggles to hold on to yet another person she is destined to lose. Secret love and hushed affection are threatened by outside forces, resulting in a desperate race to keep a secret no one would understand. Deeply romantic, funny, and tender, Slow Dance in Purgatory captures the heartache of a love story where a happy ending might be decades too late.

©2012 Amy Harmon (P)2014 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for 🎧Pam Audio-Fanatic🎧
  • 🎧Pam Audio-Fanatic🎧
  • 11-07-2019

Slow Dance

Ok, I don’t know why it took me so long to pick up this book, I have loved all of Amy’s works that I have picked up heck Making Faces is probably my all-time favorite of her books.

I went in with an open heart because I saw it was marked under Fantasy/Paranormal on Goodreads and usually fantasy and I are oil and water but I gotta say I enjoyed this book.
Maggie just sees the world differently than us, and because of that, I think she really is the one and the only one that could have done what she does for Johnny.
It’s all about faith and what you believe if you believe anything is possible right.

I loved the love story even knowing it couldn’t go anywhere. I was still sad for Chad he really likes Maggie but she just sees him as her friend. I loved how the characters are all so woven into the story.

The narration is exactly as you would want for teenagers, she really has the right voice and makes you feel a part of their world.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Got My Book
  • Got My Book
  • 29-09-2016

The Greaser & the Ghostwhisperer

A Sad, Sweet & Sassy YA Ghost Story

BOOK DETAILS:
Slow Dance in Purgatory by Amy Harmon, read by Emily Woo Zeller, published by Tantor Audio (2014) / Length: 7 hrs 27 min

SERIES INFO:
This is Book #1 of 2 in the "Purgatory" duology. Both books are available on audio.

SUMMARY:
She isn't actually a Ghost Whisper, since the ghosts she sees are mostly just echoes that don't interact with her. But she has been able to see them since she was young.

I like most everything about this one, and only wish we had gotten more of the wonderful interactions between Johnny & Maggie.

CHARACTERS:
Maggie O'Bannon: A not-too-tough former foster kid who loves to dance. She doesn't really fit in, but finally has a support system and doesn't want to lose it.

Johnny Kinross: He was a bad boy in the typical 50's sense of the word, tuff. He was never a jerk or abuser. He tried to take good care of his mother & little brother. He has matured even more after spending 50 years fading in & out and never able to go anywhere. He tries to do right by Maggie.

Maggie & Johnny: I really like this relationship despite its seemingly impossible nature. They spend time together, talk, have fun, and support each other.

I love Gus, the elderly Janitor Maggie works with.

WORLDBUILDING:
This takes place in a High School in the small town of Honeyville, Texas. There are flashbacks to the same town in the '50s. What I noticed when listening was a good sense of the colors and sounds of the time.

As for the paranormal aspect, as I said above, most ghosts are just echoes. But several incidents are related in which a ghost (besides Johnny, who isn't sure what he is) actually interacts with someone.

PLOT:
The beginning is an extremely poignant exploration of Johnny's condition - stuck, often alone, never a part of things. After that we get a flashback to how he ended up that way. The book uses quite a few flashbacks and people telling stories about what happened to explore his life before, as well as those of few other characters (who are now elderly or dead).

The ending is a kind of cliffhanger.

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
--The Chapter Headings - which are all 1950's song titles
--Maggie & Johnny make their own drive-in theater
--My favorite quote:

“Why would you even try to stay away?!” Maggie interrupted, as impassioned as he. “What did I do?”

“It’s not what YOU did! It’s what I’m doing to you!” Johnny gaped at her, incredulous.

“Maggie – if this were 1958, and none of this had ever happened, and I was just a guy and you were my girl…..I would hold on to you and never let you go,” Johnny implored huskily, “But it isn’t 1958…and I am not just a guy, in love with his girl.”


I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Moderate swearing & innuendo / Shad's crush. This relationship has enough troubles, they don't need a third wheel. / The bullying teacher (whose father was apparently also a bullying teacher). Anyone who constantly taunts a dyslexic student and sets them up to fail should be fired.

OTHER CAUTIONS: Johnny's mother is said to have been having an affair with the (married) mayor. / He made out with a teacher in order to pass her class. / Gus' daughter (Shad's mother) is a drug addicted prostitute whose behavior humiliates them.

NARRATION:
Character voices differentiated = Yes / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes, I think that Gus' voice especially suits him. And Shad's voice is teenage creaky without being annoying / Accents = This book takes place in Texas, but there aren't really any accents / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual, and it was a tiny touch slow.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for kristen blevins
  • kristen blevins
  • 10-09-2019

One of the best books I have ever read!

Amy Harmon is by far my favorite author. She can paint a picture with words and really draws you in. She writes so good and has a real understanding of human emotion. This story was exciting and kept my interest.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for anood
  • anood
  • 20-07-2019

Yeah not for me

This wasn't for me though amy harmon is one of my fav authors but this one didn't work

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Julie Anne Jones
  • Julie Anne Jones
  • 18-07-2019

Teen lit at its worst, HORRIBLE narration

I have become a HUGE Amy Harmon fan and have read 4 of her books over the past few months. I love her ability to weave unexpected twists and turns into her stories. When I read the reviews for this book, I was excited to read it.

What a HUGE disappointment. First of all, I'm not sure if this was an early book of Ms. Harmon's, before she developed her talent, but I've read teen lit books that were much more maturely written and developed than this one. The story was weak, the characters not well drawn, and the plot honestly boring until the last 20 minutes or so.

Worse than the story (unbelievably), was the narrator. I cannot believe others praised this narrator (one person even saying she was the best she'd ever heard. If that's the case, this must have been her first audiobook ever). She is clearly NOT a professionally trained voiceover artist. Her tone was flat and one dimensional except when she was doing a character voice and the thing that was the most distracting and totally annoying for the whole 7 1/2 hours of this book was her inability to pronounce any word that ended in "dn't" properly. Seriously? "Couln't" "Wouln't" "Shouln't" "Studnt'" It was completely distracting. I felt like an amature teenage girl was reading this (which might be what the author wanted, since the story is told from the perspective of a teenage girl, but getting someone who could actually play a teenage girl while still professionally narrating the book would have been a better choice). I honestly won't even listen to the sequel because I'll never buy another book narrated by this woman.

I generally only spend my credits on books that are at least 10 hours long and I must have somehow missed that this one was shorter. Halfway through it, however, I was relieved to see that I only had about 3 hours left. I wouldn't (or is it wouln't) have finished it at all except that, by that point, I was far enough into the story to wonder how it ended (even though I really didn't care).

Do yourself a favor and go read "What The Wind Knows" or "The Law of Moses" or "A Different Blue" or From "Sand And Ash," all superb and mesmerizing books by Amy Harmon. DO NOT bother with this one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Val
  • Val
  • 05-06-2019

Insta-love

I am not so much into insta-love but heck, it’s high school! Lol. I was very hesitate to read this type of story but man, oh man, I am so glad I did. Amy Harmon did such an awesome job and will continue reading the 2nd book...lol cliffhanger not my thing yet willing to be okay with this one for it! Haha. Overall, I am going to read more books of Amy Harmon. I have kindle unlimited and audiobook membership-it’s kinda free for me. Overall, it’s so good, I am considering buying the paperback to be in my book collection of favs. :). Audiobook narrator is awesome! 5 stars!!!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Raelyn
  • Raelyn
  • 12-05-2019

Great Story!

I thought this was a great story. I really enjoy the author. I would highly recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carrie Juett
  • Carrie Juett
  • 21-01-2019

Teenage love story at its finest

The Story of Maggie and Johnny is one that’s been told a hundred times in a hundred different ways, but the author managed to bring the characters to life in the first few pages and leave us wanting to hear the rest of the story at the end. Absolutely love it!! Can’t wait to read book 2

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Shadowswept
  • Shadowswept
  • 18-01-2019

Superb narration

This is the most talented narrator I have ever heard. Her range of voices is incredible! From the old man to the teenage protagonists to the very young teen boy whose voice cracks from the transition into puberty, she voiced them all with remarkable skill.

The enthralling story is just as excellent as the narrator. I felt like I was right there in the world inhabited by these characters. I had a sense of the school hallway stretching out ahead of me as I heard the music and suddenly saw Johnny standing there. I could hear Gus and Shad and envision them so clearly. I felt like all these characters really existed--including the minor ones. So thoroughly was I immersed in their lives that I became overwhelmed with emotion. It has been a long time since I was this deeply emotional over a story. I felt so much for everyone and all their tragic circumstances. Johnny and Maggie aren't the only star-crossed couple in this story. This book has such a bittersweet appeal, and all the charm and folly of days past is part of that. I loved the courtship in this story, which is something not found in modern books and is even missing from most historical romances that I've read. Johnny was the perfect combination of 1950's bad boy and swoon worthy romantic hero.

There was humor in the book too. This story made me laugh, made me cry, and made my heart swell with emotion. It was intriguing and atmospheric at times, sweet and lovely and romantic at others, funny and endearing, and tragic and heartbreaking. There was also a lot of cool ghostly type stuff. I'm so glad there's a sequel!


  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MarciaC
  • MarciaC
  • 25-09-2017

a very satisfying love story

if you can make room in your imagination for a mythical twist to enjoy this love story

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carien
  • Carien
  • 17-09-2015

Not just for Young Adults

What made the experience of listening to Slow Dance in Purgatory the most enjoyable?

Emotionally charged and stirring till the end.
If time travel was ever going to be real, these two star-crossed lovers deserved to know how.
The touching love story of Johnny and Maggie made me cry on several occasions. How could it not?
The characters are well written and the emotional ups and downs of these teenagers separated by death spill from the pages in tsunami waves, leaving the reader emotionally drained.
I cannot simply label this as YA, because it is more than that. A touching story with an ending that leaves you in no doubt as to which book you will be reading next - the sequel of course.
This is a MUST READ.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Too many. Maggie and Johnny would do anything for each other despite the abyss that separates them.