Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

About the Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
To select, annotate, and present for publication an annual list of notable audio recordings significant to young adults from those released in the past two years.

Administered by:

Young Adult Library Services Association logo


2013 Selection(s)

Monstrous Beauty

by Elizabeth Fama, read by Katherine Kellgren. Macmillan Audio, 2012. 8 hours; 7 discs.

Alternating storylines link Hester to a 300-year-old curse on the women in her family, which began when a mermaid gave up her fins for a man’s love. Kellgren artfully clarifies shifts between past and present. A bonus narrator interview reveals how she researched and created the individualized soundscape for this production.

October Mourning

by Leslea Newman, read by Emily Beresford, Luke Daniels, Tom Parks, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, and Christina Traister. Candlewick on Brilliance, 2012. 1 hour, 20 mins; 2 discs.

A collection of poems tells a fictionalized account of Matthew Shepard's life, his murder, and the enduring effects of the sadistic hate crime against him. Innovative production methods translate the poetic form to audio format, and six narrators perform multiple segments to convey the passion and pain that rippled outward from Matthew’s death.

Personal Effects

by E.M. Kokie, read by Nick Podehl. Candlewick on Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 8 mins; 8 discs

Matt’s controlling father has forbidden him from looking through the personal effects returned to them after his brother’s death in Iraq. But as Matt gains the courage to defy his father, he also uncovers his brother’s hidden life. Podehl’s raw, testosterone-filled narration captures Matt’s journey toward manhood.

See You At Harry's

by Jo Knowles, read by Kate Rudd. Candlewick on Brilliance, 2012. 5 hours, 49 mins; 5 discs

In a close family, twelve-year-old Fern enjoys the antics of her younger brother Charlie, who keeps everyone laughing until the unexpected happens and grief pervades their lives. Rudd effectively conveys Charlie’s little-boy voice, Fern’s guilt, and their two older siblings’ snarkiness and anger.


by Lois Lowry, read by Bernadette Dunne. Books on Tape, 2012. 8 hours, 11 mins; 7 discs

In this companion to The Giver, young Claire is assigned her role as a mother, giving birth to “product” number 36, whom she believes she’ll never see again. Dunne’s exquisite voice portrays the sterility of Claire’s dystopian community and her dawning maternal connection with her son.

Three Times Lucky

by Sheila Turnage, read by Michal Friedman. Penguin Audio, 2012. 8 hours; 7 discs

A murder disrupts the lives of everyone in a small North Carolina town, including spunky Mo Lobeau, who wants to get to the bottom of things. Friedman bathes the listener in a rich drawl that imbues this family-friendly story with warmth and a strong sense of place.

The Watch That Ends the Night

by Allan Wolf, read by Michael Page, Phil Gigante, Christopher Lane, Laural Merlington, and Angela Dawe. Candlewick on Brilliance, 2011. 10 hours, 16 mins; 9 discs

Five narrators deliver dramatic performances of poems exploring the Titanic’s sinking through the eyes of characters ranging from a rat to passengers and crew to the iceberg itself. Sound effects, crowd noises, and layered voices build to the inevitable conclusion and illuminate the human aspect of this tragedy.


by R.J. Palacio, read by Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, and Kate Rudd. Brilliance, 2011. 8 hours, 12 mins; 7 discs

Augie, who has a facial anomaly, must navigate mainstream school for the first time, making friends, dealing with bullies, and learning just how much he is needed. Podehl and Rudd share perspectives from Augie’s teen sister and his friends in interspersed chapters. Steele’s strong characterization of Augie evokes his unique physiology as well as his immense heart and spirit.

Words in the Dust

by Trent Reedy, read by Ariana Delawari. Scholastic Audiobooks, 2011. 8 hours, 28 mins; 7 discs

Delwari’s narration transports readers into the world of Zulaikha, an Afghani girl with a cleft palate. This thoughtful production includes culturally appropriate music, a narrator with family and personal connections to Afghanistan, and interviews that explore the inspiration for and creation of this story and recording.