2015 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2015
The 2015 Amazing Audiobooks list is comprised of 27 fiction titles and 2 nonfiction and features recordings covering a wide range of interests for young adults from historical fiction, to horror, to realistic fiction.
"This was a great year for audiobooks!” said Chair Colleen Seisser. "Those who follow our list will be excited to see stellar productions with narrators who excel at bringing the stories to life, and also many examples of extra production soundscapes that uplifted fantastic books to amazing audiobooks".
Members of the 2015 Amazing Audiobooks Committee are: Chair Colleen Seisser, Mount Prospect Public Library, Mount Prospect, IL; Randee Jean Bybee, Rathdrum, ID; Emily F. Calkins, King County Library System, Burien Library, Burien, WA; Kim Christofferson, Salt Lake City Public Library, Sweet Branch Library, Salt Lake City, UT; Sarah Hashimoto, Jackson District Library, Jackson, MI; Linda L. Plevak, Northeast Lakeview College, Universal City, TX; Daniel Gray Tackett, Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest, Vestavia Hills, AL; Cynthia S. Vanderbrink, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Toledo, OH; Dr. Sylvia M. Vardell, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX; and administrative assistant Melanie Wachsmann, Lone Star College, Cyfair Branch, Cypress, TX.
* denotes the audio was selected as a top ten.
Download a handout of the list here.
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin, read by Dominic Hoffman. Listening Library, 2014. 3 hours, 50 minutes; 3 discs. 978-0-8041-6744-4. The true, but little-known story of 50 black sailors who chose to defy the Navy by refusing to return to duty after an explosion killed 320 servicemen at Port Chicago during WWII. Hoffman lends his even-tempered voice to distinguish the story of each individual involved and conveys what happened to them in this emotional and important episode in U.S. history.
Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher by Jon Meacham, read by Edward Herrmann. Books on Tape, 2014. 4 hours, 56 minutes; 4 discs. 978-0-5535-5638-4.
Thomas Jefferson’s life and political career are warmly narrated by Herrmann in this entertaining, all-encompassing biography. This polished and accessible production includes seamlessly integrated quotes and sidebars.
*ACID by Emma Pass, read by Fiona Hardingham with Nicholas Guy Smith and Suzan Crowley. Listening Library, 2014. 10 hours, 48 minutes; 9 discs. 978-0-8041-6832-8. The brutal police state ACID rules all, so when Jenna is broken out of prison by a rebel group she has to fight to survive as ACID's most-wanted fugitive. Unique ACID reports and recordings read by Smith and Hardingham's excellent pace combine with her authentic teen voice to highlight this exciting story.
*Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger, read by Moira Quick. Hachette Audio, 2013. 9 hours, 30 minutes, 8 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4789-2648-1. In the second installment of the Finishing School series, Sophronia and her classmates use their training to search for a dangerous device that may have fallen into the wrong hands. Quick’s lively narration highlights the wit and humor in Carriger’s story.
*Define Normal by Julie Anne Peters, read by Christine Lakin. Hachette, 2014. 5 hours, 30 minutes; digital download. 978-1-4789-8080-3. After being assigned as a peer counselor to pierced, black lipstick-wearing Jasmine, the last thing Antonia expects is to find a friend. Lakin’s natural voicing and great pacing uplift this relevant and timeless novel.
Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy, read by Andrew Eiden. Scholastic Audio, 2014. 10 hours, 43 minutes; digital download. 978-0-5455-4369-9. When high school senior and National Guardsman, Daniel, is put on the front lines of a controversial showdown with protesters, he gets caught up in a scandal that pits his state against his country. Eide’s strong performance is complemented by a cast of narrators who bring to life online message boards, TV and radio programs, songs, and political speeches.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, read by Khristine Hvam. Hachette Audio, 2014. 18 hours; 14 discs. 978-1-4789-5263-3.
Having just begun to mend their own fragile relationship, Karou and Akiva must unite the warring chimaera and seraphim forces in order to battle the ruthless emperor, Jael, whose army threatens to destroy the entire human world. Deft narration by Hvam embodies an astonishing array of characters and makes Taylor’s rich, lyrical prose beautiful and compelling.
*Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders by Geoff Herbach, read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance Audio, 2014. 5 hours, 49 minutes; 1 MP3 disc. 978-1-4805-3324-0. Gabe wages war when vending machine money promised to the marching band is diverted to the cheerleading squad. Funny, fast, and angst-filled narration by Podehl takes listeners on a wild ride as Gabe retells his story.
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle, read by Tim Federle. Simon & Schuster, 2014. 7 hours; 6 discs. 978-1-4423-7419-5.
Nate is back and headed to Broadway with a part in E.T.: the Musical, but drama follows as Nate has to navigate power-hungry stars, rigorous rehearsals, and a strange secret admirer. Charged with an energy and bravado, Federle infuses Nate and the supporting characters with so much life that listeners can’t helped but being charmed by this coming of age story.
*Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King, read by Christine Lakin. Hachette Audio, 2014. 7 hours, 5 minutes; digital download. 978-1-4789-5774-4.
When Glory and her friend Ellie drink the remains of a desiccated bat, they find themselves able to see the future and the past, and Glory begins to reconsider her assumption that she’s destined to die young. Lakin’s nuanced narration explores Glory’s anger, grief, confusion, and hope.
*Half Bad by Sally Green, read by Carl Prekopp. Recorded Books, 2014. 8 hours, 30 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4906-1427-4.
Born an illegitimate son of a white witch mother and a black witch father, no one is sure which side Nathan will join, but both want him. Through Prekopp’s emotive performance, listeners are drawn into Nathan’s horrible torture and physical and emotional pain.
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, read by Kirby Heyborne. Blackstone Audio, 2014. 11 hours, 30 minutes; 10 discs. 978-1-62460-038-8.
Having just escaped the utter destruction of their home, Jacob, Emma, Bronwyn, and the rest of their bedraggled gang of peculiar children embark on a desperate mission to rescue their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. Heyborne’s superb narration captures the children’s terror and determination as they continue their quest, despite the monstrous creatures that pursue them.
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, read by Julia Whelan and Luke Daniels. Brilliance Audio, 2014. 9 hours; 8 discs. 978-1-4805-5360-6.
Hayley and her veteran father have just returned to his hometown, but life at a new school and the ever increasing severity of her father’s PTSD make Hayley’s life unpredictable and uncontrollable. Daniels’ brief, tortured flashbacks are haunting and memorable, while Whelan completely disappears into Hayley’s sarcasm and vulnerability.
Jackaby by William Ritter, read by Nicola Barber. HighBridge Audio, 2014. 7 hours, 30 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-6223-1482-9.
Starting anew, Abigail Rook becomes the assistant of odd Mr. Jackaby, who claims to solve paranormal mysteries, and a murder investigation quickly ensues. Barber’s crisp diction and regional accents animate the characters in this blend of history, mystery, and the supernatural.
The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher, read by Fiona Hardingham and Shaun Grindell. Blackstone Audio, 2014. 9 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4829-6740-1.
In this dark and captivating tale of murder, betrayal, and a game gone wrong, Emily and Damon are inexorably drawn together, both driven to discover the truth. Hardingham and Grindell masterfully capture the raw pain and devastation which fuel Damon and Emily.
*Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira, read by Julia Whelan. Brilliance Audio, 2014. 8 hours, 30 minutes; 1 MP3 disc. 978-1-4805-6838-9.
While she grieves her sister's death during her first year of high school, Laurel writes letters to famous dead people ranging from Kurt Cobain to Amelia Earhart. Whelan’s tender characterization of Laurel and her friends brings authenticity to this contemporary story of friendship, love, and loss.
Noggin by John Corey Whaley, read by Kirby Heyborne. Simon & Schuster, 2014. 8 hours, 30 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4423-6985-6. After having his head removed and frozen until a time when it could be attached to a healthy body, Travis wakes up to find his life has moved on without him. The standout of this narration is how Heyborne excels at conveying the quiet, tender moments of Travis’ story.
Raging Star by Moira Young, read by Heather Lind. Simon & Schuster, 2014. 11 hours; 10 discs. 978-1-4423-7175-0. Saba and her band of rebels wage a guerilla war against De Malo, who promises a utopia for his followers - and death for everyone else. With a low register and gravitas, Lind’s narration captures the essence of this western dystopia.
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins, read by Amy Rubinate. Dreamscape, 2014. 9 hours, 24 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-6292-3450-2. Southern belle, Harper Price, is more concerned with making the perfect presentation at her upcoming cotillion than with her supernatural destiny as a paladin. Listeners will delight in Rubinate’s just right southern drawl as well as her perfect blend of suspense and humor.
*Revolution, by Deborah Wiles, read by Stacey Aswad and Francois Battiste with J.D. Jackson and Robin Miles. Listening Library, 2014. 12 hours, 10 minutes; 10 discs. 978-0-553-39526-6. Twelve-year-old Sunny’s life changes forever when volunteers descend upon her Mississippi hometown in the summer of 1964, causing her to question her long-held beliefs and assumptions. A wide cast of narrators and accompanying effects create a powerful soundscape that will transport listeners to the Freedom Summer.
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry, read by Jayne Entwistle. Listening Library, 2014. 9 hours, 24 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-5533-9600-3.
The girls of St. Etheldreda’s School for Young Ladies seize their chance for freedom and independence when faced with the sudden death of their imperious headmistress. With gentleness and precision, Entwistle brings forth the acerbic wit and unique personalities which populate this wicked cozy mystery.
The Shadows by Megan Chance, read by Karen Peakes. Brilliance Audio, 2014. 9 hours, 28 minutes; 1 MP3 disc. 978-1-4805-9824-9. Grace's marriage to childhood friend Patrick Devlin may be the only way to save her impoverished family, but when Patrick's Irish club uses old magic to awaken long-sleeping warriors, Grace is drawn into an epic battle. Peakes’ accents and compelling pacing drive this exciting, romantic story.
*Skink--No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen, read by Kirby Heyborne. Listening Library, 2014. 7 hours, 50 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-8041-6690-4. When his cousin Malley runs off with a stranger, Richard and Skink, a one-eyed, eccentric ex-governor, must journey into the backwoods of Florida to save her. Heyborne narrates this audiobook flawlessly, coupling a wide range of character voices with an appropriate amount of intensity and humor.
Sway by Kat Spears, read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance Audio, 2014. 6 hours, 56 minutes; 1 MP3 disc. 978-1-4915-3064-1. Sway knows how to manipulate people, so when he is hired to help Ken win Bridget’s heart, problems emerge when he falls for her, too. Podehl is the perfect fit for Sway who is wily and snarky, and yet is also able to round out this full cast of diverse characters.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, read by Ariadne Meyers. Listening Library, 2014. 6 hours, 30 minutes; 5 discs. 978-0-8041-6841-0.
Two summers after a mysterious accident that led to her debilitating migraines, Cadence returns to her family’s private island. This poetic text is elevated by Meyer’s emotional narration, which captures Cadence’s confusion and pain as she seeks the truth about her injuries.
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds, read by J.B. Adkins. Listening Library, 2014. 6 hours, 3 minutes; 5 discs. 978-0-5533-9571-6.
Fifteen-year-old Ali is making his way in a tough neighborhood, but everything starts going wrong once he and his best friends, Noodles and Needles, are invited to a big-time, high-stakes party. Adkins brings forth the humor and tension in this poignant coming-of-age story, where the ugliness and brutality of the outside world wars with loyalty, honor, and love between friends and family.
The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud, read by Katie Lyons. Listening Library, 2014. 11 hours, 37 minutes; 9 discs. 978-0-8041-2320-4. Lockwood and Co. are back, but the struggling psychic detective agency’s luck takes a turn when Mr. Saunders hires them to get rid of the nefarious ghost of Edmund Bickerstaff. The spine-tingling performance of Lyons’ narration will keep listeners on the edge of their seat.
White Space by Ilsa J. Bick, read by Kathleen McInerney. Brilliance Audio, 2014. 15 hours, 47 minutes; 2 MP3 discs. 978-1-4915-0837-4.
In this densely woven tapestry of horror, several teens struggle to discover what is real and what is not. McInerney breathes Bick’s words into a three-dimensional beast that is sure to terrify and enthrall listeners.
*William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Collection, by Ian Doescher, read by Danny Davis, Jonathan Davis, Ian Doescher, Jeff Gurner, January LaVoy, and Marc Thompson. Random House Audio, 2014. 10 hours, 30 minutes; 15 discs. 978-0-553-54640-8.
Join Luke, Leia, Han Solo, and more in this rich and unforgettable audio adventure, an adaptation of George Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy that is told entirely in Shakespearean verse. This full-cast production will surprise and delight listeners with authentic music and sound effects, as well as passion and pathos aplenty.