The 2014 Amazing Audiobooks list, comprised of 27 fiction titles and 2 nonfiction, features recordings covering a wide range of interests for young adults from memoir, to psychological horror, to parody.
"We were thrilled with the variety of wonderful productions this year.” said Chair Dawn Rutherford. "The narrators were such total wizards, they evoked everything from hysterical laughter to nausea, and we believe followers of the list will be similarly moved".
Members of the 2014 Amazing Audiobooks Committee are: Chair Dawn Rutherford, Sno-Isle Libraries, Tulalip, WA; Mary Burkey, Olentangy Local Schools,Powell, OH; Randee Jean Bybee, Upland Public Library, Upland, CA; Emily F. Calkins, Seattle, WA; Kim Christofferson, Sweet Library, Salt Lake City, UT; Linda L. Plevak, Northeast Lakeview College, Universal City, TX; Coleen Seisser, Mount Prospect Public Library, Mount Prospect, IL; Karilyn L. Steward, Calabasas Library, Calabasas, CA; Dr. Sylvia M. Vardell, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX.
* denotes the audio was selected as a top ten.
*Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi, read by Sunil Malhotra. Listening Library, 2013. 6 hours, 4 minutes; 5 discs. 978-0-804-16678-2.
Rabi, Miguel, and Joe launch a stealth investigation into a meat-packing corporation's greedy plot, which has inadvertently caused a zombie apocalypse. Sunil Malhotra’s narration makes this a funny and scary listen for tweens and teens.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, read by Christine Lakin. Hachette Audio, 2013. 12 hours, 10 discs. 978-1-4789-2469-2.
Suspecting she may be going cold after surviving a vampire attack, Tana, her ex-boyfriend, and the enigmatic vampire Gavriel, head to the nearest Coldtown--the only place where the trio might be safe. Christine Larkin’s gothic narration style and the musical underscore are the perfect match for this tale of monsters and bloodlust.
Speaking From Among the Bones (a Flavia de Luce Novel) by Alan Bradley, read by Jayne Entwistle. Listening Library, 2013. 10 hours; 8 discs. 978-9-3078-7983-7.
Flavia de Luce, poison enthusiast and amateur detective, finds herself embroiled in yet another murder in her village, this time involving the disinterment of Saint Tancred from the church crypt. Jayne Entwistle captures Flavia’s youthful spark while providing captivating plummy British tones for the village residents.
*Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, read by Moira Quirk. Hachette Audio, 2013. 8 hours, 55 minutes; Digital download. 978-1-6196-9316-6.
Exasperated with her unladylike behavior, Sophronia’s mother sends her off to a mysterious finishing school filled with spies and assassins. A spectrum of oddball characters are voiced by Moira Quirk with panache and whimsy.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, read by Ralph Cosham. Dreamscape Audio, 2012. 2 hours, 59 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-6240-6171-4.
Dickens’ classic is richly interpreted through Ralph Cosham’s expert narration coupled with evocative sound effects and atmospheric music.
*William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher, read by a full cast. Listening Library, 2013. 3 hours, 29 minutes; Digital download. 978-0-8041-9180-7.
The original Star Wars movie is retold in iambic pentameter as if Shakespeare himself penned the tale. The full cast achieves a memorable interpretation complete with beeps and whistles and selections from the original score.
*If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan, read by Negin Farsad. High Bridge Audio, 2013. 5 hours, 15 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-6223-1225-2.
In contemporary Iran, where same sex relationships are forbidden, Sahar discovers her beloved Nasrin is to be married. The news prompts Sahar to consider extreme measures to save their love. Negin Farsad beautifully communicates the nuances of the culture and language through her emotive delivery.
Just One Day by Gayle Forman, read by Kathleen McInerney. Penguin Audio, 2013. 10 hours, 29 minutes; Digital download. 978-1-1016-0170-9.
On a European tour the summer before starting college, Allyson decides to take a risk and her life is changed forever. Kathleen McInerney sensitively portrays the vulnerable emotions of a young woman on a cathartic journey.
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner, read by Robert Madge. Brilliance Audio, 2013. 3 hours, 40 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-469-27495-9.
Gifted sixteen-year-old narrator Robert Madge embodies protagonist Standish Treadwell, a dyslexic boy living a life of mind-numbing horror and violence under a totalitarian regime called the Motherland.
The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch, narrated by Dan Bitner. Scholastic Audiobooks, 2013. 8 hours, 30 minutes; downloadable audiobook. 978-0-545-60035-4.
Callum Roe goes on the run from the Glorious Path, a militant fundamentalist group attempting to convert the United States. This fast-paced, action-packed story is elevated by Dan Bitner’s taut narration.
Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan, read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance Audio, 2012. 7 hours, 19 minutes, 6 discs. 978-14692-6220-8.
Sam, the preacher’s kid, runs into trouble defending a strange girl named Jennifer whose visions of demons and prophecies threaten to land him in a situation he cannot control. Nick Podehl chillingly voices the inner workings of a disturbed mind.
*Scowler by Daniel Kraus, read by Kirby Heyborne. Listening Library, 2013. 11 hours, 15 minutes, 9 discs. 978-03853-6837-7.
During a freak meteorite storm, Ry’s convict father escapes to terrorize his family. This triggers the return of Ry’s imaginary friends who once saved him from terrible abuse. In dark tones that range from whispers to screams, narrator Kirby Heyborne will haunt listeners with this tale of psychological and physical horror.
Team Human by Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan, read by Julia Whelan. Listening Library, 2012. 8 hours, 44 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-8041-2165-1.
In this humorous supernatural romance, a new vampire moves to town, zombies rise, and hijinks ensue. Julia Whelan’s narration brings the undead characters to life, and her snarky teen voice rings true.
Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson, read by Kirsten Potter. Listening Library, 2013. 5 hours 46 minutes, 5 discs. 978-0-4490-1526-1.
Hattie arrives in San Francisco where she finds the opportunity to follow her dreams of becoming a journalist. Kristen Potter gives each character a unique voice that transports the listener to Hattie’s world.
Tarnish by Katherine Longshore, read by Leslie Bellair. Penguin Audio, 2013. 9 hours, 36 minutes; 1 MP3 disc. 978-1-1016-1809-7.
Anne Boleyn is newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII where everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. Leslie Bellair takes Boleyn from awkward teen to sophisticated lady through her saucy interpretation of Longshore’s historical novel.
*Viva Jacquelina!: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Over the Hills and Far Away (A Bloody Jack Adventure) by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren. Listen and Live Audio, 2013. 10 hours, 8 discs. 978-1-5931-6635-9.
Dramatic exclamations, tender quiet moments, and Katherine Kellgren’s lovely singing voice return in this madcap audiobook that will leave listeners on the edge of their seats as Jacky leads a life of espionage in wartime Spain.
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park, read by Julia Whelan. Brilliance Audio, 2012. 10 hours; 8 discs. 978-1-4692-53053.
Julie spends her college freshman year in the home of her mother’s old roommate, forging a love triangle with the family’s two sons. Narrator Julia Whelan’s heart-on-her-sleeve performance expresses dawning passion, disappointment, and compassion as old secrets are exposed.
Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson, read by Emma Galvin. Hatchette Audio, 2012. 6 hours, 5 dics. 978-1-6196-9196-4.
Tandy offers just the facts as she details the events that led up to her parents' murder. Emma Galvin masters a hard-boiled detective inflection that heightens the tension as the truth is revealed.
*Crap Kingdom by D.C. Pierson, read by D.C. Pierson. Blackstone, 2013. 7 hours, 41 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-6246-0070-8.
With wit and humor, author D.C. Pierson's narration transports listeners to Crap Kingdom, an alternate universe where two friends are both selected as "The Chosen One," resulting in an epically hilarious battle.
*Dodger by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs. Dreamscape Audio, 2012. 10 hours, 31 minutes; 9 discs. 978-1-6112-0972-3.
Sewer rat Dodger’s life takes a sudden turn when he rescues a young woman from an attack, and goes from being a rascal to a hero. Stephen Briggs is the perfect narrator to express Pratchett’s dry British humor while painting a lively picture of Victorian London.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick, read by Noah Galvin. Hachette Audio, 2013. 6 hours, 30 minutes; Digital download. 978-1-4789-7977-7.
On his 18th birthday Leonard cuts off all his hair, wraps up a set of gifts for the people who mean the most to him, and packs his grandfather's P38 Nazi pistol in his bag. Noah Galvin empathetically channels this damaged teenaged boy with humor and heart.
*Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, read by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra. Listening Library, 2013. 9 hours; 7 discs. 978-0-385-36828-5.
Two outsiders--awkward, redheaded Eleanor and quiet, half-Korean Park--fall in love in 1986 Omaha, reading comics, sharing mix tapes, and braving the wrath of Eleanor’s terrifying stepfather. Lowman and Malhotra’s tender narration captures the emotional highs and lows of this sophisticated tale of first love.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, read by Rebecca Lowman & Maxwell Caulfield. Listening Library, 2013. 12 hours, 49 minutes; 10 discs. 978-0-8041-2130-9.
Writing fanfiction eases Cath’s rocky transition to college life. Lowman’s genuine characterization of anxiety-ridden Cath is complemented by Caulfield’s magical narration of the story within the story.
What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt, read by Graham Winton. Recorded Books, 2013. 6 hours, 30 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4703-3977-7.
Graham Winton clearly delineates two worlds woven together in one story rich with invented language. A noble race of alien beings under siege reaches out to ordinary sixth-grader, Tommy Pepper, whose family is struggling after the death of his mother.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, read by Lauren Fortgang. Penguin Audio, 2012. 9 hours 51 minutes; Digital download. 978-1-1016-0172-3.
Set in 1950's New Orleans, Out of the Easy tells the hard luck story of Josie whose prostitute mother is rotten to the core. Lauren Fortgang’s lyrical narration exquisitely suits this gut-wrenching story.
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, read by Miranda Raison. Listening Library, 2013. 10 hours, 10 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-8041-2316-7.
In an interpretation that ranges from creepy to hilarious, Miranda Raison captures the spirit of an alternate London where supernaturally-sensitive Lucy finds employment with a small ghost-hunting agency run by an orphan and his friend.
Paperboy by Vince Vawter, read by Lincoln Hoppe. Listening Library, 2013. 6 hours 10 minutes, 5 discs. 978-0-8041-6795-6.
Growing up in Memphis in 1959, an eleven-year-old boy who struggles with stuttering takes over his good friend's paper route. Lincoln Hoppe’s graceful performance deftly evokes the main character’s struggle with a speech disorder.
*The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson, read by Danny Burstein. Simon and Schuster Audio, 2013. 4 hours, 15 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-4423-6765-4.
This memoir chronicles the survival of one of the youngest children on Schindler's list through his adult life in America. Danny Burstein’s understated yet powerful narration connects contemporary listeners to the horrific events of WWII and its aftermath.
Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles America's First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone, read by J. D. Jackson. Brilliance Audio, 2012. 3 hours, 3 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4692-6257-4.
The disappointment and heartache of these heroes is skillfully communicated with J.D. Jackson’s authentic and culturally-sensitive narration.