Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2012

The 2012 Amazing Audiobooks list, comprised of 32 fiction titles and one nonfiction, features recordings covering a wide range of interests for young adults from realistic fiction to fantasy and humor.  The committee also selected a Top Ten list, denoted here by an asterisk.

"After reviewing hundreds of audiobooks, we’re pleased to recognize this list of top quality audiobooks for teens,” said Chair Jennifer Lawson. “With its wide range of genres, settings and characters, we hope this list will have something that every teen will enjoy."

Members of the 2011 Amazing Audiobooks Committee are: Chair Jennifer Lawson, San Diego County Library; Catherine Andronik, Brien McMahon High School, Norwalk, Conn.; Joanna Axelrod, Escondido (Calif.) Public Library; Jennifer Campbell, Notre Dame de Sion High School, Kansas City, Mo.; Lynn Piper Carpenter, Birmingham (Ala.) Public Library; Jeri W. Cohen, Patchogue-Medford (N.Y.) Library; Donna S. Cook, Central High School, Independent School District, Pollok, Texas; Sara E. Fitzgerald, Martin County Library System, Stuart, Fla.; Gretchen Kolderup, New Canaan (Conn.) Library; and Courtney Saldana, administrative assistant, Ontario (Calif.) City Library.


*How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg, read by L.J. Ganser. Recorded Books, 2011. 3 hours, 15 mins, 3 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4618-0116-0, 3 cassettes, ISBN: 978-1-4618-0567-0. 
Ganser revels in descriptions of the gory, gruesome, and grotesque deaths of nineteen famous people in this engrossing work of nonfiction.


After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick, read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance Audio, 2011. 4 hours, 37 mins, 4 discs, ISBN: 978-1-61106-135-2.
Jeffrey learns to live life to the fullest while getting his first girlfriend, wondering why his best friend and fellow cancer survivor is acting so weird, and trying to cope with post-treatment disabilities.  Podehl captures the spirit and emotion of a middle school cancer survivor with humor and grace.

*Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? by Louise Rennison, read by Stina Nielson. Recorded Books, 2010. 6 hours 15 mins, 5 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4498-0766-5,  5 cassettes, ISBN: 978-1-4498-0762-7.
Georgia's love trials continue as Massimo questions her maturiosity and Dave fluctuates between “horn and hump.”  In the final installment of this series, Stina Nielson escorts the listener on an angst and humor filled journey through Georgia’s world.

Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, read by Angela Dawe and Nick Podehl. Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, 2010. 13 hours, 11 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4558-4316-9.
While searching for each other, Todd and Viola must try to save New World from two hostile forces, “The Ask” and “The Answer.”  Dawe and Podehl’s alternating narratives capture the chaos and tension of a world on the brink of war.

*Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, read by Libba Bray. Scholastic Audio, 2011. 14 hours, 30 mins, 12 discs, ISBN: 9780545315234.
When a plane full of Miss Teen Dream contestants crashes on a deserted island, they must learn to find food, make shelter, and survive without bronzer.   Listeners will revel in Bray’s over-the-top narration and embellishments which elevate the text to a “whole new world of pretty.”

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, read by Alan Cumming. Simon and Schuster Audio, 2011. 9 hours, 30 mins, 8 discs, ISBN: 9781442334106.
Alek and Deryn, Clanker and Darwinist, find themselves unlikely allies in this action packed second installment of Westerfeld's steampunk take on World War I.   Cummings delivers an animated performance of this adventure set in the exotic Ottoman Empire.

Books of Umber: Dragon Games by P.W. Catanese, read by Richard Poe. Recorded Books, 2010. 9 hours, 8 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4407-9363-9, 8 cassettes, ISBN: 978-1-4407-4999-5.

When Lord Umber and his ward, Happenstance, travel to Sarnica to study dragons, they are swept up in a civil war.  Poe deftly voices a distinct cast of characters in the second book of the series.

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman, read by Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, Luke Daniels and Laura Hamilton. Brilliance Audio, 2011. 6 hours, 59 mins, 6 discs, ISBN: 978-1-61106-325-7.
For Bruiser, getting close to people can be more painful than anyone knows, so his relationship with Bronte and her dysfunctional family could be deadly.   Four talented narrators lend their voices to this intense story.

*Carter’s Big Break by Brent Crawford, read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance Audio, 2011. 6 hours, 39 mins, 6 discs, ISBN: 978-1-61106-279-3.
Carter lets his ego get the best of him when he is cast in a movie opposite superstar Hillary Idaho.  Podehl’s narration captures both the comedy and tragedy of Carter’s real world problems.

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald, read by MacLeod Andrews. Brilliance Audio, 2011. 3 hours, 29 mins, 3 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4558-0303-3.
Charlie Joe hates reading, but must get creative to avoid it when he’s assigned a major research paper.  Channeling a frenetic middle schooler, Andrews perfectly captures the inner workings of Charlie Joe’s devious mind.

*Chime by Franny Billingsley, read by Susan Duerden. Listening Library, 2011. 10 hours, 13 mins, 8 discs, ISBN: 9780307915214.
Briony believes she is a witch who killed her step-mother and caused her sister’s injuries until a beautiful young man arrives in the swamp determined to discover the truth.  Duerden’s other worldly interpretation immerses the listener in the mysterious swampsea.

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce, read by Kirby Heyborne. Listening Library, 2011. 7 hours, 42 mins, 6 discs, ISBN: 9780307915351.
Liam, a 12-year-old who looks 30, finds himself in over his head when he cons his way into being the “responsible dad” on the first space flight for kids.  Heyborne delivers an understated, yet effective performance of a kid discovering his inner “dadliness.”

*Curse of the Wendigo, by Rick Yancey, read by Steven Boyer. Recorded Books, 2010. 12 hours 15 mins, 10 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4407-3645-2, 10 cassettes, ISBN: 978-1-4407-3641-4.
Young Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop brave the wilds of northern Canada to rescue a fellow monstrumologist from the grip of the mythical Wendigo.   Boyer’s deliberately paced delivery underscores Will Henry’s twisted reality.

*Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve, read by Philip Reeve. Scholastic Audio, 2011. 6 hours, 59 mins, 6 discs, ISBN: 978-0-5452-8279-6.
Raised by the Order of Engineers, Fever Crumb finds her engineer rationality tested as she discovers more about her identity in the dystopian world in which she lives.  Author Philip Reeve brings an extra element to his riveting story with an author’s note and an added scene.

Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri, read by JD Jackson.  Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, 2011. 4 hours, 4 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4558-2150-1.

Twelve-year-old Cole grows from near-delinquent to responsible teen and passionate horseman as he helps his father and the cowboys save their endangered stables in inner-city Philadelphia. Neri’s captivating tale, inspired by real-life black urban cowboys, resonates in Jackson’s rich baritone performance.

Hero by Perry Moore, read by Michael Urie. Brilliance Audio, 2011. 11 hours, 21 mins, 10 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4558-0973-8.
Thom, a gay teen, seeks identity and acceptance when he tries out for the League of Superheros to the dismay of his father.  Urie gives a sensitive yet action packed performance portraying the emotion and confusion of a young man coming out.

*Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith, read by Mark Boyett. Brilliance Audio, 2010. 10 hours, 40 mins, 10 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4418-8840-2.
After a series of disturbing experiences, Jack is barely holding onto his sanity and finds himself obsessed with a pair of glasses that transport him to a horrifying alternate world.   Boyett’s visceral performance will haunt listeners long after the audiobook ends. 

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt, read by Lincoln Hoppe. Listening Library, 2011. 9 hours, 18 mins, 8 discs, ISBN: 9780307915948. 

Doug’s move to a small town and his subsequent connection to a librarian and a copy of Audobon’s Birds of America offer him a chance to be something other than a hoodlum in training.  Hoppe’s nuanced delivery gives voice to the community of characters that help Doug find a new direction.

Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes, read by Jessica Almasy. Brilliance Audio, 2011. 6 hours, 6 discs, ISBN: 978-1-61106-079-9.
None of the sixth graders on the Air Force base know what to think of their theatrical new teacher Miss Loupe, but when her brother goes missing in Afghanistan, the whole school finds a way to help.  Almasy’s distinct voice and inflections uncover subtle dimensions in the text.

Paintings from the Cave by Gary Paulsen, read by Jim Bond, Kevin R Free, Sarah Grace and Nick Podehl. Brilliance Audio, 2011. 3 hours, 23 mins, 3 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4558-2490-8.
Richly narrated by a quartet of talented readers, this collection of novellas offers listeners a glimpse into the lives of three teens coping with their tough realities through a connection with art and dogs.

Pick-Up Game: A Full Day of Full Court edited by Marc Aronson and Charles R. Smith Jr., read by Dion Graham and Quincy Tyler Berstine. Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, 2011. 4 hours, 3 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4558-0080-3.
Ten authors explore the interplay of players and spectators over a single day of pick-up basketball at the Cage on West 4th Street in New York City.  Performing both poetry and prose, Graham and Bernstein authentically capture the rhythm of the court.

*Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud, read by Simon Jones. Listening Library, 2010. 12 hours, 30 mins, 10 discs, ISBN: 978-0-3077-3861-5.
Wise-cracking djinni Bartimaeus finds himself at King Solomon’s court in an unexpected alliance with a female assassin who is attempting to steal the king’s magic ring.   Jones’ fantastical narration animates a cast of larger than life creatures.

Rotters by Daniel Kraus, read by Kirby Heyborne.  Random House Audio, 2011.  16 hours, 13 mins, 18 discs, ISBN: 9780307941824.
After his mother dies, 16-year-old Joey is dropped into the isolated world of his father, a grave robber.  Heyborne’s versatile character voicing and exquisite timing pulls us through the chilling story of the destruction and rebuilding of Joey’s personality.

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher, read by Kim Mai Guest. Listening Library, 2010. 12 hours, 10 discs, ISBN: 9780307707130.
Recently escaped from Incarceron, Finn and Claudia must defend their claims to new roles; meanwhile Keiro and Attia attempt their own escape from the sentient prison.  Guest delivers a stately performance which pulls together the strands of this complex story.

Scorch Trials by James Dashner, read by Mark Deakins. Listening Library, 2010. 10 hours, 30 mins, 9 discs, ISBN: 978-0-3077-0659-1.
Despite having escaped the maze Thomas and his companions find themselves fighting through the next phase of W.I.C.K.E.D.’s unrelenting experiments.   Deakins’ successfully differentiates between a diverse cast of characters that brings the atrocities of the story to life.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham.  Scholastic Audiobooks, 2011. 10 hours, 12 mins, 7 discs, ISBN: 9780545357029.

The stakes are high for Sean and Puck in their islands’ annual race of savage water horses. Narrators West and Hardingham’s lyrical narration evokes the atmosphere of a rugged island culture forever bound to fearsome mythical creatures.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, read by Julia Whelan. Brilliance Audio, 2010. 7 hours 15 mins, 6 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4418-2014-3.
Grieving the death of her beloved sister Bailey, Lennie finds herself drawn to both Bailey’s boyfriend and the new boy in town.  Whelan powerfully conveys Lennie’s conflicting emotions and inner turmoil.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, read by Katie Schorr. Brilliance Audio, 2010. 6 hours, 50 mins, 6 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4558-1733-7.
When the tables are turned on veteran bully Regina Afton her eyes are opened to the pain and suffering she has inflicted on others.   Schorr’s distinctive voice embodies the pain of a teen fallen from top of the social ladder.

Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald, read by Katherine Kellgren. Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, 2010. 7 hours, 9 mins, 6 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4418-8971-3.
Tasha and Emily each have their reasons for wanting a semester abroad, but when a mishap causes the girls to switch places, they will have to depend on each other for tips on fitting in, finding love, and figuring out who they really are.  Kellgren slips between elite British and valley girl accents with seemingly no effort at all.

Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger, read by Mark Turetsky, Greg Steinbruner, Jonathan Todd Ross, Julia Gibson, and Charlotte Parry. Recorded Books, 2010. 2 hours, 25 mins, 2 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4498-4504-9, 2 cassettes, ISBN: 978-1-4498-4503-2.
Tommy collects his classmates’ stories about fellow 6th grader Dwight’s Origami Yoda to determine whether the finger puppet really possesses special wisdom.   Celebrate this quirky story the narrators do in this entertaining listen.  

*Wake of the Lorelei Lee by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren. Listen and Live Audio, 2010. 16 hours, 12 discs, ISBN: 978-1-5931-6484-3.
Jacky is wrenched away from her happy ending when she is sentenced to transport to the Australian penal colony—imprisoned on her own ship.  In this stand out performance, Kellgren’s masterful handling of pacing, emotion, and a variety of accents sweeps listeners along on a rollicking adventure.

Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt, read by Will Patton. Listening Library, 2010. 7 hours, 6 mins, 6 discs, ISBN: 9780307710949.
Raised by a series of maternal figures, Amos Kincaid is watched over by his mother’s spirit as he travels along the Oregon Trail and into manhood.   Patton’s voicing evokes both time and place and compliments the magical realism of this folkloric tale.

Zombies v. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, read by Ellen Grafton, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, Julia Whelan and Phil Gigante. Brilliance Audio, 2010. 12 hours, 10 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4418-8923-2.
Are you on Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?  Decide for yourself with this anthology performed by a stable of narrators and enlivened by the brainy banter of Black and Larbalestier.