2010 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

The Amazing Audiobooks list for those ages 12-18 is drawn from the previous two years of spoken-word releases and presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting.

The 2010 Amazing Audiobooks features a wide range of recordings, with 21 fiction titlesrepresenting diverse genres and styles, including historical fiction, fantasy, and realistic fiction.

“An earful of dead girls and funny boys are sure to peak the interest of teens this year.” said Nichole King, committee chair. “We think this wide range of exceptional audiobooks represent something for every listener.”

 Members of the Amazing Audiobooks Committee are: Nichole King, chair, Morgan Hill (Calif.) Public Library; Betsy Crone, Guilford County Schools, Greensboro, N.C.; Viola Dyas, Oakland, Calif.; Jennie A.D. Evans, Carrollton (Texas) Public Library; Sasha Matthews, Chesapeake (Va.) Public Library; Jamie Mayo, Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library; Rayma Norton, King County (Wash.) Library System; Julia Riley, Pflugerville (Texas) Community Library; and Ellen Rix Spring, Rockland (Me.) District Middle School.

The Titles

Nonfiction

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson, read by Dion Graham, Brilliance Audio, 2009, 1 hour, 55 minutes, 3 discs (includes bonus disc), ISBN: 978-1-4233-7537-1, $42.97.

Bluesy harmonica music introduces Dion Graham’s smooth baritone voice, eloquently returning listeners to the era of Negro League baseball in Kadir Nelson’s award-winning book.

Fiction

After Tupac and D Foster, by Jacqueline Woodson, read by Susan Spain. Brilliance Audio, 2009, 3 hours 13 minutes, 3 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4233-9805-9, $39.97

D Foster walks into the neighborhood where the narrator and her best friend Neeka live and opens up a whole new world to them, with Tupac’s musical influence as a background. Susan Spain's narration brings the girls' intertwined stories to life as she conveys the emotional turmoil that is part of growing up.      

Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen, read by Rachel Botchan. Recorded Books, 2009, 12 hours 45 minutes, 11 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4407-3027-6, $108.75

On a whim, Auden decides to spend the summer with her father and his family. Despite her desire to remain emotionally distant from the drama that is in the house, Auden finds herself lending her stepmother a reluctant hand. Rachel Botchan brings Auden to life. It is as if Auden herself is sharing the story of her summer over a cup of coffee in a late night diner.

Boys are Dogs, by Leslie Margolis, read by Ellen Grafton. Brilliance Audio, 2008, 5 hours, 4 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4233-7729-0, $48.97

Annabelle doesn't like surprises OR change, but as she starts her first year of middle school she must cope with both.  Ellen Grafton creates an authentic voice for Annabelle moving from childhood into adolescence, with all the dilemmas, wit, moodiness and confusion of that age.

Carter Finally Gets It, by Brent Crawford, read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance Audio, 2009, 8 hours 27 minutes, 7 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4233-9181-4, $87.97

A year in the life of Carter begins with a party, and ends with him realizing where his true interests and talents lie in this hilarious picture of a 14-year-old boy's life. Nick Podehl reads Carter with the perfect blend of humor, irony, and innocence, while narrating a true-to-life glimpse into the mind of a teenage boy.

The Chosen One, by Carol Lynch Williams, read by Jenna Lamia. Macmillan Audio, 2009, 5 hours 30 minutes, 5 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4272-0706-7, $24.99

Kyra is being forced to marry her sixty-year-old uncle who is an elder in their religious group "The Chosen Ones." As Kyra grapples with her emerging independence, she encounters dangerous and life-threatening situations. Jenna Lamia brings the perfect tone and emotions to thirteen-year-old Kyra and enables the listeners to hear her sadness, anger, and love for her family.

Identical, by Ellen Hopkins, read by Laura Flanagan. High Bridge Audiobooks, 2008, 8 hours 45 minutes, 7 discs, ISBN: 978-1-59887-735-9, $29.95

Identical twins with seemingly perfect parents are living an illusion. Laura Flanagan does a fabulous job at giving the twins unique voices, differentiating the intonation and attitude in the written word for both.

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, read by Kirsten Potter. Listening Library, 2009, 4 hours 48 minutes, 4 discs, ISBN: 978-0-7393-8084-0, $45.00

Mia is a talented musician, with a great boyfriend and family. It all gets taken away when the rest of her family is killed in a car crash that leaves her clinging to life. This highly emotional story is captured wonderfully by Kirsten Potters' genuine tone for Mia's struggle between life and death.

The Indigo Notebook, by Laura Resau, read by Justine Eyre. Listening Library, 2009, 8 hours 25 minutes, 7 discs, ISBN: 978-0-3075-7981-2, $55.00

Zeeta and her mother Layla's nomadic life has brought them to Otavalo in Ecuador where they help a friend to find his birth father, uncover a smuggling ring, and learn to appreciate the life they have.  Justine Eyre brings excellent Spanish accents and the right voice for each character, while enhancing a fascinating story.

In the Belly of the Bloodhound: Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber, by L .A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren, Listen and Live Audio, 2009, 15 hours,13 discs, ISBN 978-1-59316-142-2, $29.95.

Jacky Faber returns to the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls to hide out after learning she is wanted for piracy.  While on a school outing, the entire class is kidnapped, taken aboard the slave ship Bloodhound, and held for ransom. Katherine Kellgren keeps the listeners on the edge of their seats as Jacky uses her wits, the crew, the prisoners and every opportunity available to save herself and the girls.

The Killer's Cousin, by Nancy Werlin, read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance Audio, 2008, 6 hours, 5 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4233-8078-8, $54.97 

The jury found David innocent when tried for the murder of his girlfriend, but his name will always be associated with her death. Nick Podehl convincingly voices the self-doubt,  fear and suspicion that build in this tautly-crafted mystery.

Living Dead Girl, by Elizabeth Scott, read by Kate Reinders, Brilliance Audio, 2009, 2 hours 54 minutes, 3 discs, ISBN 978-1-4233-9751-9, $49.97

Kidnapped five years ago while on a school field trip, fifteen-year-old  “Alice” has grown too old to hold the interest of her abductor.  When Ray orders her to find him a new little girl, Alice sees her chance for freedom.  Kate Reinder's portrayal is disturbing and riveting.

Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork, read by Lincoln Hoppe. Listening Library, 2009, 10 hours 8 minutes, 8 discs, ISBN: 978-0-7393-7991-2, $40.00

To finish his senior year at the high school of his choice, Marcelo accepts his father's condition that he spend the summer working at his law firm. Lincoln Hoppe becomes Marcelo in this remarkable performance that takes the listener right into the heart of his struggles to make sense of the world.

The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey, read by Stephen Boyer. Recorded Books, 2009, 11 hours 45 minutes, 10 discs, ISBN 978-1-4407-3564-6, $108.75

Will Henry is the assistant to the Monstrumologist, Dr. Warthrop. Together they encounter the Anthropophagi, horrible human eating creatures. Set in the 1800's, this richly descriptive horror tale is vivid and imaginative. Stephen Boyer paints a frightening yet intriguing picture of Will Henry’s world.

My Bonny Light Horseman: Being the Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War, by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren. Listen and Live Audio, 2009, 12 hours, 10 discs, ISBN: 978-1-59316-446-1, $29.95

Jacky Faber is being forced by the British to spy against the French and although she hates it, she performs splendidly and even meets Napoleon. There is no one who could “be” Jacky Faber any better than Katherine Kellgren as she switches from British to French to American accents in the same sentence, as well as singing beautifully.

Newes from the Dead, by Mary Hooper, read by Rosalyn Landor and Michael Page. Brilliance Audio, 2009, 7 hours 27 minutes, 7 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4233-9230-9, $87.97

Anne Green regains consciousness at the beginning of her autopsy after being hanged for infanticide. Rosalyn Landor and Michael Page’s expert narrations capture this unusual and historically based story.

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson, read by Dion Graham, Brilliance Audio, 2009, 2 hours, 7 minutes, 2 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4233-9799-1, $39.97.

Through Dion Graham's heartfelt performance, Lonnie Collins shares hopes for peace in letters to his beloved sister, heightening the lyrical narrative of Jacqueline Woodson's story.

Slumdog Millionaire, by Vikas Swarup, read by Christopher Simpson. BBC Audiobooks America, 2009, 10 hours 47 minutes, 9 discs, ISBN: 978-0-7927-6162-4, $89.95

Ram Mohammad Thomas has his own reasons for wanting to win a billion rupees on an Indian quiz show.  For each question he was asked listeners learn how he came to know the answer through the events of his life. Christopher Simpson embodies each character through his splendid accents while showing emotion unique to each person and situation.

Solace of the Road, by Siobhan Dowd, read by Sile Bermingham. Listening Library, 2009, 7 hours 5 minutes, 6 discs, ISBN: 978-0-7393-8591-3, $50.00

Fourteen-year-old Holly Hogan ‘s life is not going the way she wants until she finds “the wig”.  When Holly puts on the blonde wig, she transforms into Solace. Sile Bermingham’s lightly accented soft voice is dead on for this multifaceted teen.

The Spectacular Now, by Tim Tharp, read by MacLeod Andrews. Brilliance Audio, 2009, 8 hours 19 minutes, 7 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4233-9963-6, $87.97

Perpetually drunk and high on life, Sutter Keely struggles to maintain his “live in the now” mantra despite the changes that threaten his relaxed existence. Macleod Andrews’s drawl injects the reading with the happy go lucky, laid back charm that makes Sutter the guy everyone wants to hang with.
 
Tree Girl: A Novel, by Ben Mikaelsen, read by Amber Sealey. Listening Library, 2009, 4 hours 37 minutes, 4 discs, ISBN: 978-0-7393-7265-4, $30.00

Gabi has survived the brutal massacre of her Guatemalan village by hiding in trees. Her harrowing journey to Mexico to build a new life is compellingly portrayed by Amber Sealey’s distant but emotionally charged narration. Based on a true story, the novel depicts the atrocities of genocide.

Wildwood Dancing, by Juliet Marillier, read by Kim Mai Guest. Listening Library, 2008, 12 hours 54 minutes, 11 discs, ISBN: 978-0-7393-7940-0, $50.00

Five sisters enter an enchanted forest each full moon to dance the night away with their magical friends. When the mysterious Night People arrive, their way of life is threatened. Kim Mai Guest's light and lilting voice brings the fantasy and enchantment to life.

Zen and the Art of Faking It, by Jordan Sonnenblick, read by Mike Chamberlain. Listening Library, 2008, 5 hours 35 minutes, 5 discs, ISBN: 978-0-7393-7155-8, $29.00

San has spent most of his life moving from school to school. He's ready to blend in with the background, but then Zen kicks in. Mike Chamberlain’s appropriately wry tone delivers San from clueless to self-aware.