YALSA announces 2005 Audiobooks for Young Adults

The Audiobook and Media Exploration Committee of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announces its Selected List of Audiobooks for Young Adults.


The titles appearing have been selected from the past two years of spoken word releases.   They have been selected for their appeal to a teen audience, the quality of their recording, and because they enhance the audience’s appreciation of any written work on which they may be based.  While the list as a whole addresses the interests and needs of young adults ranging in age from 12 to 18, individual titles may appeal to parts of that range rather than to its whole.


Abomination, by Robert Swindells, narrated by Amanda Hulme, Bolinda, 2004, 3 discs, 3.5 hours, 1-7403-0909-X.

Set in Australia, this story of a family in crisis will keep listeners on edge.   Told in alternating chapters, Hulme captures the voices of both Martha and Scott as they develop a deep and honest relationship.


Al Capone Does My Shirts: A Novel, by Gennifer Choldenko, narrated by Johnny Heller, Recorded Books, 2004, 5 cassettes, 5.75 hours, 1-4025-6409-0.

Moose Flanagan’s family moves to Alcatraz in order to afford a special school for his autistic sister, Natalie, and Al Capone himself may be instrumental in getting her in to the school.   Johnny Heller nails the frustrated but compassionate tone of a twelve year-old in the wonderful character who is Moose Flanagan.


Aleutian Sparrow, by Karen Hesse, narrated by Sarah Jones, Listening Library, 2003, 1 cassette, 1.75 hours, 0-8072-7961-3.

A powerful story based on the real life events of the relocation of the Aleut people during WWII to internment camps.   Narrator Jones captures the heartbreak and the hope of a young Aleut woman, Vera, caught up in the upheaval of her people during this tumultuous time. 


Battle of Jericho, by Sharon M. Draper, narrated by J.D. Jackson, Recorded Books, 2003,   6 cassettes, 8.25 hours, 1-4025-6485-6.

While pursuing membership in the Warriors of Distinction High School Club, Jericho is concerned about the extreme, unsupervised pledge activities of the group.  Jackson's rendition places the listener right in the middle of the pledge scenes. 


Becoming Naomi Leon, by Pam Munoz Ryan, narrated by Annie Kozuch, Listening Library, 2004, 3 cassettes, 4.25 hours, 1-4000-9088-1.

Naomi and her brother Owen have lived happily for the past seven years with their great-grandmother when Naomi’s alcoholic mother Skyla appears, wanting custody of Naomi for all the wrong reasons.  Reader Annie Kozuch communicates both the insincere nature of Skyla and the generous spirit of Naomi.


Blind Beauty, by K. M. Peyton, narrated by Nicki Praull, Bolinda, 2003, 6 cassettes, 9 hours, 1-7409-4250-8.

For most of her young life, 12 year old Tessa has always felt the outcast, unhappy and unloved, until she meets up with an ugly, clumsy thoroughbred named Buffoon.  The narrator takes the listener on a galloping romp with the ups and downs of Tessa, her horse, Buffoon and the racing world.


The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, by Paula Danziger, narrated by Caitlin Brodnick and the Full Cast Audio Family, Full Cast Audio, 2004, 3 discs, 2.75 hours, 1-9320-7656-5.

A young adult classic, this is the story of Marcy, who hates her life until a new English teacher changes her outlook on the world.  Brodnick delivers Marcy’s angst and her humor in a realistic voice.


The Dons, by Archimede Fusillo, narrated by Dino Marnika, Bolinda, 2003, 4 discs, 4 hours, 1-7409-3125-4.

Paul’s grandfather, Nonno, is coming to live with Paul’s family, and Paul is torn between his love for Nonno and his own needs for independence.    Marnika’s dynamic reading is enhanced by lively Italian music. 


Fault Line, by Janet Tashjian, narrated by Clara Bryant and Jason Harris, Listening Library, 2004, 3 cassettes, 4 hours, 0-8072-2082-5.

Seventeen year old Becky thinks that she has a boyfriend and a supportive critic of her stand-up comedy routine, all rolled in to one person, until Kip exhibits ugly, agressive behavior.  Becky’s initial bouncy personality, and her emotional highs and lows, and Kips frightfulness echo through the narrators’ voices wonderfully.


First Part Last, by Angela Johnson, narrated by Khalipa Oldjohn and Kole Kristi, Listening Library, 2004, 1.75 hours, 1 cassette, 1-4000-9066-0.

Sixteen year old Bobby grows to recognize the differences between being

impulsive and being responsible when he becomes a teen father.  Interwoven dialogues communicate both anxiety and love and male listeners will identify with the tumultuous spoken thoughts that travel through Bobby's mind.


Flipped, by Wendelin Van Draanen, narrated by Andy Paris and Carine Montertrand, Recorded Books, 2004, 5 cassettes, 7.25 hours, 1-4025-7307-3.

Julianna has been in love with Bryce since she was eight years old, while Bryce has never seen her as anything other than an embarrassment when the tables suddenly turn.   The two voices are pitch perfect and capture all the angst of unrequited love.


Girl Underground, by Morris Gleitzman, narrated by Mary-Anne Fahey, Bolinda, 2004, 3 discs, 3.5 hours, 1-7409-3526-8.

Smart and scrappy Bridget is accepted into a posh Australian boarding school,  and is determined to keep her not so law abiding family’s business a secret from the other students in school until she meets Menzies.  The narrator’s reading reflects Bridget’s angst and resourcefulness in this timely story dealing with detainees in refugee internment camps.


Golem’s Eye, by Jonathan Stroud, narrated by Simon Jones, Listening Library, 2004, 10 cassettes, 16.5 hours, 0-8072-1979-7.

In book two of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, Nathaniel, older but not wiser, again turns to Bartimaeus for help in stopping a rampaging golem and discovering the identity of its controller, believed to be a member of the resistance against wizards.  Simon Jones does it again as the perfect voice for Bartimaeus.


Grand Canyons, by Donald Davis, August House, 2004, 1 disc, 49 minutes, 9-8748-3739.

Donald Davis tells of a family visit to the Grand Canyon in this captivating example of the tradition storyteller’s art.


Jennifer Government by Max Barry, narrated by Michael Kramer, Books on

Tape, 2003, 6 cassettes, 9 hours, 0-7366-9102-4.

In a future world, big businesses are more powerful than governments and people assume their surnames from the company for whom they work.   Michael Kramer conveys the frenetic pace of business transactions, along with the absurdities of the police force, the NRA and promotional schemes in this clever science fiction tale.


Keesha’s House, by Helen Frost, narrated by multiple readers, Recorded Books, 2004, 2 cassettes, 2.25 hours, 1-4025-9930-7.

Problems at home lead a group of teens to Keesha’s house where a sense of family changes their outlook.  The conversational tone of the sixteen readers belies the unusual construction of the work, composed of sestinas and sonnets.


Keys to the Kingdom series, by Garth Nix, narrated by Allan Corduner, Listening Library.

Mister Monday, 2003, 5 cassettes, 8 hours, 0-8072-1657-7.

Grim Tuesday, 2004, 4 cassettes, 7 hours, 0-8072-1728-X.

Arthur Penhaligon, an unlikely hero, suddenly finds himself thrust into a fantastical world of a magical clock of power, a talking frog and the menacing Mr. Monday.  The narrator gives a riveting performance in this fast-paced adventure fantasy.  Grim Tuesday continues this excellent series.


Kite Rider, by Geraldine McCaughrean,, narrated by Cynthia Bishop and the Full Cast Audio Family, Full Cast Audio, 2004, 6 discs, 6.75 hours, 1-9320-7638-7.

Haoyou’s efforts to support his family after his father suffers a fatal accident wile riding winds above a sea vessel are thwarted by the ship’s captain and a greedy uncle.  Suitable for middle school listeners, the performers’ excellent narration, coupled with musical interludes, makes this a satisfying tale.


Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, narrated by Jeff Woodman, HighBridge Audio, 2003, 7 cassettes, 11.5 hours, 1-5651-1779-4.

Being stranded at sea on a small life raft is scary enough, but to share your raft with a Bengal tiger is a horrifying experience.  Narrator Jeff Woodman captures Pi’s humor, fright, courage, and exuberance as he relates the survival tale of Pi and the tiger named Richard Parker.


Montmorency:   Thief, Liar, Gentleman?, by Eleanor Updale, narrated by Stephen Fry, Listening Library, 2004, 3 cassettes, 5.25 hours, 0-8072-2370-0.

In a life changing moment, a petty thief in Victorian London uses the newly introduced sewer system as a means to incredible riches.  Stephen Fry’s outstanding reading of this gripping adventure is simply delicious!


No Time Like Show Time , by  Michael Hoeye, narrated by   Campbell Scott, Listening Library, 2004, 0-8072-0887-6.

Campbell Scott voices a panopoly of rodents, including watchmaker Hermux, cosmetic baroness Tucka and a disgruntled delivery man/flying squirrel. In this installment, set in the theater world, Hermux must solve the mystery of a long missing actress, while dealing with no end of troublemakers.


Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, narrated by Jim Dale, Brilliance Audio, 2004, 7 discs, 9 hours, 1-5935-5979-8.

Peter Pan’s history is revealed in this gripping fantastical adventure.  Jim Dale’s narration captivates and enthralls as he takes us on the journey to Never Land.


Pirates, by Celia Rees, narrated by Jennifer Wiltsie, Listening Library, 2004, 6 cassettes, 9 hours, 0-8072-2073-6.

As a young woman of the 18th century, Nancy Kington is presented with an arranged marriage to a malevolent Jamaican plantation owner and decides that her life should be her own, escaping to join a band of pirates.  The narrator’s reading reflects the young heroine’s high seas adventure.


Pool Boy, by Michael Simmons, narrated by Chad Lowe, Listening Library, 2004, 3 cassettes, 3.5 hours, 0-8072-2323-9.

When Brett’s father is arrested for a white-collar crime, his materialistic world falls apart and he is forced to take a job working for the man who used to clean his pool.  Narration has a snappy, humorous pace.


The River Between Us, by Richard Peck, narrated by Lina Patel with Daniel Passer, Listening Library, 2004, 3 cassettes, 4 hours, 1-4000-8626-4.

Just prior to the Civil War, 15 year old Tilly Pruitt’s life is turned upside down by the arrival of two mysterious women from New Orleans. The narration portrays the fragile reality of what and who is acceptable - or not - in society’s eyes.


Ruby in the Smoke, by Phillip Pullman, narrated by Anton Lesser, Listening Library, 2004, 4 cassettes, 6.5 hours, 1-4000-8512-8.

The Shadow in the North,   by Philip  Pullman, read by  Anton Lesser,  Listening  Library, 2004, 6 cassettes, 9.5 hours, 1-4000-8971-9.

Young Sally Lockhart unwittingly unleashes a series of events that set into motion a terrifying journey into the corrupt and evil underworld of Victorian London.  The sequel finds Sally older, but still ensnared by nefarious doings.  The narrator deftly plunges the listener into this mystery full of twists and turns.


Shooter, by Walter Dean Myers, narrated by Chad Coleman, Bernie McInerny, and Michelle Santopietro, Recorded Books, 2004, 3 discs, 3.75 hours, 1-4025-8492-X.

Through interviews, transcripts and journal entries, the events leading up to a school shooting are shared by the participants.  Multiple readers allow each of the characters to speak in a unique voice.


The Three Documents That Made America: The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the U.S.A. & The Bill of Rights, written and read by Sam Fink, documents read by Terry Bregy, Audio Bookshelf, 2004, 2 discs, 1.5 hour, 0-9741711-2-3.

Sam Fink's aged voice reminds one of the early settlers who helped form our nation, while Terry Bregy's reading is a majestic interpretation of the words of our founding fathers.


Walking the Choctaw Road, by Choctaw Storyteller Tim Tingle, Cinco Puntos Press, 2004, 0-9383-1782-2.

Storyteller Tingle’s melodious voice weaves together traditional Choctaw legends, historical events and the lives of contemporary Choctaw people.


The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Stephen Briggs, Harper’s Children Audio, 2003, 7 cassettes, 9 hours, 0-0605-6625-6.

A Hat Full of Sky, Terry Pratchett, narrated by Stephen Briggs, Harper Collins Audio, 2004, 8 discs, 9 hours, 0-0607-4768-4.

Armed with only an iron frying pan, practical Tiffany Aching and the six inch tall Nac Mac Feegles - aka The Wee Free Men- set out to rescue Tiffany’s brother and the world from the cruel Queen of the Elves.  Hat Full of Sky continues the rip-roaring adventure.  The contrast between the Wee Free Men’s Scottish brogue and Tiffany’s resolute manner heightens this rollicking adventure.


Members of the 2005 Audiobooks and Media Exploration Committee are:  Carly M. Wiggins, Chair, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Sheila B. Anderson, Dover Public Library, Dover, Delaware; Josephine Caisse, Deschutes Public Library System, Bend, Oregon; LeNee K. Gatton, King County Library System, North Bend and Snoqualmie, Washington; Pamela Spencer Holley, Hallwood, Virginia; Gail A. Richmond,  Scripps Ranch High School, San Diego, California; E.M. Roublow, Los Angeles Public Library, San Pedro, California; Amy E. Spaulding, Long Island University, Brookville, New York; Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, Maryland.


For more information, please visit the YALSA Web site at www.ala.org/yalsa; contact the YALSA office at 312-280-4387; or e-mail, yalsa@ala.org.