2007 Selected Audiobooks
Accidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde Johnson, read by Jenna Lamia, Listening Library, 2006, 5 hours, 41 minutes, 5 discs, 978-0-7393-3562-8 or 0-7393-3562-6, $45.00, 4 cassettes, 978-0-7393-3571-0 or 0-7393-3571-5, $35.00. Seventeen-year-old Jean begins to question her role in the world while attending a summer camp for children with disabilities. Lamia skillfully portrays both the interior voice and exterior (disabled) voice of Jean, as well as those of other disabled campers.
Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel, read by David Kelly and the Full Cast Family, Full Cast Audio, 2006, 10.5 hours, 10 discs, CD Economy 978-1-933322-53-7 or 1-933322-53-5, $45.00, CD Binder 978-1-933322-54-4 or 1-933322-54-3, $57.00. Matt, a cabin boy aboard the great airship Aurora, rescues a hot air balloonist who dies ranting about flying mammals sending Matt and the balloonist’s granddaughter on an exciting and dangerous quest. Narration by Kelly and the Full Cast Family keeps the suspense building and makes the characters real.
Anansi Boys , by Neil Gaiman, read by Lenny Henry, HarperAudio, 2005, 10 hours, 8 discs, 978-0-06-082384-9 or 0-06-082384-4, $39.95. Fat Charlie's life takes a decidedly peculiar turn when he discovers that his recently deceased father was the trickster god, Anansi. Humor, greed, and supernatural goings-on combined with Lenny Henry's brilliant characterizations make this a perfect choice for high school listeners.
Best Foot Forward , by Joan Bauer, read by Kathe Mazur, Listening Library, 2005, 4 hours and 35 minutes, 4 discs, 978-0-307-24629-5 or 0-307-24629-9, $38.00, 3 cassettes, 978-0-307-24612-4 or 0-307-24612-4, $30.00. Jenna accepts the responsibility of her new job at a shoe store and matures as she deals with a reckless, irresponsible new hire. Mazur’s clear narration sounds perfectly teen-like, enhancing the reality of the story, making it believable and authentic.
Blood Red Horse: Book One of the deGranville Trilogy , by K.M. Grant, read by Maggie Mash, Recorded Books, 2005, 9.75 hours, 9 discs, 1-419-3560-62, $94.75, 7 cassettes, 1-419-3511-5X, $65.75. A remarkable horse changes the lives of all who come close to him in this sweeping saga of the Crusades. Mash's narration takes a richly imagined historical landscape and makes this enormous mélange of themes seem very intimate.
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life , by Dana Reinhardt, read by Mandy Siegfried, Listening Library, 2006, 5.5 hours, 5 discs, 978-0-307-28566-9 or 0-307-28566-9, $45.00, 4 cassettes, 978-0-307-28565-2 or 0-307-28565-0, $45.00. When 16-year-old Simone meets her biological mother Rivka, she learns about her own history as well. Full of teen angst, emotions, and doubts and a narrator who employs just the right voice and pacing.
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, by Michelle Paver, read by Ian McKellan,
Wolf Brother, trade edition: HarperChildren’s Audio, 2005, 6.5 hours, 6 discs, 97-80-06-075838-7 or 0-06-075838-4, $27.95, library edition: Recorded Books, 2005, 6 discs, 1-419-3380-80, $64.75, 5 cassettes, 1-419-3262-60, $49.75.
Spirit Walker , Recorded Books, 2006, 6 hours, 5 discs, 1-419-3937-90, $49.75, 4 cassettes, 1-419-3937-4X, $39.75. Torak must seek his prophetic future in a prehistoric, magical world. McKellan’s voice is like a musical instrument in this unvoiced reading that relies entirely on pitch, pacing, and inflection for the differentiation of characters and the creation of remarkable atmosphere.
Dairy Queen: A Novel , by Catherine Murdock, read by Natalie Moore, Listening Library, 2006, 6 hours, 9 minutes, 5 discs, 978-0-7393-3612-0 or 0-7393-3612-6, $45.00, 4 cassettes, 978-0-7393-3611-3 or 0-7393-3611-8, $35.00. With her father recovering and her mother working as a school principal, D.J. is forced to take over all of the back-breaking farm labor. Moore’s authentic Midwestern voicing captures D.J.’s innocence, first love, passion for football, and sarcastic humor.
The Death Collector , by Justin Richards, read by Steven Pacey, Listening Library, 2006, 7 hours and 29 minutes, 6 discs, 978-0-7393-3564-2 or 0-7393-3564-2, $50.00, 5 cassettes, 978-0-7393-3572-7 or 0-7393-3572-3, $40.00. Three young people attempt to stave off diabolical world domination plotted by a wealthy industrialist. Pacey takes the Victorian mystery, horror, and melodrama to great heights in this gripping, partially-voiced performance that leaves listeners on the edge of their seats.
Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin, read by Cassandra Morris, Listening Library, 2005, 7 hours and 3 minutes, 6 discs, 978-0-307-28370-2 or 0-307-28370-4, $40.00, 4 cassettes, 978-0-307-28369-6 or 0-307-28369-0, $28.00 . Killed by a hit-and-run driver, 15-year-old Liz Hall finds herself in a place that is both like and unlike Earth, where she must adjust to her new status and figure out how to "live." Filled with thought provoking imagery this novel is enlivened by Morris's heartfelt narration.
Gatekeepers series , by Anthony Horowitz, read by Simon Prebble, Recorded Books
Raven’s Gate: Book One , 2005, 7.25 hours, 6 discs, 1-419-3555-38, $64.75, 5 cassettes, 1-419-3504-98, $49.75.
Evil Star: Book Two , 2006, 9 hours, 8 discs, 1-428-1102-83, $84.75, 8 cassettes, 1-428-1102-32, $59.75.
Matt is a troubled 14-year-old boy learning to deal with a dangerous gift. Prebble’s outstanding narration keeps the tension high and the adventure moving right along in these two installments of a series with all the right ingredients: magic, action, and suspense.
Gingerbread, by Rachel Cohn, read by Carine Montbertrand, Recorded Books, 2005, 6 hours, 5 discs, 1-428-1303-22, $49.75, 4 cassettes, 1-419-3513-38, $39.75.
Shrimp , by Rachel Cohn, read by Carine Montbertrand, Recorded Books, 2006, 10 hours, 9 discs, 1-419-3679-35, $94.75, 7 cassettes, 1-419-3525-04, $65.75.
Follow the exploits of off-beat San Francisco teen Cyd Charisse as she searches for the meaning of life. Montbertrand flawlessly expresses the voice of a sensitive teen "hellion" in two touching, irreverent, and clever tales.
Heat, by Mike Lupica, read by Paolo Andino, Listening Library, 2006, 6 hours, 6 discs, 978-0-307-28598-0 or 0-307-28498-7, $45.00, 4 cassettes, 978-0-307-28597-3 or 0-307-28597-9, $35.00. Michael Arroyo's dream is to make it to the Little League World series and play on the same field as his beloved Yankees. Listeners will instantly connect with the characters that Andino fills with personality and originality.
The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney, read by Christopher Evan Welch,
Revenge of the Witch , trade edition: HarperChildren’s Audio, 2005, 5.25 hours, 5 discs, 978-0-06082402-0 or 0-06-082402-6, $25.95, library edition: Recorded Books, 2006, 5 discs, 1-419-3844-65, $49.75, 5 cassettes, 1-419-3844-14, $49.75.
Curse of the Bane , trade edition: HarperChildren’s Audio, 8 hours, 7 discs, 978-0-06-114042-6 or 0-06-114042-2, $29.95, library edition: Recorded Books, 2006, 1-428-1170-91, $74.75, 7 cassettes, 1-428-1170-40, $49.75. Thomas Ward is a Spook’s apprentice; he sees things others can’t see, he must rid the towns of all things nasty, ghostly and ghastly, and he will learn to live a life of solitude. Welch does an extraordinary job of bringing every character to life, creating the perfect sweet and urgent voice for the main character and many distinctive and eerie voices for the other characters.
Looking for Alaska, by John Green, read by Jeff Woodman, Brilliance Audio, 2006, 7 hours, 6 discs, 978-1-4233-2445-4 or 1-4233-2445-5, $82.25, 1 MP3-CD, 978-1-4233-2447-8 or 1-4233-2447-1, $39.25. One boy's story of his first year away at boarding school, filled with new friends, pranks, and tragedies. Woodman captures the essence of Miles Halter and his situation, leaving listeners stunned and heart broken.
Perfect, by Natasha Friend, read by Danielle Ferland, Recorded Books, 2005, 4 discs, 4.5 hours, 1-419-3701-89, $48.75, 3 cassettes, 1-419-3701-38, $28.75. Following the death of her father, 13-year-old Isabelle uses bulimia as a way to avoid grief. Ferland’s narration accurately portrays Isabelle’s journey to recovery.
Private Peaceful, by Michael Morpurgo, read by Jeff Woodman, Recorded Books, 2005, 5.25 hours, 5 discs, 1-419-3561-43, $49.75, 4 cassettes, 1-419-3297-74, $39.75. Thomas Peaceful and his older brother Charlie do everything together in their small English village before World War I takes over their lives. Woodman’s fully-voiced reading portrays the nuances of Tommo’s development in a series of flashbacks that give a powerful glimpse at the horrific effects of war.
Ptolemy's Gate: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book Three, by Jonathan Stroud, read by Simon Jones, Listening Library, 2006, 15 hours and 33 minutes, 13 discs, 978-0-307-28572-0 or 0-307-28572-3, $85.00, 10 cassettes, 978-0-307-28571-3 or 0-307-28571-5, $65.00. Nathaniel has become an influential government minister, but things are not going well and he has worn Bartimaeus to within an inch of his essence. Jones expertly reprises his roles as the supercilious Nathaniel, the thoughtful Kitty, and the supremely sarcastic djinni, Bartimaeus.
The Ranger’s Apprentice series, by John Flanagan, read by John Keating, Recorded Books.
The Ruins of Gorlan, 2006, 7.75 hours, 7 discs, 1-419-3939-95, $74.75, 6 cassettes, 1-419-3939-44, $59.75.
The Burning Bridge, 2006, 8.5 hours, 7 discs, 1-428-1105-34, $74.75, 7 cassettes, 1-428-1104-88, $59.75.
Will, a 15-year-old orphan and ward of the castle, has always dreamed of battleschool. Instead, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger, Halt. Keating sets the narrative pace effectively, creates distinct characters, and injects a great deal of humor into the story.
Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, read by Robert Ramirez, Listening Library, 2006, 9 hours, 7 minutes, 8 discs, 978-0-307-28592-8 or 0-307-28592-8, $60.00, 6 cassettes, 978-0-307-28591-1 or 0-307-28591-X, $45.00. In late 1960's New Mexico, Sammy struggles with love, school, and everyday relationships while trying to figure out where he's headed in life as his friends get drafted, succumb to drugs, and fight the establishment. Listeners will find themselves rooting for these barrio kids, brought to left by Ramirez’s authentic interpretation.
So Much to Tell You, by John Marsden, read by Kate Hosking, Bolinda Audio, 2005, 3 hours and 25 minutes, 3 discs, 1-7409-3719-8, $28.00. She watches; she dreams. She sees more than they realize. She has worries and fears, hopes and desires. She may be someone you know. Hosking’s straightforward teen voice stays with the listener long after the story ends.
Stop the Train! by Geraldine McCaughrean, read by Ellen Myrick and the Full Cast Family, Full Cast Audio, 2005, 7 hours and 50 minutes, 8 discs, CD Economy: 978-1-933322-42-1 or 1-933322-42-X, $39.00, CD Binder: 978-1-933322-43-8 or 1-933322-43-8, $48.00. Pioneers struggle to survive the Oklahoma Land Rush when the railroad refuses to connect their town with the rest of the country. A full cast of talented narrators and rousing musical accompaniment takes listeners back in time to the settling of the West.
Travel Team, by Mike Lupica, read by Oliver Wyman, Listening Library, 2005, 7 hours and 6 minutes, 6 discs, 978-0-307-28377-1 or 0-307-28377-1, $50.00, 4 cassettes, 978-0-307-28376-4 or 0-307-28376-3, $35.00. Cut from the traveling basketball team for being too short, Danny learns his true worth as a player when his absentee father returns to coach a team of misfits. Wyman’s reading transports listeners courtside as the sports action unfolds.
Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, read by Ilyana Kadushin, Listening Library 2005, 13 hours, 11 discs, 978-0-307-28296-5 or 0-307-28296-1, $75.00, 8 cassettes, 978-0-307-28295-8 or 0-307-28295-3, $55.00. Seventeen-year-old Bella is sure there will be nothing to do in Forks, Washington, living with her father until she meets Edward—incredibly handsome and, perhaps, not quite human. Kadushin’s understated performance adds just the right touch to this delicious vampire tale.
Urchin of the Riding Stars: The Mistmantle Chronicles, Book One, by M. I. McAllister, read by Andrew Sachs, Listening Library, 7.5 hours, 6 discs, 978-0-307-20677-0 or 0-307-20677-7, $50.00, 4 cassettes, 978-1-4000-9897-2 or 1-4000-9897-1, $35.00. On a night of "Riding Stars"—an event that always seems to warn of "something big"—an orphaned squirrel falls from the sky and is adopted by the creatures of Mistmantle. Sachs does an extraordinary job bringing a whole forest full of swashbuckling critters to life.
The Witch’s Boy, by Michael Gruber, read by Denis O’Hare, HarperChildren’s Audio, 2005, 8 hours, 7 discs, 978-0-06078596-3 or 0-06-078596-9, $29.95. A grotesque foundling, longing for riches and revenge, turns against the witch who sacrificed her magic to raise him. O’Hare’s matter-of-fact narration gives voice to Lump and his adoptive mother and their inability to express their love for each other.
The Wrong Hands, by Nigel Richardson, read by Euan Morton, Listening Library, 2006, 7 hours and 6 minutes, 6 discs, 978-0-7393-3608-3 or 0-7393-3608-8, $50.00, 5 cassettes, 978-0-7393-3607-6 or 0-7393-3607-X, $40.00. British teen Graham Sinclair was born with grotesque hands that hold a strange and mysterious talent. Morton’s accurate Yorkshire accent makes a good story great, beautifully portraying a bright, observant, yet somewhat naïve young man.