2008 Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), today announced its 2008 Selected Audiobooks list. The 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 2008 Selected Audiobooks features a wide range of recordings, with 20 fiction titles and 1 nonfiction title representing diverse genres and styles, including fantasy, historical fiction and adventure. The full list of 19 titles can be found at www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists. The annotated list is available to YALSA members only at www.ala.org/yalsa.

“People say teens don’t listen. But they listen to audiobooks,” said Sarah McCarville, committee chair. “After nearly 400 hours of listening, we know these are the ones teens will be clamoring for.”

Members of the Selected Audiobooks Committee are: Sarah McCarville, chair, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Library; Lee Catalano, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Shari Fesko, Southfield (Mich.) Public Library; LeNee Gatton, Enterprise, Ala.; Julie Halpern-Cordell, Carleton Washburne School, Winnetka, Ill.; Kristin Brand Heathcock, Hillsborough Community College, Plant City, Fla.; Nichole King, Santa Clara County Library, Morgan Hill, Calif.; Emily Jones, Lynnwood, Wash.; Drue Anne Wagner-Mees, Los Angeles Public Library, Brentwood Branch; and Sue-Ellen Beauregard, consultant, Booklist, Chicago, Ill.


Mao's Last Dancer. Li Cunxin, read by Paul English. Bolinda Audio, 2006. 8 hours, 55 minutes. 8 discs, ISBN:1740938208, $64.
Cunxin's life story as a ballet dancer under Mao's control at the Beijing Dance Academy is a moving and fantastic exploration of one man's determination to find freedom. English’s flawless performance enhances this beautiful and simple story.


An Abundance of Katherines. John Green, read by Jeff Woodman. Brilliance Audio, 2006, 7 hours, 6 discs. ISBN: 142332451x or ISBN13: ISBN13: 9781423324515, $82.25.

Colin has been dumped by his nineteenth Katherine and is no longer a “child prodigy” and definitely not an adult genius. His wise-cracking buddy Hassan decides that the cure for Colin's blues is to take a summer road trip. The smart, quirky characters come to life with Jeff Woodman’s gentle, thoughtful interpretation.


Before I Die. Jenny Downham, read by Charlotte Parry. Listening Library, 2007, 7 hours, 10 minutes. 6 discs, ISBN13: ISBN13: 9780739362884, $34.00.


Tessa is dying of cancer and has only a short time to live. Through humor and pain, Tessa takes listeners through her list of things she must do before she dies – sex, drugs, breaking the law – but the list starts to change as Tessa finds that there are more important things she wants to experience. Parry captures every range of emotion that Tessa experiences.


The Black Tattoo. Sam Enthoven, read by John Lee, Listening Library, 2006, 13 hours, 57 minutes, 11 discs, ISBN: 0739336754 or ISBN13: 9780739336755, $50.00.


This intricate fantasy is partly set in modern London and partly set in Hell. Jack follows his friend, Charlie, into Hell in an attempt to save him. Jack, Charlie and their friend, Esme, are pitted against the evil Scourge. If they fail, it will be the end of the universe and all life in it. Lee creates a cast of unique characters.


Bloody Jack, Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship's Boy, by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren, Listen and Live Audio, Inc., 2007. 8 hours, 6 discs, ISBN:1593160941, $29.95.


Jacky is quickly becoming a respected ship's boy aboard the HMS Dolphin. Jacky has a secret that she is struggling to keep from everyone on the ship – she's a girl. Kellgren’s Cockney accent brings this rousing tale to life.


Cupid, by Julius Lester, read by Stephen McKinley Henderson, Listening Library, 2007, 5 hours, 37 minutes, 5 discs, ISBN:0739348507 or ISBN13: 9780739348505, $45.00.


Julius Lester retells this story of Cupid and Psyche in his own inimitable fashion. Henderson was completely into his role of storyteller – funny, dramatic, ironic and delighted to tell you this story.


Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature, by Robin Brande, read by Kaili Vernoff, Listening Library, 2007, 6 hours, 25 minutes, 5 discs, ISBN13: 9780739351435, $45.00.


Ostracized by her friends for doing what she thought was right, Mena – in studying evolution – finds that she can fight for what she believes in. Vernoff’s voice is appropriately young, sweet, and shows growth as Mena finds her way.


Forever in Blue, by Ann Brashares, read by Angela Goethals, Listening Library, 2007, 9 hours, 3 minutes, 7 discs, ISBN: 0739348450 or ISBN13: 9780739348451, $55.00.


Members of the Sisterhood spend the summer apart from each other, but somehow the Pants bring them back together again. A flawless reading infused with true humor and emotion.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale, Listening Library, 2007, 21 hours, 40 minutes, 17 discs, ISBN13: 9780739360415; 12 cassettes, ISBN13: 9780739360408, $79.95.


In his seventh and final year at Hogwarts, Harry and his friends have decided not to return, bound by Professor Dumbledore's dying wish to find and destroy the Horcruxes where He Who Cannot Be Named has stored the pieces of his soul. Once again, Jim Dale does not disappoint – a tour de force.



I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak, read by Marc Aden Gray, Listening Library, 2006, 8 hours, 40 minutes, 7 discs, ISBN: 0739336924 or ISBN13: 9780739336922, $55.00.


The mystery begins when Ed Kennedy receives cards in the mail that help him change people's lives. Gray’s Australian accent and personality make this a wonderful audiobook.


Jazz. By Walter Dean Myers.  Narrated by James “D-Train” Williams and Vaneese Thomas. 43min. Live Oak Media. CS, $25.95 (ISBN13: ISBN13: 9781430100195); CD, $28.95 (ISBN13: ISBN13: 9781430100225).

Original music enhances each poem performed by James “D-Train” Williams and Vaneese Thomas in Walter Dean Myers’ rhythmic tribute to jazz.


Life As We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer, read by Emily Bauer, Listening Library, 2006, 9 hours, 7 discs, ISBN: 0739336835 or ISBN13: 9780739336830, $45.00.


After a meteor collides with the moon and pushes it closer to the Earth, Miranda and her family's lives change drastically. Bauer tells this funny, frightening, realistic story of survival, family and hope.


Mimus, by Lilli Thal, read by Maxwell Caulfield, Listening Library, 2007, 12 hours, 28 minutes, 10 discs, ISBN13: 9780739348659, $70.00.


Prince Florin is taken prisoner by a neighboring kingdom and is forced to become a court jester. Caulfield’s charming accent adds texture and excitement through his great characterizations and varied storytelling.



The Off Season, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, read by Natalie Moore, Listening Library, 2007, 6 hours, 5 discs, ISBN13: 9780739351062, $45.00.


Things are looking up for D.J. Schwenk, football playing heroine of Red Bend, WI when suddenly, “a whole herd of trouble” comes her way. Mooreis D.J. with her sweet voice, upbeat delivery and that Midwestern accent.


Peak, by Roland Smith, read by Ramon de Ocampo, Recorded Books, 2007, 7 hours, 30 minutes, 6 discs, ISBN13: 9781428163560, $66.75; 6 cassettes. ISBN13: 9781428163515, $51.75.


Peak Marcello joins his father on an expedition to Mount Everest so that Peak will be the youngest person ever to reach the summit. De Ocampo puts the listener right in the middle of the action.


The Rules of Survival, by Nancy Werlin, read by Daniel Passer, Listening Library, 2007, 9 hours, 8 minutes, 5 discs, ISBN13: 9780739351154, $30.


The Rules of Survival tells a tale of a family trying to survive in the clutches of an abusive mother. Passer’s calm, measured voice allows the listener to share in their struggles.


Samurai Shortstop, by Alan Gratz, ready by Arthur Morey, Listening Library, 2006, 7 hours, 21 minutes, 6 discs, ISBN: 073933624X, $50.00.


At IshikoSchool, Toyo is being groomed to become a leader of the new Japan but he feels drawn to the bushido code of the samurai. Morey’s narration comes alive on the baseball field, delivering play-by-play with the excitement and enthusiasm of a modern commentator.


Skulduggery Pleasant. By Derek Landy.  Narrated by Rupert Degas. 7.5hr. HarperChildren’s Audio. CD, $27.95 (ISBN13: 9780061341045).

Rupert Degas fleshes out a  cast of characters including a “tweenage” girl, nefarious villains,  and a skeleton detective.  Music and sound effects mirror the mood of this bone-rattling mystery.


Soul Eater: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, Book 3, by Michelle Paver, read by Ian McKellen, Recorded Books, 2007, 6 hours, 45 minutes, 6 discs, ISBN: 1428146091 or ISBN13: 9781428146099, $66.75; 6 cassettes, 1428146040 or ISBN13: 9781428146044, $51.75.


Kidnapped by Soul Eaters, Wolf is taken to the desolate, freezing Far North leaving Torak and Renn to fight for their very survival while trying to save his pack brother. McKellan continues to weave the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.


Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, read by Joel Johnstone and Debra Wiseman, Listening Library, 2007, 6 hours, 15 minutes, 5 discs, ISBN13: 9780739361221, $45.00.


Hannah Baker has left Clay a message - a message for him and the other people who made her life so unbearable that she felt she had no choice but to end it. One of those books that excels in its audio interpretation, two accomplished readers take this very moving story and make it fly.


Treasure Island.  By Robert Louis Stevenson. Narrated by Alfred Molina. 7hr. Listening Library. CD, $55 (ISBN13: 9780739350836).

Stevenson’s pirate classic elegantly unfolds as Alfred Molina’s panoply of accents and the soundscape of the sea place listeners aboard the Hispaniola.


Wintersmith, by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs, Harper Children's Audio, 2006, 8 hours, 30 minutes, 7 discs, ISBN: 0061233366 or ISBN13: 9780061233364 , $29.95.


Crivens! Tiffany Aching has danced with the Wintersmith and he is determined to have her for his bride. Briggs reads quickly, keeping this novel on a breakneck pace.