Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2017
The 2017 Amazing Audiobooks list, comprised of 28 fiction titles and 2 nonfiction titles, features recordings that cover a wide range of interests for young adults from historical fiction, to sci-fi, to realistic fiction.
“After carefully inspecting hundreds of quality audiobook productions, we are excited to present our top picks from this year,” said Chair Emily Farmer. “The list includes a variety of genres and an impressive group of narrators who have a talent for excellent storytelling.”
Members of the 2017 Amazing Audiobooks Committee are: Chair Emily Farmer, Nashville Public Library, Nashville, TN; Claire Covington, Broadway High School Library, Broadway, VA; Janis Fox, Guilford County Schools, High Point, NC; Yolanda Hood, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL; Sara Ray, Simsbury Public Library, Simsbury, CT; Debi Shultz, Centralia School District, Centralia, WA; Melanie Wachsmann, Lone Star College - Cyfair Branch, Cypress, TX; Leah Weyand, Tulsa City-County Library, Tulsa, OK; Bobbie Xuereb, San Diego Public Library, San Diego, CA; and administrative assistant Daniel Tackett, Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest, Vestavia Hills, AL.
*denotes the audio was selected as a top ten
2017 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
*denotes a Top Ten title
The Amazing Book is Not On Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester, read by Dan Howell and Phil Lester. Listening Library, 2016. 4 hours, 30 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-5247-2242-5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, hamsters, anime, and drawing cat whiskers... just a few of the obsessions of British YouTube stars, danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil. Dan and Phil take this visually amazing book and transform it into an even more amazing audiobook.
Unashamed by Lecrae, read by Lecrae. Christianaudio, 2016. 4 hours, 20 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-6338-9776-2. Grammy award winning hip-hop artist Lecrae Moore tells the painful story of his youth, his search for faith, and his successful rise to fame with unflinching honesty and directness. This memoir, narrated by the author and including tracks of his music, is told only as he can tell it.
*Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit, read by Allan Corduner. Listening Library, 2016. 6 hours, 31 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-1018-9181-0. After her father is taken away, Anna and the enigmatic Swallow Man try to survive as the harsh reality of World War II creeps into their lives. Corduner's deep, story-teller voice gives this tale an air of mystery and solemnity.
*Beast by Brie Spangler, read by Andrew Eiden. Blackstone Audio, 2016. 8 hours, 30 minutes; digital. 978-1-5047-4612-0. In this modern Beauty and the Beast story, hairy and oversized Dylan ends up in therapy, where he meets the smart, funny and transgender Jamie. Eiden’s emotion and nuance capture each character’s unique circumstances.
*Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, read by Carla Corvo, MacLeod Andrews, Steve West, and a full cast. Listening Library, 2016. 12 hours, 33 minutes; 11 discs. 978-1-101-91666-7. When their space station is threatened, the captain’s daughter and a mafioso are the best chance for saving their new home. The pace never lets up in this full cast production that drops the listener right in the middle of the action.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds, read by Guy Lockard. Simon & Schuster Audio, 2016. 3 hours, 24 minutes; digital. 978-1-5082-3047-2. When Castle Crenshaw is selected for a track team, he finds that his budding friendships mean more to him than he thought. Lockard gives this story an authenticity that allows the listener to hear Castle's struggles and triumphs through a true teen voice.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, read by a Full Cast. Listening Library, 2016. 3 hours, 38 minutes; 3 discs. 978-0-14-752636-6. The real and gruesome tales from the Brothers Grimm are told by the biggest names in audiobooks. Every curse, every transformation, every chopped off appendage is presented with flourish in one convenient place.
Half Lost by Sally Green, read by Carl Prekopp. Listening Library, 2016. 8 hours, 39 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-1475-2559-8. In the midst of losing the war against the Council of White Witches, Nathan struggles to deal with having become a killer like his father. In this final volume of the Half Bad trilogy, Prekopp’s distinctive accents with enhanced sound effects makes this a listening adventure.
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley, read by Robbie Daymond and Julia Whelan. Listening Library, 2016. 6 hours, 16 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-7352-8579-8. Lisa Praytor wants to earn a psychology scholarship by curing her ex-classmate Sol of his agoraphobia. Daymond and Whelan’s emotional intensity builds with each chapter as the characters test the boundaries of their newly formed friendship.
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven, read by Jorjeana Marie and Robbie Daymond. Listening Library, 2016. 9 hours, 3 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-7352-0750-9. In this love story between Jack and Libby, each must overcome obstacles - the least of which are his face blindness and her weight struggles. Marie and Daymond strike the perfect balance between these two teens as they come together.
The Incident on the Bridge by Laura McNeal, read by Lincoln Hoppe. Listening Library, 2016. 9 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-3995-6460-4. It seems as though Thisbe jumped to her death, but her sister and friends are determined to find out where she really is. Hoppe deftly captures the personalities of the characters in this story told from multiple perspectives.
The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, read by Vika Adam, Mark Bramhall, Jonathan Cowley, Kimberly Farr, Adam Gidwitz, Ann Marie Lee, Bruce Mann, John H Mayer, and Arthur Morey. Listening Library, 2016. 10 hours, 14 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-7352-8736-5. Set in Medieval France, a la The Canterbury Tales, a white greyhound and three unlikely friends unite to escape prejudice and persecution. A full cast of narrators enhance this lively and miraculous adventure.
Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer, read by Ari Fliakos. Listening Library, 2016. 6 hours, 9 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-5247-2210-4. Iron Man is outwitted by a young Irish girl who hacks into his suit in order to free her sister from an orphanage where she is being held captive. Fliakos skillfully handles the many accents while his comedic timing adds a level of fun to the intensity of the book.
*Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky, read by Barrett Wilbert Weed. Scholastic Audio, 2016. 6 hours, 55 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-5459-1104-7. Four fangirls kidnap the least popular member of a famous boy band. Hilarious antics ensue, secrets are revealed, and things that aren't supposed to happen do. Weed’s spot-on voices and heart-felt singing make this an outrageously funny experience.
A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher, read by Melody Grove. Recorded Books, 2015. 7 hours, 15 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4906-8224-2. Fletcher imagines the story of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables from the perspective of Eponine, including her changing relationship with Cosette and her love for Marius. Grove narrates Eponine’s story with great perceptiveness and a delightful French accent.
The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork, read by Frankie Corzo. Scholastic, 2016, 9 hours, 19 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-5459-1093-4. Vicky Cruz wakes up in the psychiatric ward after trying to commit suicide. Here she meets new friends who inspire her to find the strength to carry on. Corzo’s gentle voice connects listeners to Vicky as she recovers and finds the reasons life is worth living.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows, read by Katherine Kellgren. HarperAudio, 2016. 13 hours, 46 minutes; digital. 978-0-0624-6812-3. In this alternate-historical comic fantasy of Tudor England, Lady Jane Grey is unwillingly married off and unwittingly enmeshed in a conspiracy to control the throne. Kellgren prances through this narration with sparkling wit and theatrical attention to detail.
My Name Is Not Friday by John Walter, read by Dion Graham. Scholastic, 2016. 9 hours, 56 minutes; digital. 978-0-5459-1106-1. At the end of the Civil War, free black brothers Samuel and Joshua are living in an orphanage, until Samuel is sold into slavery, which takes readers on a journey that will hopefully lead to freedom once again. Graham’s inflection and pacing make this accessible for readers old and young.
*Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, read by Marc Thompson, Rebecca Soler, January LaVoy, Peter Bradbury, Jonathan Davis, David Pittu, Natalie Gold. HarperAudio, 2016. 2 hours, 16 minutes; digital. 978-0-0625-6280-7. Nimona is a shapeshifter and a sidekick to super villain Lord Blackheart. Mischief escalates into a vicious battle that will expose Nimona's mysterious past as well as the Institution of Heroics. A full cast of narrators and fierce sound effects make this an essential experience.
*Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt, read by Christopher Gebauer. Recorded Books, 2015. 3 hours, 30 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4906-8112-2. Fourteen-year-old Joseph’s foster family helps him process his traumatic life experiences, including his desire to find the baby daughter he’s never met. Gebauer narrates with deeply felt emotion and adroitly handled pacing.
Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland, read by Robbie Daymond. Listening Library, 2016. 8 hours, 2 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-7352-8732-7. Henry Page is happily sailing through his senior year, until broken and mysterious Grace Town is chosen to co-edit the school newspaper with him. Daymond’s character voices will leave readers laughing and crying making this a memorable production.
The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, read by Kyla Garcia. Ideal on Dreamscape Audio, 2016. 7 hours, 14 minutes; digital. 978-1-5200-6088-0. As Castro takes power of Cuba in 1961, Lucia and her brother seek asylum in the United States. Garcia deftly handles various accents and languages perfectly capturing the characters’ fears and hopes for the future.
*Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, read by Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, Michael Crouch. Listening Library, 2016. 8 hours, 48 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-1475-2543-7. In 1945, four teenagers from different countries find their paths have all led to a voyage on the Wilhelm Gustloff, which is based on the true story of the most deadly maritime disaster. Marie, Damon, Morris, and Crouch effectively embody each of their characters making this historical novel unforgettable.
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd, read by Fiona Hardingham. Listening Library, 2016. 4 hours, 58 minutes; 4 discs. 978-0-7352-0776-9. Emmaline lives in a house with other children who suffer from the stillwaters (TB) during World War II. Only she can see the winged horses in the mirrors and one of them desperately needs her help. Hardingham's narration gives this story a hint of childlike wonder mixed with the horror of living with tuberculosis.
The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, read by Jorjeana Marie, Erin Tripp, Karissa Vacker, and Robbie Daymond. Listening Library, 2016. 5 hours, 37 minutes; 5 discs. 978-0-1475-2373-0. Four lives are woven together during the early years of Alaska's statehood - a place that is unlike any other. Ruth, Dora, Alyce, and Hank are all hoping to change their lives and find family along the way. Multiple narrators allow each character to resonate in his or her own voice.
*Star Wars Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston, read by Ashley Eckstein. Listening Library, 2016. 10 hours; digital. 978-1-5247-7757-9. After leaving the Jedi, Ahsoka begins to quietly live her life as a mechanic. When the Empire invades the new planet she has settled on, she gives them more of a fight than they anticipated. Eckstein's high energy narration is enhanced by full movie-like sound effects, making this one out of this world.
Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, read by Kim Mai Guest, MacLeod Andrews, Abby Craden and Cynthia Holloway. Listening Library, 2016. 15 hours, 6 minutes; 12 discs. 978-1-1019-2567-6. Sofia and Gideon want to bring down Laroux Industries and close the rift between their world and that of the Whispers, an alien life form. But to do so, they will have to trust each other as the Starbound Trilogy comes to a satisfying end. Spooky sound effects add to the narrators’ solid character portrayals in this space odyssey.
Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor, read by Robbie Daymond. Listening Library, 2016. 6 hours, 22 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-7352-8799-0. Years after Skip escaped his dysfunctional family to attend boarding school, they locate him, dragging him back into their lies and schemes, where he finds himself wrapped in a murderous plot. Daymond’s Long Island accents construct this perfectly campy story.
*Traffick by Ellen Hopkins, read by Kirby Heyborne, Julia Whelan, Madeleine Maby, Rebekkah Ross, Jacques Roy. Simon & Schuster, 2015. 8 hours, 30 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-5082-1400-7. The sequel to Tricks, this audiobook follows the five teens who have been victimized by the sex trade as they try to face their demons and attempt to change their lives. Multiple narrators give voice to a dark, raw listen that offers a glimmer of hope.
*Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke, read by Michael Crouch, Alicyn Packard, and Caitlin Davies. Listening Library, 2016. 5 hours, 40 minutes; 5 discs. 978-0-3995-6472-7. In this twisty tale of manipulations, Midnight finds himself caught between two girls - one who is lost, the other who creates her own story. Crouch, Packard and Davies work together beautifully in this atmospheric mystery, bringing depth to each of the characters.