Updated October 1, 2016
Amazing Audiobooks Nominations
13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison, read by Nicola Barber. Hachette Audio, 2016. 7 hours, 58 minutes; digital. 978-1-4789-1083-1. Thirteen year old Tanya has the ability to hear and see fairies. She spends her summer with her grandmother at Elvesden Manor where she meets many different creatures including Morwenna, a girl who disappeared 50 years ago into the fairy world. Barber does an excellent job sharing this magical world with listeners.
Adventures from the Land of Stories by Chris Colfer, read by Chris Colfer. Hachette Audio, 2015. 3 hours; 4 discs. 978-1-4789-6005-8. Queen Little Red Riding Hood has some tips on how to be a beloved royal and Mother Goose gives you the story behind the stories in her personal diary that spans 500 years of history. Both of these tales are given the royal treatment by the author and narrator, Chris Colfer.
Amazing Book is Not On Fire, The 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. What do Buffy the Vampire Slayer, hamsters, anime, and drawing cat whiskers have in common? They are the just a few of the obsessions of two British YouTube stars, @danisnotonfire and @AmazingPhil. Dan and Phil take this visually amazing book and turn it into an even more amazing audiobook.
Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savrit, read by Allan Corduner. Listening Library, 2016. 6 hours, 31 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-1018-9183-4. After her father is taken away, Anna finds herself being cared for by a mysterious man she calls the Swallow Man. They travel the countryside to stay safe during WWII, but the harsh reality of the war constantly creeps in. 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. 8.5 hours. 978-1-5047-4612-0. A Beauty and the Beast story for our times. Beefy and oversized Dylan is not your average 15 year old and when he ends up in therapy after jumping off a roof he meets Jamie who is smart and funny and transgender. The individual characters come to life in their own flawed and imperfect ways and the listener roots for each of them to be okay. A story that is told with great heart.
Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel, read by Luci Christian. Blackstone Audio, 2015. 10 hours; 8 discs. 978-1-5046-5670-2. Sarah has always loved astronomy, but stands firmly in the shadow of her older sister who is leaving soon for Juilliard. For one summer, she pretends to be more like her sister and finds new friends, love, and a mess that she has to take ownership of. With the Cape Cod setting and Christian's light and easy tone, this is the perfect audiobook for summer.
Big Wish by Brandon Robshaw, read by Brandon Robshaw. Recorded Books, 2015. 2 hours, 45 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-5019-2763. Sam has been granted one million wishes and this is not as simple as it seems. He is generous to his family, friends and the world but not all wishes work out as he thought and life gets very complicated when you can have anything.
Bitter Side of Sweet, The by Tara Sullivan read by J.D. Jackson. Tantor, 2016. 9 hours, 30 minutes. 8 discs. 978-1-5159-0113-6. Amadou and his brother, Seydou, tricked into slavery on a cacao plantation in the Ivory Coast, have lost all hope of paying off their debts and returning home. However, when Khadija, the only girl on the plantation, keeps fighting for her freedom against all odds, Amadou realizes he must recover hope and courage so that all three have a chance at escape. Jackson gives the subject matter the weight it deserves with his melodious tones and light African accents.
Casquette Girls by Alys Arden, read by Kate Rudd. Brilliance Audio, 2015. 17 hours, 48 minutes; 14 discs. 978-1-5113-2740-4. Adele returns to her beloved New Orleans after a hurricane only to accidently release vampires who are equally destructive. Rudd nimbly switches from French to Italian to island dialects in this gothic, paranormal, mystery romance adding depth and understanding to a dark historical look at the city’s mythologies.
Conjurer’s Riddle, The by Andrea Cremer read by Leslie Bellair Dreamscape Media, 2016. 7 hours, 8 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-6814-1889-6. In this steampunk sequel to The Inventor's Secret, Charlotte and her band of friends have left the catacombs and are headed to New Orleans where they will aid the resistance. But, as they get closer to New Orleans, and actually there, they realize that their friend, Grave is highly sought after by the current government and the resistance. Now, Charlotte has several reasons to question whether either side is worth fighting and dying for. Bellair’s expressive voice lends excitement to this story.
Demon Dentist, by David Walliams, read by David Walliams, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Nitin Ganatra. Harper Audio, 2016. 4 hours, 38 minutes; digital. 987-0-062404398-4. Who doesn't have a fear of dentists? A wacky cast of characters including a tooth witch, a dying father, an odd duck boy, his girl friend (yes girl and friend, of which we are reminded repeatedly) a foreign social worker and let the charades (to be read with a british accent - as this is a British book with Brit wit) begin.
Don’t Stay Up Late by R. L. Stine, read by Brittany Pressley. MacMillan Audio, 2015. 6 hours, 45 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4272-5816-8. A teenager takes a babysitting job on Fear Street, where everything is not as it seems. As she faces horror after horror, she must decide what is real, who can be trusted--and whether or not it’s already too late to save herself and her young charge.
Girl with the Wrong Name, The by Barnabas Miller, read by Ali Ahn. Recorded Books, 2016. 8 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-5019-1111-8. Theo Lane’s world changes the night she was attacked and left with a scar across her face. Withdrawing from her friends, Theo finds refuge in secretly documenting strangers; then she meets Andy. Ahn utilizes text cues and a variety of accents to thoroughly immerse readers into the story.
Glittering Court, The by Richelle Mead, read by Kristen Sieh. Listening Library, 2016. 13 hours; 11 discs. 978-0-4514-8594-6. The Glittering Court may turn pretty young maids into wives fit for the newly rich men in the New World, but the Countess of Rothford hopes it will provide her with an escape from her own unhappy life. Sieh’s undeniable talent for accents shines in this story of romance and danger.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, read by a Full Cast. Listening Library, 2016. 3 hours, 38 minutes; 3 discs. 978-0-14-752638-0. 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. 978-0-1475-2561-1. In this third and final volume, Nathan and the rest of the Alliance are losing the war against the Council of White Witches. Nathan is struggling deal with being a killer like his father and his vision which shows him killing even more. Prekopp’s narration with distinctive accents and attention to text clues and along with 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. 978-0-7352-8581-1. Lisa Praytor wants out of her small town and her family situation, and she's going to do that by earning a psychology scholarship to the second best psychology program in the U.S. Now, she just has to convince her former classmate, Sol, who has not left his house for three years, to join the world again. This is a solid production that intensifies with emotion with each chapter.
How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mathers, read by Adriana Mathers. Listening Library, 2016. 10 hours, 34 minutes; 9 discs. 978-0-1475-2109-5. Descendants of the Salem Witch Trials are dying and Samantha Mather has the power to stop the curse if she can piece together the clues in time. Author Adriana Mathers voices an impressive range of characters with passion and an intensity that makes this audio impossible to turn off.
Incident on the Bridge, The by Laura McNeal, read by Lincoln Hoppe. Listening Library, 2016. 9 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-3995-6462-8. Thisbe disappears one night after standing on a bridge notorious for suicide jumpers. Her sister and friends know that she wouldn't have jumped, but they have to follow the clues to find her. Hoppe excels here with the multiple perspective story - especially when one of those is a man who has had a break with reality.
Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, The 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; discs. 978-07352-8738-9. Not your ordinary adventure story. Set in Medieval France a la The Canterbury Tales. We follow the tale as our story unfolds. Storytelling at its best and read by a full cast. Who could resist the story of a king, a dragon, a white greyhound and three unlikely friends who unite to escape prejudice and persecution?
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 girls kidnap the least liked 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 accents and heart-felt singing make this a truly comedic experience.
Last Bogler, The by Catherine Jinks, read by Mandy Williams. Listening Library, 2016. 7 hours, 46 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-399-56837-4. Victorian London is being overrun by bogles and Alfred Bunce along with his assistants knows how to get rid of them, if the Sewer Office will let them. Williams entertains listeners with lively singing and engaging characters in this companion novel to A Plague of Bogles.
Last Execution, The by Jesper Wung-Sung, read by Graham Rowat. Recorded Books, 2016. 2 hours, 30 minutes; 2 discs. 978-1-5019-2761-4. Here are the last 12 hours before 15 year old Neils, who has been convicted of arson and murder, is executed. Rowat handles the multiple points of view simply, while using more complex voices for more complex characters, in a novel that is both chilling and thought provoking.
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart, read by Ryan Gesell and Michael Crouch. Listening Library, 2016. 8 hours, 48 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-4514-8196-2. When Lily Jo McGruther, born into a boy’s body and almost ready to publicly reveal who she really is, meets bipolar Norbert “Dunkin” Dorfman, it’s the start of a rocky road to a much-needed friendship. Crouch and Gesell’s empathetic performances are worthy of this important story.
Little in Love, A 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 Miserable 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.
Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger, read by Moira Quirk. Hachette Audio, 2015. 10 hours; 9 discs. 978-1-4789-6182-6. In this final book of the Finishing School series, the intelligencers from Mademoiselle Geraldine’s must finally snuff out the Picklemen. Sophronia and her friends are the last line of defense to save to school! Quirk’s ability to do a wide range of accents allows the many characters in this story to shine.
Memory of Light, The 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 of Lakeview Hospital after trying to commit suicide. She meets new friends who inspire her to find the strength to carry on. Inspired in part by the author's own experience with depression. Corzo’s gentle voice will connect listeners to Vicky as she recovers and finds the reasons why life is worth living.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows. 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 Download. 978-0-5459-1106-1. It’s the end of the Civil War and brothers, Samuel and Joshua, are free black boys living in an orphanage. When Samuel takes the blame for one of Joshua’s tricks, he is sold into slavery, taking readers on a journey that will hopefully lead to freedom once again. Dion’s use of textual clues and pacing makes this a historical fiction for readers old and young.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, read by Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, Michael Crouch. Listening Library, 2015. 8 hours, 48 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-1475-2545-1. In 1945, four teenagers from different countries find their paths have all lead 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.
Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher, read by Jayne Entwistle. Hachette Audio, 2016, 9 hours, 21 minutes. 978-1-4789-4171-2 15-year old Tess discovers via a blog on her “dad’s” computer that she was the product of a sperm donor and that her father didn’t want her. This bombshell turns her life upside down and “Mr. Goldfish” – a flashlight, becomes her confidante through internal stream of consciousness as she goes silent.
Siren, The by Kiera Cass, read by Arielle DeLisle. Harper Collins, 2016. 6 hours, 44 minutes. Audible Digital Edition. 978-0-0624-6483-5. Kahlen should have drowned with her family but she was turned into a Siren to serve the Ocean, now she wants to be free. DeLisle lyrically pulls the listener in as she voices the Siren sisters and puts power and passion into her narration of the maternal Ocean.
Skeleton Tree, The by Iain Lawrence, read by Christopher Gebauer. Recorded Books, 2016. 7 hours, 45 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-5019-0222-2. Christopher and Frank go on a sailing trip with their Uncle Jack but when the boat capsizes the boys find themselves stranded on the coast of Alaska. Lawrence breathes mystery into a story that will captivate readers who have enjoyed books like Hatchet or Lord of the Flies.
Smell of Other People’s Houses, The 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 weaved 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.
Soundless by Richelle Mead, read by Kim Mai Guest. Listening Library, 2016. 8 hours, 19 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-1019-2546-1. When Fei regains her hearing--lost to her mountaintop people generations earlier--she knows she has a chance to seek help at last by descending to the kingdom at its base. Guest’s unvarnished narration gives beautiful voice to a people without speech.
Summerlost by Ally Condie, read by Phoebe Strole. Listening Library, 2016. 4 hours, 53 minutes; 4 discs. 978-0-3995-6608-0. It's been a year since twelve year old Cedar lost her father and younger brother to a car accident. Her mother buys a summer home in her hometown, where Cedar and her brother, Miles, meet Leo. Cedar joins Leo in working at the Summerlost theater festival where they piece together clues about the short and tragic life of one the actors. Strole tells Cedar’s story with compassion and excitement.
Symptoms of Being Human, by Jeff Garvin, read by Tom Phelan. Harper Audio, 2016. 7 hours, 45 minutes; digital. 978-0-3995-6608-0. Riley is the child of a congressman and is gender fluid. This gets explained in the book, and like Riley's parents it was a new term for me as well. We see the world in which Riley navigates with fear and trepidation in school and at home. And we experience his life as a public figure and as someone trying to "fit" in a world where he will never blend in. Sincere narration brings this troubled character to life with kindness and compassion.
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, read by Jorjeana Marie. Listening Library, 2016. 8 hours 55 minutes. 7 discs. 978-0-1475-2129-3. When Jessie’s dad marries and moves them from Chicago to Los Angeles, she IMs with the mysterious Somebody/Nobody to feel like she has a friend. Marie reads with authentic voices and complex emotion, convincing the listener that SN is an ally.
Terrible Typhoid Mary by Susan Campbell Baroletti, read by Donna Postel. Dreamscape, 2015. 3 hours, 20 minutes. 3 discs. 978-1-6814-1513-0. We have all probably used the term Typhoid Mary, but, now we get the inside story in a well researched, non-fiction book that reads like a drama and a mystery. The story of Mary Mallon comes to life with this telling especially when the narrator speaks in Mary’s voice.
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. 978-1-101-92567-6. Sofia and Gideon want to bring down Laroux Industries and close the rift between their world and the world 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.
Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor, read by Robbie Daymond. Listening Library, 2016. 6 hours, 22 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-7352-8799-0. Cam/Skip was raised by a family who taught him the ins and outs of lying, cheating and stealing. He his has other plans for his future like Princeton and Clare. But, his family has different plans for him and Uncle Wonderful has come to bring him back to “the family”.
This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, read by Nick Podehl, Whitney Dykhouse, Kate Rudd, Lauren Ezzo, Amy McFadden, Brittany Pressley, and Scott Merriman. Brilliance Audio, 2016. 6 hours, 13 minutes. 5 discs. 978-1-5113-2340-6. A whole school can be changed in a matter of minutes. Told from the perspective of four students, this tale of a school shooting gives us a peek into the horror and desperation of the victims. A full cast of narrators allows the voices of each student to show the confusion and terror masterfully.
This Way Home by Wes Moore, Shawn Goodman, read by J.D. Jackson. Listening Library, 2015. 7 hours, 28 minutes. 6 discs. 978-1-101-91735-0. Elijah Thomas wants his basketball team to win the tournament, it's what he has worked hard for and what will get him into college on a scholarship. His teammate wants them to wear the street gang's colors at the game. Jackson passionately shares Elijah story about staying strong to fight for what is right.
Traffick by Ellen Hopkins, read by Kirby Hayborne, Julia Whelan, Madeleine Maby, Rebekkah Ross, Jaques Roy. Simon & Schuster, 2016. 8 hours, 30 minutes. 7discs. 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.
What Elephants Want by Eric Dinerstein, read by Kirby Heyborne. Recorded Books, 2016. 6 hours, 45 minutes. 6 discs. 978-1-5019-2636-5. Nandu was abandoned as a small child in Nepal and taken in by the head of a royal elephant stable. When that stable is threatened years later, Nandu takes it upon himself to save the elephants and keep his family together. Heyborne's narration distinctly exhibits the rhythm of life at the stables and the upheaval of the time in Nepal.
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. 978-0-3995-6474-1. Midnight is caught between two girls in a dark, mysterious fairytale with more questions then answers. Crouch, Packard and Davies work together beautifully in this emotional mystery, bringing clarity and depth to the characters.