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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 SF/Fantasy Novels for Youth on Audio
This roundup of outstanding audiobooks (including some award winners) includes titles for both the younger crowd and teens. In addition to genre, the audios share common threads of compelling stories, excellent readers, and stellar production values.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. By Lewis Carroll. Read by Miriam Margolyes. 2010. 3hr. Bolinda, CD, $54.95 (9781742147130).
Margolyes breathes new life into Carroll’s fanciful masterpiece through her British accent and varying vocal tones that distinguish the familiar, eccentric characters.
Graceling. By Kristin Cashore. Read by David Baker. 2009. 12.5hr. Full Cast, CD, $65 (9781934180709).
Lady Katsa and Prince Po try to unseat a murderous king in this many-layered fantasy adventure, read by a full cast, including Chelsea Mixon as Katsa; Zachary Exton as Po; Tim Green as King Leck; and Tate Green as young Prince Bitterbue. Suspenseful music and sound effects are a bonus.
The Graveyard Book. By Neil Gaiman. Read by the author. 2008. 8hr. Recorded Books, CS, $56.75 (9781436158794); CD, $77.75 (9781436158848).
Mood-enhancing background music, including an arrangement of “Danse Macabre,” accents Gaiman’s memorable reading of his 2010 Newbery Award winner, a gothic tale of murder, lost love, and friendship.
The Hunchback Assignments. By Arthur Slade. Read by Jayne Entwistle. 2009. 7hr. Listening Library, CD, $45 (9780739380222).
This ripping yarn, in which a troubled 13-year-old hunchback with shape-shifting powers is embroiled in dark intrigue and technology, is read by Entwistle in warm, raspy-edged tones and a subtle British accent.
The Knife of Never Letting Go. By Patrick Ness. Read by Nick Podehl. 2010. 12hr. Brilliance, CD, $69.97 (9781441889003).
Podehl reads this 2011 Odyssey Honor title, a violent and shocking tale of secrets and deceits, with an intensity that matches hero Todd, the last boy in a place without women, where males’ thoughts are heard aloud.
The Magician’s Elephant. By Kate DiCamillo. Read by Juliet Stevenson. 2010. 3hr. Brilliance, CD, $49.97 (9781441889058).
Stevenson’s rich, hushed tones evoke the magical atmosphere of this novel, in which Peter’s discovery that an elephant will lead him to his sister, who he believed was dead, sets off a string of developments and consequences.
The Marbury Lens. By Andrew Smith. Read by Mark Boyett. 2010. 11hr. Brilliance, CD, $74.97 (9781441888402).
Sixteen-year-old Jack and his best buddy travel to England, where Jack receives a pair of glasses that reveal a vision of the deeply disturbing wasteland of Marbury. Boyett infuses Jack with an impulsive adolescent cadence in this memorable production.
Mockingjay. By Suzanne Collins. Read by Carolyn McCormick. 2010. 12hr. Scholastic, CD, $84.99 (9780545101448).
Emotions run strong in this stunning conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy. McCormick distinguishes a rich cast of survivors and scoundrels in this exceptional audio that matches the powerful tale.
The Red Pyramid. By Rick Riordan. Read by Kevin R. Free and Katherine Kellgren. 2010. 15hr. Brilliance, CD, $72.97 (9781441850966).
Kellgren and Free respectively portray siblings Sadie and Carter, whose Egyptologist father blows up the Rosetta Stone and becomes entombed by an evil god, setting the kids on a quest to free their father. A rollicking adventure graced by excellent narrators.
The True Meaning of Smekday. By Adam Rex. Read by Bahni Turpin. 2010. 10.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $65 (9780307711120).
A wisecracking alien and an eighth-grader with attitude join forces to save the world in this 2011 Odyssey Award winner. Turpin not only channels the youngster’s sassy attitude but also seamlessly switches gears to reflect the alien’s voice, complete with throat tics and tongue clicks.
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