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Find more Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
The 2019 Amazing Audiobooks list was curated from a complete list of 62 nominated titles and comprises 39 titles total. The list has titles that run from adult nonfiction with teen appeal to social justice, fantasy, science fiction, and realistic fiction. The top 10 choices are indicated by a star.
A Heart in a Body in the World. By Deb Caletti. Read by Julia Whelan. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $39.99.
A tragedy has Annabelle seeking resolution to her feelings of guilt and shame. This story about toxic masculinity and violence is done justice by Whelan’s tense but hopeful telling.
After The Shot Drops. By Randy Ribay. Read by Ramón De Ocampo and J. B. Adkins. Listening Library, CD, $55.
De Ocampo and Adkins bring nuance and personality to the struggles of Bunny and Nasir, childhood friends whose lives are diverging due to opportunity and circumstance.
*Akata Witch. By Nnedi Okorafor. Read by Yetide Badaki. Tantor Audio, CD, $37.99.
Sunny, an Albino Nigerian American girl, discovers she belongs to an ancient world of magical people who must save the world. Badaki’s delivery of this story is mesmerizing.
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. By Hank Green. Read by Kristen Sieh and Hank Green. Penguin Audio, CD, $40.
A viral video launches April May into fame—and a multitude of moral quandaries. Sieh’s narration authentically captures the journey while skillfully including tweets, texts, and other media.
And the Ocean Was Our Sky. By Patrick Ness. Read by Cassandra Campbell. HarperAudio, CD, $19.99.
Ness’ retelling of Moby-Dick follows Bathsheba’s whales as they fight against man. Campbell’s narration combines the lyrical text with intensity, creating a strong atmospheric listen.
*The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge. By M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin. Read by Gildart Jackson. Dreamscape Media, CD, $39.99.
Elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is sent on a diplomatic mission to the goblin kingdom. Jackson’s voice is perfect for this biting satire as he gives life to each character in this hilarious, unique tale.
The Astonishing Color of After. By Emily X. R. Pan. Read by Stephanie Hsu. Blackstone Audio, CD, $35.
Following her mother’s suicide, Leigh believes that her mother has returned as a red bird. Hsu’s narration is emotionally connected and immersive in this tale of magic realism.
The Belles. By Dhonielle Clayton. Read by Rosie Jones. Blackstone Audio, CD, $34.95.
Camelia Beauregard longs to be “the favorite” until she glimpses what being a belle really means. Jones does a delightful job of differentiating characters and imbuing whimsy and intrigue into this unforgettable story.
Beneath the Sugar Sky. By Seanan McGuire. Read by Michelle Dockrey. Macmillan Audio, CD, $28.99.
Seventeen-year-old Rini enlists help to resurrect her teenage dead mother and save her candy-filled home world from disappearing. Dockrey delivers a stunning narration that truly brings this dark yet whimsical fantasy alive.
Buried beneath the Baobab Tree. By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. Read by Viviana Mazza. HarperAudio, CD, $39.99.
A nameless teenager recounts her months with the terrorist group Boko Haram in a story inspired by the author’s interviews with Nigerian abductees. Mazza’s narration conveys a full emotional arc.
Children of Blood and Bone. By Tomi Adeyemi. Read by Bahni Turpin. Macmillan Audio, CD, $44.99.
Zélie Adebola is the only one who can restore magic to Orïsha. Turpin does it again, giving the three main characters their own voices and bringing to life a new and amazing world.
Circe. By Madeline Miller. Read by Perdita Weeks. Hachette, CD, $35.
In this story inspired by myths, Weeks’ narration is appropriately lyrical befitting the epic tale and capturing the characters’ moods, tones, and divine status.
The Cruel Prince. By Holly Black. Read by Caitlin Kelly. Hachette, CD, $25.
Jude, Taryn, and Vivienne live in the Faerie world under constant pressure from nonhumans. Kelly narrates the vicious fey with sharp voices and edges, perfect for an otherworldly tale.
*Educated. By Tara Westover. Read by Julia Whelan. Books on Tape, CD, $40.
At 17, after growing up up in isolation, Westover begins the fight for her education. Whelan’s compelling narration pairs an understated performance with the story’s dramatic action.
Folded Notes from High School. By Matt Boren. Read by a full cast. Listening Library, CD, $45.
In this blast from the past, Tara Murphy passes notes between her friends, boyfriend, and unexpected crush. The full cast adds teen angst and personality to this satirical coming-of-age novel.
For Every One. By Jason Reynolds. Read by the author. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD, $29.99.
Reynolds offers his honesty and love, his experiences, his failures, and his realizations for the listeners’ consideration and inspiration as they strive for their dreams.
Harbor Me. By Jacqueline Woodson. Read by a full cast. Listening Library, CD, $27.
Six kids with learning disabilities are united by their teacher, who realizes they need time and space to open up. A full cast narrates this story about sharing difficult secrets with friends.
The Hazel Wood. By Melissa Albert. Read by Rebecca Soler. Macmillan Audio, CD, $39.99.
Alice’s grandmother’s collection of obscure fairy tales is more real than she imagined—and the people in the tales are after her. Soler’s Alice is cynical but not over the top, and her voice is that of a classic storyteller.
*I Have Lost My Way. By Gayle Forman. Read by a full cast. Listening Library, CD, $50.
Three young adults collide in New York City and embark on a single day of adventure, friendship, secrets, and loss. The narrators are equally exemplary in portraying happiness, retrospection, growth, and sorrow.
Illegal. By Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin. Read by a full cast. Dreamscape, CD, $39.99.
After realizing his brother has left, 12-year-old Ebo follows his trail out of Ghana toward the safety of Europe. This beautiful and heartbreaking graphic novel is brought to life by a full cast, supported by impactful sound effects.
*Lu. By Jason Reynolds. Read by Guy Lockard. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD, $14.99.
Lucky Lu struggles to figure out where he fits in both on the track team and in life. Lockard concludes his flawless narration of the Track series with swagger, heart, and humility.
My Plain Jane. By Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. Read by Fiona Hardingham. HarperAudio, DD, $26.99.
In this snarky Jane Eyre retelling, Jane can see and communicate with ghosts. Hardingham’s skillful narration brings the wide cast of characters to life and perfectly captures the tale’s unique tone.
Nate Expectations. By Tim Federle. Read by the author. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $29.99.
Federle continues to deliver Nate’s sass, heart, and newfound confidence by sounding like that one theater kid that every high-schooler in America knows and, hopefully, loves.
Obsidio. By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Read by a full cast. Listening Library, CD, $70.
In the conclusion to the Illuminae Files, the sound effects and full cast make this an audio performance you will not want to miss!
Orphan Monster Spy. By Matt Killeen. Read by Saskia Maarleveld. Listening Library, CD, $70.
A Jewish girl turned spy goes undercover at an elite boarding school for Nazi girls. Maarleveld’s stunning narration matches the thrumming intensity of this powerful story.
*The Poet X. By Elizabeth Acevedo. Read by the author. HarperAudio, CD, $22.99.
Xiomara Batista needs an outlet from her religious and rigid mother. Author Acevedo narrates her own novel in verse to sound more like a poetry slam than a mere audiobook.
*Quidditch through the Ages. By J. K. Rowling and Kennilworthy Whisp. Read by Andrew Lincoln. Pottermore, DD, $14.99
Lincoln charms audiences with his narration of the history of Quidditch, rereleased with additional content.
Royals. By Rachel Hawkins. Read by Amanda Leigh Cobb. Listening Library, CD, $56.
Daisy Winters is a 16-year-old with a normal life until her older sister begins a relationship with the crown prince of Scotland. Cobb brings personality and humor to the characters of this funny, charming tale.
*Sadie. By Courtney Summers. Read by a full cast. Macmillan Audio, CD, $39.99.
Sadie has only one goal: track down her sister’s killer. A radio personality starts a podcast about Sadie’s disappearance, becoming obsessed with finding her before it’s too late. The full cast nails the intriguing premise and makes this audio a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thriller.
Star Wars Most Wanted. By Rae Carson. Read by Saskia Maarleveld. Listening Library, DD, $50.
Every Star Wars fan knows Han Solo, but how did he meet Qi’ra and survive on Corellia? Maarleveld’s narration, paired with Star Wars sound effects, creates an exciting, immersive experience.
*Sunny. By Jason Reynolds. Read by Guy Lockard. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $24.99.
Sunny’s passion is dancing, but he runs to please his father, until he discovers throwing the discus. Narrator Lockard perfectly captures Sunny’s fresh, distinctive voice, creating an authentic character that readers will adore.
Swing. By Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess. Read by Kwame Alexander. Dreamscape, CD, $29.99.
Walt and Noah are best friends navigating their junior year, trying out for baseball, and being honest with the love interests in their lives. Alexander reads his work as no one else could, with vitality and lyrical prose.
The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik. By David Arnold. Read by Michael Crouch. Listening Library, CD, $65.
Noah has his whole life figured out, except it isn’t the life that he wants anymore. Crouch’s narration adds to the story through authenticity and clear, relatable emotions.
*Thunderhead. By Neal Shusterman. Read by Greg Tremblay. Brilliance, MP3, $14.99.
Rowan and Citra continue to challenge the Scythedom but in very different ways. Tremblay finds a fitting and unique voice for every main character, clearly identifying the levels of authority a Scythe and the Thunderhead feel they have.
To Kill A Kingdom. By Alexandra Christo. Read by Jacob York and Stephanie Willis. Brilliance, MP3, $14.99.
Siren Princess Lira is forced to kill one of her own, forcing her mother to turn her into a human until she obtains the heart of Prince Elian. York and Willis are equally capable of rousing dramatic narration in their depictions of Lira and Elian.
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle. By Leslie Connor. Read by Andrew Eiden. HarperAudio, DD, $20.99.
Sweet, sensitive Mason sweats profusely, is dyslexic, and is suspected of involvement in the death of his best friend. Narrator Eiden captures Mason’s honesty and compassion while imbuing every character with depth and humanity.
Tyler Johnson Was Here. By Jay Coles. Read by Jaqwan J. Kelly. Blackstone Audio, CD, $69.99
Marvin follows his friend Tyler to a party to keep Tyler out of trouble. Kelly’s intimate narration allows the reader to ache and grieve right alongside Marvin.
When My Heart Joins the Thousand. By A. J. Stieger. Read by Tavia Gilbert. HarperAudio, DD, $26.99.
Survivor Alvie Fitz finds it hard to relate to other people, but at her social worker’s suggestion, she makes an unlikely friend. Gilbert makes every voice distinct and powerful, conveying the devastation and heartbreak of these unforgettable characters.
Zora & Me: The Cursed Ground. By T. R. Simon. Read by Channie Waites. Brilliance, CD, $49.97.
A fictionalized Zora Neale Hurston and friend work to solve a mystery while learning about a past filled with slavery and prejudice. Waites tackles the curiosity of childhood while also carefully handling the horror and inhumanity of slavery.
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