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Find more Top 10 First Novels on Audio for Youth and Adults
These debut adult and youth novels, reviewed from October 2013 through October 2014, stand out as memorable performances.
Better Nate than Ever. By Tim Federle. Read by the author. 2013. 6hr. Recorded Books, CD, $51.75 (9781470369385). Gr. 5–8.
Talented author Federle proves himself an equally skillful narrator, portraying Nate, a 13-year-old musical-theater fanatic, on his entertaining and amusing adventure in the Big Apple, where he auditions for a Broadway extravaganza.
The Edge of Normal. By Carla Norton. Read by Christina Delaine. 2013. 11.5hr. Macmillan, CD, $39.99 (9781427233035).
From the first minutes, as she channels the husky and ominously toned voice of the kidnapper, Delaine grips listeners in this chilling tale of once-kidnapped Reeve’s ordeal and recovery. Now as mentor to another victim, Reeve finds her life in danger again.
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton. By Elizabeth L. Silver. Read by Rebecca Lowman and Amanda Carlin. 2013. 10hr. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9780804120852).
Impressive, nuanced performances by Lowman, as the calm and sympathetic murderess convicted of killing her best friend, and Carlin, as the victim’s sometimes calculating and sometimes tearful mother, enhance this powerful story of a crime and its aftermath.
Good Kings Bad Kings. By Susan Nussbaum. Read by Emma Galvin and others. 2013. 7.5hr. HighBridge, CD, $32.95 (9781622311347); lib. ed., CD, $69 (9781622311361).
The vocal talents of seven exceptional narrators dramatize and illuminate the lives of disabled teens and their caretakers in a Chicago nursing home in this production of the 2013 winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
If You Could Be Mine. By Sara Farizan. Read by Negin Farsad. 2013. 5hr. HighBridge, CD, $59 (9781622312252). Gr. 10–12.
In musically accented speech that evokes the setting of modern-day Tehran, Farsad portrays Sahar and Nasrinset, friends and illicit lovers, as they consider their options in light of Iran’s severe penalties for homosexuality. A powerfully moving performance and story.
The Intern’s Handbook. By Shane Kuhn. Read by Pete Simonelli. 2014. 8hr. Midwest Tape/Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $49.99 (9781442371620).
Who better than an intern to infiltrate a company and set up a kill? With his convincing deadpan delivery, Simonelli takes listeners inside anti-hero/intern Lago’s head on his last job in this suspenseful dark comedy.
Letters from Skye. By Jessica Brockmole. Read by Elle Newlands and others. 2013. 8hr. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9780385367646).
In 1912, David Graham, an American college student, sends a fan letter to Elspeth Dunn, a reclusive Scottish poet, and kindles a love affair that lasts for decades. In alternating voices and through letters, these skilled narrators convincingly convey this tumultuous story of love during wartime.
Paperboy. By Vince Vawter. Read by Lincoln Hoppe and Vince Vawter. 2013. 6hr. Listening Library, CD, $45 (9780804167956). Gr. 6–8.
In his deft portrayal of young Victor, a boy who struggles to overcome his stutter, Hoppe personalizes the issues in Vawter’s layered novel set in 1959 Memphis: the reality of living with a physical disability, the importance of literature to moral development, the connection between substance abuse and crime, and the dawn of the civil rights movement.
Shotgun Lovesongs. By Nickolas Butler. Read by Ari Fliakos and others. 2014. 10hr. Macmillan, CD, $39.99 (9781427236357).
Celebrated Broadway actors create a cast of memorable characters and reveal how a small Wisconsin town has shaped the psyche of five lifelong friends. Listeners hear the warmth of rock-solid friendship and the cold despair of crumbling dreams in authentic midwestern accents that enhance Butler’s lyrical prose.
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