The Odyssey Award is given to the producer of the best audiobook for young and adults and children available in English. Each year a selection committee made up of YALSA and ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) members chose a winner along with honor titles they feel are deserving of being named as the best in audiobooks.
This year’s winner, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, narrated by Kate Rudd and produced by Brilliance Audio, enjoys the company of four honor titles: Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian, written by Eoin Colfer, narrated by Nathaniel Parker, and produced by Listening Library; Ghost Knight, written by Cornelia Funke, narrated by Elliot Hill, and produced by Listening Library; and Monstrous Beauty, written by Elizabeth Fama, narrated by Katherine Kellgren, and produced by Macmillan Audio. I highly recommend all five titles as they are beautifully produced and excellently narrated.
But then what? What to listen to next after you’ve worked through this year’s Odyssey list? Sure you could listen to previous winners and honors (highly recommended) but after that here are next listens that highlight more great storytelling.
The Fault in Our Stars -> Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, read by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell (2013 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks)
It’s tough to find a story comparable to Green’s amazing novel of star-crossed teenage cancer patients: moving, honest and devastating. Although Code Name Verity does not feature a romance like TFiOS, it does have a close friendship between two young women that is threatened by the extreme circumstances of World War II. Narrated by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell, this audiobook transports the listener to Britain and Nazi-occupied France as Queenie and Maddie both find themselves in enemy territory with the danger and heartbreak that comes with love and war.
Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian -> The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer, read by Chiwetel Ejiofor
It’s not cheating to pick another book by the same author. Okay, maybe it’s cheating a little, but no one can match Colfer for exciting, action-filled, supernatural fun. In the same way listeners have been following Artemis, Holly, and Butler, narrated by the wonderful Nathaniel Parker, The Supernaturalist also follows a team of young people that battles energy sucking Parasites and evil government bureaucrats in futuristic Satellite City. The same humor and action works though this thrilling tale narrated by another accomplished British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Ghost Knight -> The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, read by Jonathan Davis (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Scary stories are better on audiobook. That is a proven fact, at least in my experience. Although set in very different settings and times, both Ghost Knight and The Prince of Mist are carefully crafted ghost stories that layer the tension on bit by excruciating bit. Both narrators excel at keeping the pace slow, steady and terrifying. Highly recommend not listening to either title at night or alone. Daylight and other people required.
Monstrous Beauty -> The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham (2012 Amazing Audiobooks)
Forget Jaws. With the murdering mermaids and murdering sea horses in these books, you don’t have to worry about sharks in the water anymore — there are far deadlier things in the sea. Besides danger from the ocean, these books also feature passionate love stories and fearless women willing to fight for love and their lives. And interestingly, both audiobooks include interviews with the authors who talk about their research process and how they came up with such amazing stories and terrifying creatures.
Which Odyssey or other audiobooks were your favorite listens last year?
— Amanda Margis, currently reading After the Snow by S. D. Crockett and listening to Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie