The 2013 Audio Publishers Association’s Audie Awards were announced to a very appreciative audience of publishers, narrators, book sellers, and judges (many of them librarians) at its annual gala on Thursday, May 30 at the beautiful New York Historical Society. As one of the many judges lucky enough to be invited, I was thoroughly entertained by emcee Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket series, not to mention the wonderful YA book Why We Broke Up.
The competition was fierce in the Teen category, but John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (2013 Odyssey Award, 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 Amazing Audiobooks, 2012 Teens Top Ten winner) about two teens with cancer who fall in love was the winner great competitors, including:
- Alethea Kontis’s Enchanted (2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 Amazing Audiobooks), a fairy tale about a girl whose best friend is a frog — or is he?
- Libba Bray’s The Diviners (2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Top Ten)
- Dodger by Terry Pratchett (2013 Printz Honor, 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults), a witty Victorian tale of a street urchin who saves a mysterious young woman’s life after she’s attacked, and
- Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (2013 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Top Ten), the concluding book in the series where Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, take the fate of their world into their own hands.
There were a number of YA titles nominated in various categories in addition to the Teens category.
There were four adult title nominees in the Biography/Memoir category, but the YA book The Seamstress: A Memoir by Sara Tuvel Bernstein (1998 Best Books for Young Adults, 2013 Amazing Audiobooks nominee) was the winner. She was a Romanian Jew who became a talented seamstress for Romanian high society. Her ingenuity and street smarts enabled her and her sister to survive being prisoners in Ravensbruck concentration camp during WWII.
Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze, the story of a girl who is transported to the Civil War era as a slave of her ancestors
was nominated in the category for Children’s Titles for Ages 8-12 even though it was on the 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. It lost to Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani, who also narrated their book, which is about the pen pal friendship that grows between an immigrant Indian girl in NYC and a coal miner’s son in Kentucky.
Both Leslea Newman’s October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 Amazing Audiobooks nominee) and Seth Rudetsky’s My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan were nominated in the Multi-Voiced Performance category but lost to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. October Mourning tells the horrifying events surrounding the 1998 murder of gay 21-year-old Matthew Shepard in a hate crime told through various forms of poetry and from varying points of view. Seth Rudetsky’s My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan is about a chubby, Jewish gay teen named Justin who plans to become popular by the end of the school year. Things don’t go as planned when, instead of dating the star quarterback as he hoped, he catches the eye of Becky, the quarterback’s girlfriend.
The Audie Awards are one of my favorite events that take place during BEA. It’s always fun to see what the narrators whose voices I’ve only heard look like in person — not to mention getting to see them all dressed up wearing the impressive medallions that only nominees get to wear. I was thrilled that I even got to meet my all time favorite narrator Katherine Kellgren, who was nominated in over half a dozen categories and was the winner as solo narrator for The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and as part of the multi-voiced performance of Dracula as well as part of the multicast in the category of Audio Drama for Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. For the rest for the winners in all categories, go to the Audies website.
— Sharon Rawlins, currently reading the galley of Independent Study (The Testing, book 2) by Joelle Charbonneau