Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell; Narrated by Kelly Pruner
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Ava was raped as a nine year old girl, and it left scars inside and out. Now all her connections with people start with the “scar on her face” story. She comes across a frozen body of a brutalized teen, whose ghost becomes a fixture in Ava’s life as she struggles with what to do about her body.
The audiobook format is really effective for the stream of consciousness style of this book. With the narrator we are inside Ava’s head and able to experience her world from her point of view.
Similar in suspense to books like I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson, those who like dark stories of resilience and suspense with LGBTQ characters will like All the Things We Do in the Dark.
Say Her Name: Poems to Empower by Zetta Elliott; Narrated by Channie Waites
Recorded Books / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 14, 2020ISBN: 978-1368045247
In this collection of poetry titled after the social movement that seeks to raise awareness for Black female victims of police brutality and anti-black violence, Elliot effortlessly ties allusions to works from the works of Black women writer greats Phyliis Wheatley, Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou, June Jordan, Nikki Giovani, Lucille Clifton as well as present day activists Patrisse Khan-Cullers, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement creating poems that speak to the microaggressions, discrimination, and violence that Black women, girls and femmes face daily. These are poems of rage and hope, self-care and resistance.
Made to be read and reread aloud, Waites expertly delivers each of these capturing the full emotion and adding even more behind these powerful poems. She uses perfectly well-placed inflections and tones, conveying the poems through engaging expression, emotion, and energy. Teen listeners will be inspired and will relisten just as they would a favorite music album.
Fans of any of the poets and writers previously mentioned will find so many gems in the allusions that Elliot uses, and this would pair well Morgan Parker’s reading of her book Magical Negro: Poems and any of the audiobooks of Bell Hooks’ writing. For more feminist poetry collection, teens could try Christine Heppermann’s Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty. Other companions are Carol Anderson and Tonya Bolden’s We are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide as well as Black feminist writings When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene Carruthers.
The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, Book 3) by Holly Black, narrated by Caitlin Kelly
Little, Brown Young Readers
Publication Date: November 19, 2019
Jude is now the Queen of Faerie, but is exiled to the human world. Her machinations to let her little brother grow up, but still ascend to the throne when he is ready have all twisted with her betrayal by Cardan, the King. With her twin’s life on the line, she must make her way back to Faerie and navigate the politics and raging war to save Faerie, her family, and herself.
Holly Black’s faerie storytelling is unparalleled, and this installment is no exception. Beautiful but flawed, loved and hated, the people of Elfhame’s stories are irresistible. Narrator Caitlin Kelly brings all of these people off the page to life with her character voicing and storytelling skills.
Readers of this series and other Holly Black titles will find this performance a transcendent experience. Faerie lovers of all kinds will love this world, and readers who appreciate lovable villains and heroes you can hate will get all that and more in The Queen of Nothing.