Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.
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Admission. By Julie Buxbaum. Read by Julia Whelan. 2020. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $63 (9780593216996).
Chloe, privileged daughter of a beloved celebrity, watches helplessly as her mother is caught up in a college admission scandal benefiting her. Julia Whelan skillfully unpacks the emotions that go with Chloe’s questioning whether her parents believe she is enough.
Amari believes her missing brother is alive. When a mysterious suitcase appears in her closest, she is whisked away to a land of magic. To find her brother, Amari must pass a series of tests in order to enter the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Strong narration supports this fantastical adventure.
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco; Narrated by Marisa Calin Jimmy Patterson Books / Little, Brown and Company Publication Date: October 27, 2020 ISBN: 9780316428460
Twins Emilia and Vittoria are part of a long line of witches, which they keep secret to avoid persecution. One evening, Vittoria goes missing. When Emilia finds Vittoria’s body, her heart missing, she vows vengeance and will do anything to find her sister’s killer even if it means using dark magic and joining forces with the Wicked, princes of Hell that have their own nefarious agendas. If Emilia doesn’t keep her wits about her, the price of vengeance just might be too high.
When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris; Narrated by Preston Butler III Quill Tree Books Publication date: January 5, 2021 ISBN: 9780063064317
Looking like they do, with brown skin, Jay, his friends and neighbors live knowing they are already one step behind. Living in their neighborhood presents its own challenges where drug deals, violence, and both police interference AND ignorance are day to day problems. But now Jay’s sister Nic has disappeared and going missing in their neighborhood isn’t enough to warrant police investigation. Not wanting to worry his grandmother, Jay strikes out on his own to find her leading him into danger and into finding an unlikely friend.
Class Act by Jerry Craft; narrated by Nile Bullock, Jesus del Orden, Guy Lockard, Marc Thompson, Peyton Lusk, Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittner, January LaVoy, Phoebe Strole, Jordan Cobb, A.J. Beckles, Robin Miles, Ron Butler, Miles Harvey, Kim Mai Guest, Kyla Garcia & Soneela Nankani HarperAudio Publication Date: January 5, 2021 ISBN: 9780063032057
Drew Ellis, Jordan Banks and Liam Landers are back at Riverdale Academy Day School for their eighth grade year, where they have to navigate microaggressions, colorism and class differences. The focus of this book is Drew and his home life with his grandmother, his longing to join the basketball team without becoming a stereotype, and his growing resentment towards Liam, the wealthiest of his friends.
Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne Penguin Random House Audio Publication Date: January 11, 2021 ISBN: 978-0593343777
The protagonist of this novel-in-verse is tired of being overshadowed by her best friend, tired of her sister’s harsh criticisms, and tired of the boys she plays basketball with thinking she’s not good enough to hang with them. She meets a neighborhood boy who she hopes will help her escape her feelings of unworthiness but their relationship leads to more frustration and pain.
Mahogany L. Browne’s poetry background shines through in this gritty and heart-felt coming of age story. The emotional language and vibrant prose connect the reader to Skyy on her journey of self-discovery in an almost stream of consciousness style. Browne’s narration plays with the conversational flow of the text and makes it accessible to even reluctant readers. This is a short listen but one that can be played multiple times with new themes and connections appearing with each listen.
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.
Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston; narrated by Imani Parks Balzer + Bray Release date: 19 January 2021 ISBN: 9780063057968
In this first book of the Supernatural Investigations series, the story begins with Amari Peters being called into the principal’s office on the last day of school and having her scholarship rescinded for physically responding to online and in-person bullying. As her summer begins, Amari Peters is grounded and her personal device is taken away as she struggles with how to continue searching for her missing brother, Quinton. She gets a mysterious delivery that leads her to join a summer camp, gain a best friend, and find her brother.
The narrator does an exceptional job channeling Amari’s character and her frustrations with learning to accept her various social identities instead of comparing herself to her brother. The audiobook captures the world-building and fast-paced adventure aspects of the story well.
Hi! I’m Cathy Outten, and I’m the coordinator of the 2022 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults blogging team. I’ve served on several YALSA committees in the past. I’m the Children’s and Young Adult Literature librarian at California State University, Long Beach where I reside over our Children’s Collection. I live in sunny Southern California with my husband, three teenagers, a dog, and two cats.
The 2022 Amazing Audiobooks blogging team is working towards creating a list of excellent audiobooks that appeal to teens and reflect the diversity of teen readers. We are listening to fiction, nonfiction, single narrator, and cast recordings in search of books that meet our criteria of effective narration where the audio recording elevates a great story or nonfiction text.
Eligible titles for this year’s list must have US publication dates between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. You can suggest titles for the committee to review by filling out this form. (Please note: publishers and authors cannot suggest their own books, although they are free to submit titles to the committee for evaluation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org) You can see all the past Amazing Audiobook lists and nominations on The Hub.
The Amazing Audiobooks team works together via online discussions and meetings to review 100-200 audiobooks per year. Once two team members agree, an audiobook becomes an official nomination and will be announced on The Hub. Team members write blog posts and annotations, and attend virtual meetings, but mostly there is lots of listening! The whole team listens to our nominations and votes for final inclusion on the full list and for the top ten at the end of the year.
The #AA2022 team is made up of YALSA member volunteers from different places and different types of libraries. This year’s team includes myself and:
Rachel Adams – Seattle, WA
Candace Fox – Parma, OH
Annie Jansen – Philadelphia, PA
Jodeana Kruse – Ridgefield, WA
Abigail Lance – Salem, MA
Christine Pyles – Euclid, OH
Lorrie Roussin – San Antonio, TX
Caitlyn Seale – Mississauga, ON
Josie Snow – Pagosa Springs, CO
Our committee is already listening hard and ready to start building a fantastic list of titles for the next Amazing Audiobooks list.
-Cathy Outten (she/her) 2022 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Coordinator
The list consists of 81 titles selected from 149 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. The list is aimed towards young adults aged 12-18 and is drawn from the previous year of spoken-word releases. The committee listened to over 400 titles this year in their quest to choose a myriad of audiobooks that would appeal to all subsects of the teen audience. View the full list.
In addition to the full list, the blogging team chose the following titles as its top ten:
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, read by Avi Roque, Macmillan Audio, 2020. 13 hours, 47 minutes. DD, 9781250619129.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, read by Melania-Luisa Marte and Elizabeth Acevedo. Quill Tree Books, 2020. 5 hours, 32 minutes. DD, 9780063011816.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Book 1 by Holly Jackson, read by Bailey Carr, Melissa Calin, Michael Crouch, Gopal Divan, Robert Fass, Kevin R. Free, Sean Patrick Hopkins, Carol Monda, Patricia Santomasso, Shezi Sardar and Amanda Thickpenny. Listening Library, 2020. 10 hours, 53 minutes. LD, 9780593155264.
Kent State by Deborah Wiles, read by Christopher Gebauer, Lauren Ezzo, Christina Delaine, Johnny Heller, Roger Wayne, Korey Jackson, and David de Vries. Scholastic Audio, 2020.1 hour, 58 minutes. DD, 9781338636352.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt. Simon & Schuster Audio, 2020.18 hours, 54 minutes. DD, 9781797113463.
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt. Blackstone Publishing, 2020. 13 hours, 48 minutes. DD, 9781094149226.
The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep: Voices from the Donner Party by Allan Wolf, read by Bahni Turpin, Whitney Dykhouse, Teri Schnaubelt, Tim Gerard Reynolds, Lauren Ezzo, Eric G. Dove, Ramón de Ocampo, and Shaun Taylor-Corbett. Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, 2020. 9 hours, 54 minutes. CD, 9781713547969.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, read by Jason Reynolds and introduction by Ibram X. Kendi. Little, Brown Young Readers, 2020. 4 hours, 11 minutes. DD, 9781549184253.
We Are Not Free by Traci Chee, read by Scott Keiji Takeda, Dan Woren, Ryan Potter, Ali Fumiko, Sophie Oda, Andrew Kishino, Christopher Naoki Lee, Grace Rolek, Erika Aishii, Brittany Ishibashi, Kurt Sanchez Kanazawa and Terry Kitagawa. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. 10 hours and 26 minutes. DD, 9780358343561.
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, read by Full Cast. Listening Library, 2020. 3 hours, 42 minutes. LD, 9780593162590.
The suggestion form for the 2022 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults list is open. If you’d like to suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee, please fill out the form.
YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age-appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.
A huge thanks goes out to the members of the 2021 Amazing Audiobooks Blogging Team for all the wonderful work they put into curating this list. The members are: Coordinator Danielle Jones (she/her), Multnomah County Library, Portland, Oregon Rachel Adams (she/her), King County Library System, Issaquah, Washington Emily Blaeser (she/her), Meinders Community Library, Pipestone, Minnesota Jaimie Crawford (she/her), Loudoun County Public Library, Sterling, Virginia Candace Fox (she/her), Cleveland, Ohio Annie Jansen (she/her), Penn State Brandywine Vairo Library, Media, Pennsylvania Gina Kromhout (she/her), Avon Lake Public Library, Avon Lake, Ohio Kristin Kern (she/her), St. Charles City-County Library, St. Charles, Missouri Natalie LaRocque (she/her), Palatine Public Library District, Palatine, Illinois Heather Murfee (she/her), Midlothian Library, Midlothian, Virginia Cathy Outten (she/her), California State University, Long Beach, California Allison Suzanne Riendeau (she/her) Sharon Public Library, Sharon, Massachusetts Beth A. Slade (she/her), Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, Ohio Kiera O’Shea Vargas (she/her), EPIPHANY, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee Tara Williams (she/her), Washington County Public Schools, Abingdon, Virginia
Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko; Narrated by Joniece Abbott-Pratt Blackstone Publishing Publication Date: August 18, 2020 ISBN: 978-1094149189
Tarisai has grown up living a privileged life surrounded by tutors, luxury, and protection in her realm, but she has never received love and closeness from anyone around her. She especially longs for attention from her mother, called The Lady. At 11 years old, Tarisai is sent to Oluwan City to compete for inclusion on Crown Prince Ekundayo’s governing Council of Eleven. If chosen, she will bond eternally with Prince Dayo and her Council siblings via a mystical Ray, and gain the human closeness she so craves. But Tarisai learns that before she was born, The Lady commanded a djinn to impregnate her with a child who must someday grant her third wish. Tarisai is that child. And The Lady’s third wish is to kill the prince Tarisai is now sworn to protect.
Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
We Are Not Free by Traci Chee; narrated by: Scott Keiji Takeda, Dan Woren, Ryan Potter, Ali Fumiko, Sophie Oda, Andrew Kishino, Christopher Naoki Lee, Grace Rolek, Erika Aishii, Brittany Ishibashi, Kurt Sanchez Kanazawa, and Terry Kitagawa Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Release date: September 1, 2020 ISBN: 9780358343561
Fourteen Japanese American teens are cruelly taken from their San Francisco homes to internment camps purportedly to protect the U.S. west coast from Japanese espionage or sabotage during World War II. The Nissei’s stories start the same, but have many different outcomes as they make their choices and too many choices are made for them.