2021 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

2021 Amazing Audiobooks Top Ten

The 2021 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults list is now available!

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

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 30 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

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. 

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 30 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 16 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

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.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 16 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 9 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson; Narrated by  Fajer Al-Kaisi, Feodor Chin, Gisela Chípe, Michael Crouch, Janina Edwards, James Fouhey, Renata Friedman, Catherine Ho, Nicole Lewis, Omar Leyva, Guy Lockard, Jesus E. Martinez, and Lisa Renee Pitts
Listening Library
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
ISBN: 978-0593121610

Through poetry, essays, lists, and letters, The Talk  gives 17 different conversations that delve into race, racism, identity, and self-esteem. Coming from a variety of experiences, which are often intergenerational and intersectional, this is a conversation starter for dissecting structural racism, moves to be more antiracist, and ways to be more inclusive with a focus on being affirming to listeners. 

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 9 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 2 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds; Narrated by A.J. Beckles, Preston Butler III
HarperAudio
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
ISBN: 978-0062748409

Jamal is still reeling from his parents’ deaths two years ago, and it is affecting all of his relationships. It has been causing friction with his girlfriend Autumn, but more importantly, it has broken his relationship with his best friend and comedic partner, Quincy. Jamal even blames Quincy for his parents’ death, something that Quincy is unaware of. During a party on the beach, Jamal witnesses Quincy save a drowning girl’s life, only to lose his own. When a mysterious man offers Quincy’s mother a chance to bring him back through experimental technology, Jamal takes this as a second chance for him to heal his relationship with Quincy before it’s too late. 

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 2 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 18 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Sanctuary Audiobook By Paola Mendoza,
    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Abby Sher cover art

Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher; Narrated by Paola Mendoza
Listening Library
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 9780593341018

In the year 2032, all American citizens are chipped and every movement is tracked, making it near impossible for the undocumented to survive.  Somehow, Valentina “Vali” Gonzalez Rameriz, her mother and her younger brother manage to eke out an existence in small-town Vermont using counterfeit chips.  When Vali’s mother’s chip malfunctions, the three of them make a harrowing journey across the country to her Tia Luna’s in California, the sanctuary state that is being walled off and forcefully seceded from the rest of the country.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 18 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 11 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune; narrated by Daniel Henning
Macmillan Audio
Release date: 03-17-20
ISBN: 9781250264299

Linus Baker takes his job as overseer of magical children’s orphanages very seriously.  His by-the-book approach to visits and reports gets him noticed by Extremely Upper Management. They select him for a special job visiting a house at what seems like the end of the world to report on a particularly special group of kids.  But while there, he finds that there might be more to life than filling out forms and boxes, and in this case, the children and their enigmatic master are teaching him more than he expected to find.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 11 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 4 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha; narrated by Christian Barillas, Anthony Lee Medina and Luis Selgas
Scholastic Audio
Publication date: June 2, 2020
ISBN: 9781338637601

Victor and Ian met in a clinic, both waiting for HIV test results.  Victor is getting tested after having sex  with t his boyfriend Henrique, to then find out  is HIV+. Victor tests negative.  On the other hand, Ian tests positive.  Victor, while currently upset with what he considers his boyfriend’s dishonesty, offers to connect Ian with Henrique so he can help him learn how to live with HIV.  Their three lives then intertwine with their different circumstances.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 4 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, October 28 Edition

See the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe; Narrated by James Fouhey
HarperAudio
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
ISBN: 9780063025622

Henri  “Halti” Haltiwanger, a first generation Haitian-American is full of charm and ambition. Excelling at his prestigious New York high school, running his own successful (if slightly misleading) dog walking service, he is determined to get into Columbia, his (or his father’s?) dream school. When his neighbor Corrine blackmails him into teaching her how to be more social, unexpected ventures begin. 

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, October 28 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, October 21 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas; narrated by Avi Roque
Macmillan Audio
Publication date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 9781250619129

Yadriel grew up in a cemetery with his magical Latinx family.  After they deny him the rite of passage to become a true brujo because he is transgendered, Yadriel undertakes the magical ceremony in secret with his best friend Maritza.  During the successful rite, Yadriel accidentally summons the ghost of Julian, a local bad boy he knows from around school.  Julian is set on making sure his friends are okay before his ghost moves on, and Yadriel wants to find out what happened to his cousin who was killed the same night.  As they search for answers, and Yadriel gives Julian the last day on Earth that he wants, Yadriel and Julian manage to fall in love, as well solve the mysteries surrounding his death.  

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, October 21 Edition