Six Crimson Cranesby Elizabeth Lim; narrated by Emily Woo Zeller Listening Library Release date: July 6, 2021 ISBN: 9780593398883
Princess Shiori, the impulsive and headstrong daughter of the Emperor, is almost seventeen, and she has a secret. She has magical abilities–in a kingdom where magic is forbidden. Then Shiori discovers that her stepmother is a powerful sorceress. Before she can warn her family, her stepmother casts a spell that transforms each of Shiori’s six brothers into cranes and sends Shiori to the farthest corner of the kingdom, unable to speak and disguised unrecognizably. Shiori must break the curse to save her brothers and the kingdom, but doing so will make her rethink everything she knew to be true.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston; narrated by Natalie Naudus Macmillan Audio Publication Date: June 1, 2021 ISBN: 978-1250803184
August Landry arrives in New York City with all of her possessions in five boxes. She’s 23 years old and her move to New York lets her escape the earlier years of her life which were spent working with her mother, an amateur detective, trying to track down August’s missing uncle. August moves into an apartment with Niko, a psychic, his girlfriend Mya, an artist, and Wes, a tattoo artist. August never had time for friends and fun when she was helping her mom, but she quickly becomes a part of Niko, Mya, and Wes’ chosen LBGTQ+ family. Then, August meets Jane on the Q Train. Jane isn’t like any other girl August has met before. Their relationship is full of the twists and turns of first loves. McQuiston asks the listener to travel along with them on a slightly sci-fi route, because, as August soon discovers, Jane has been stuck on this particular train since the 1970s.
Time Travel for Love and Profitby Sarah Lariviere;Narrated by Kristen Sieh Listening Library Release date: January 26, 2021 ISBN: 9780593294017
Nephele distinctly remembers when her best friend broke up with her. It isn’t surprising, given that Nephele’s peers describe her as “aggressively weird.” After all, Nephele has favorite math formulas and shapes. Couple that with the furry arm hair of her ancestors, and Nephele is an outsider looking in. That’s why the book Time Travel for Love and Profit so captures her imagination and inspires her to create an app that will allow her to go back in time and re-do her disastrous freshman year.
Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell; Narrated by Euan Morton Macmillan Release date: July 6, 2021 ISBN: 9781250803122
Simon and the gang are back in London after their American adventures, and there’s trouble in the world of mages. After Simon’s downfall new ‘Chosen Ones’ keep popping up, Baz’s stepmum is missing, and Penny is dealing with a demon-cursed “normal”. Furthermore, Simon, Baz, Penny, and Agatha need to decide how to move forward in the aftermath of their trauma regarding events of the first two books. Any Way the Wind Blows takes a complicated and honest look at healing and moving forward.
Euan Morton masterfully narrates the many different points of view in Any Way the Wind Blows. He captures Simon’s confusion, Baz’s angst, and Smith’s mania perfectly. His accents are spot on and bring the world of mages alive.
Fans of One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston and books by Maggie Stiefvater will enjoy Any Way the Wind Blows.
Other Nominated Titles
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson; narrated by Marcella Cox (September 14, 2021)
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 title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.
The Bitterwine Oathby Hannah West; narrated by Reba Buhr Tantor Media, Inc. Released: February 16, 2021 ISBN: 9781705222904
San Solano, Texas is a quaint little town with a sordid and violent history. That violent history is its greatest appeal. Decades ago twelve men were murdered as they took Holy Communion, and town residents are sure the minister’s daughter, Malachi, was responsible. Fast forward to present day San Solano, and as the anniversary of the massacre approaches, fear grows that another 12 men will meet their gory demise. Nat has assiduously avoided both the hoopla surrounding the anniversary and the Wardens, a cult of women famously connected to the slaughter, in service to a promise she made to her grandmother. That is a promise sorely tested when her father and the boy she falls in love with are marked for death.
In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner; narrated by Michael Crouch Listening Library Release date: August 8, 2021 ISBN: 9780593399040
Cash and his friend Delaney are barely surviving in their small Appalachian town. Cash is being raised by his grandparents after his mother succumbed to opioid addiction, and Delaney is running from drug dealers and an unstable home while working at Dairy Queen. A small but profound scientific discovery by Delaney gives her leverage to earn them both places at a prestigious boarding school. Cash is torn between going and leaving behind the grandparents who have raised him and grabbing the otherwise unattainable opportunities the scholarship would give him. Convinced by Delaney to go to the new school, he discovers his inner poet, and goes through many coming of age experiences.
Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These are titles that 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. *Prices shown are for Library Digital Download.
Ace of Spades. By Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. Read by Jeanette Illidge & Tapiwa Mugweni. Macmillan Audio, $59.99 (9781250808332).
Devon and Chiamaka are the only Black kids at their school. The anonymous Aces starts a text message smear campaign on both of them. As they try to save themselves, the conspiracy of Aces is revealed to be much deeper and darker than imagined. Dual narrators make this an excellent listen.
Any Way the Wind Blows: Simon Snow Trilogy, Book 3. By Rainbow Rowell. Read by Euan Morton. Macmillan Young Listeners, $69.99 (9781250803122).
In this conclusion of the trilogy, Simon, Baz and Penny are back in England — Penny with the demon-marked American she brought home, Simon attempting to reclaim a human life and rid himself of his tail, and Agatha learning about the significance of the Watford goats. Morton’s voicing of these characters brings them to life.
Blackout. By Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon. Read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Dion Graham, Imani Parks, Jordan Cobb, Shayna Small, A.J. Beckles, and Bahni Turpin. HarperCollins Publishers Inc./Quill Tree Books, $54.05 (9780063088122).
Six stories about Black love during a blackout in New York City written by a supergroup of Black women and narrated by a supergroup of Black narrators. Each story weaves into the next with one story threaded throughout.
We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon; Narrated by Carly Robbins Simon and Schuster Audio Release date: June 8, 2021 ISBN: 9781797123639
Wedding harpist Quinn has just graduated high school and her life has been laid out for her: attend business school nearby while continuing to help out with her parents’ wedding planning business, just as her older sister did. But Quinn is burnt out on love, especially after last summer when she confessed her feelings for wedding caterer Tarek and he vanished off to college without a reply. This summer he’s back and they keep getting thrown together to solve wedding emergencies, all while Quinn navigates telling her parents she doesn’t want to be a wedding planner and learning to build harps.
Pumpkinby Julie Murphy; narrated by Chad Burris Publisher: Balzer & Bray Release date: May 24, 2021 ISBN: 9780063088764
Look out, Clover City, you’ve got a new queen.
It’s not always easy to be the fat, flamboyantly gay kid in small-town Texas, which is why Waylon Brewer can’t wait until graduation. Then, he and his twin, Clementine, can move to Austin, and he can go full Waylon and become his best, fabulous self.
Except Clementine doesn’t want to go to Austin, something Waylon finds out the same night his boyfriend dumps him. When Waylon hears the news, he impulsively creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show. Much to his dismay, the video is shared with his whole school, and he is nominated for Prom Queen. With help from some friends and some fellow queens, Waylon decides to embrace the nomination. Along the way, he learns that he doesn’t have to wait to be fully himself.
Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon; narrated by Joniece Abbott-Pratt, A.J. Beckles, Jordan Cobb, Dion Graham, Imani Parks, Shayna Small, and Bahni Turpin Quill Tree Books Publication date: June 22, 2021 ISBN: 9780063088122
Blackout subtly weaves six unique novellas featuring Black characters by six Black authors into one connected story in New York City during a summer blackout. Tiffany D. Jackson’s story focuses on exes Tammie and Kareem who run into each other at the same summer internship opportunity. Nic Stone’s contribution is a queer male/male love story about Tremaine and JJ. Ashley Woodfolk tells a cute sapphic romance between Joss and Nella that takes place at a senior living facility. Dhonielle Clayton tackles a friends-to-lovers romance in the New York Public Library. Angie Thomas tells of a love triangle with some emotional baggage. Nicola Yoon’s meet cute of Seymour and Grace is a heartwarming end to this high-interest book about Black Love.