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Tag: brent crawford

2015 Amazing Audiobooks Top Ten Listen-a-Likes

Photo by Flickr User jeff_golden
Photo by Flickr User jeff_golden

This past year I had the immense pleasure to serve as chair for the 2015 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults committee. It was a really great year for audiobooks and my committee was fortunate to consider a total of 395 audiobooks for our selection list!  After hours and hours of listening, we had to whittle down a list of no more than 30 selections that were the year’s best.  If you have not yet had a chance to checkout our list you can see it here.  It was released last week, after the Midwinter Conference.

We also had the even more difficult task of selecting our Top Ten Audiobooks of the year. Below are our Top Ten titles for 2015, along with a suggested listen-a-like, in case you are ahead of the game and have already listened to these Top Ten selections.

2015 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Top Ten

  • ACID by Emma Pass, read by Fiona Hardingham with Nicholas Guy Smith and Suzan Crowley. Listening Library, 2014. 10 hours, 48 minutes; 9 discs. 978-0-8041-6832-8.

The brutal police state ACID rules all, so when Jenna is broken out of prison by a rebel group she has to fight to survive as ACID’s most-wanted fugitive.  Unique ACID reports and recordings read by Smith and Hardingham’s excellent pace combine with her authentic teen voice to highlight this exciting story.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham: For those listeners who are looking for another title narrated by Fiona Hardingham that is packed with action and adventure and that has a strong female main character. (Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2012,  2012 Odyssey Honor  Audiobook)


  • Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger, read by Moira Quick.  Hachette Audio, 2013.  9 hours, 30 minutes, 8 discs, ISBN: 978-1-4789-2648-1.

In the second installment of the Finishing School series, Sophronia and her classmates use their training to search for a dangerous device that may have fallen into the wrong hands.  Quick’s lively narration highlights the wit and humor in Carriger’s story.


The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, read by Miranda Raison: The Finishing School series, narrated by Quirk, is filled with sly humor but also packs a punch with Sophronia’s adventures.  Likewise, The Screaming Staircase is not only is an action-packed steampunk mystery, but Raison brings variety to her narration by highlighting the nuances of the quirky cast of characters characters, including the darkly comedic Anthony Lockwood. (Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2014)

curtsies and conspiracies audio  screaming staircase audio

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“Grown-Up” Books (For the Kid in You)


When did you start to love reading? Can you remember the first book that did it for you?

Why, yes I do remember–so glad you asked! I was in third grade at my local public library with my friend Margaret (a bookworm and savvy reader a few years older than me). She thrust Lois Lowry’s Anastasia, Again at me so I shrugged and checked it out. I spent the rest of that afternoon on my front porch for hours happily lost in the book. I was a reader. And I haven’t looked back since.

Over the years, I have found that the phase of life in which you read a book affects your outlook on it. Have you ever re-read a beloved book only to find you now despise it? Have you discovered that you still love that same book but notice a lot of different stuff now? If you’ve grown up reading chances are you have many fond memories of the greats you read as a kid. In this line of thinking my colleague Meaghan Darling and I put together some recommendations of titles to try now based on what you liked when you were younger.




* The Witches by Roald Dahl –Beautiful Creatures (2010 Morris Finalist) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Some witches are good, some are bad—but all are powerful!


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What Would They Read?: That ’70s Show

That_'70s_Show_logoIt’s time once again to consider what books our favorite TV characters would read.  While reading isn’t boring, it’s not that exciting to watch.  So the question remains, what books would they read?  This month I decided to bring the past to the present.  Our six beloved teens from the 1970s probably read the classics like The Hardy Boys and books by Judy Blume.  It definitely makes me wonder what books would the gang from That 70s Show read if they were teens today.

EWilliam Shakespeare's Star Wars Verily, A New Hoperic Forman – Let’s start with the unofficial leader of the group.  When Eric is not obsessing over his on-again, off-again girlfriend or battling with his hard ass father, Eric has one other fixation, Star Wars.  We know he went to see the original several times and has even had fantasies in which he is Luke Skywalker.  I know he would plow through all of the different amalgamations of Star Wars graphic novels, from the first episode to the Clone Wars and beyond.  I would also like to give him something I stumbled upon a few months ago that is just fantastic.  Ian Doescher has blended together two things that have never combined before: Star Wars and William Shakespeare.  I would give him Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (2014 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults).  Just the image of Jabba the Hut in Shakespearean dress is enough to make this title a favorite.

Jackie Burkhart – We know that Jackie is a reader.  On several occasions Jackie mentions reading Nancy lulu dark can see through wallsDrew mysteries.  I’d like to bring Jackie to the new millennium with a few options that are a bit more modern, but still with the Nancy Drew core.  First, I’d give Jackie Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison.  Unlike Nancy Drew, Lulu isn’t that excited to beginning investigating a mystery, but when her designer purse is stolen, she takes the case.  Instead of ending every mystery with a hot fudge sundae like Nancy Drew would do, I’d bet Lulu would celebrate every mystery with a latte.  I’m sure millennial Jackie would approve. 

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Feel Good YA

It seems YA lit is getting a reputation. Past controversies over “darkness” and “sick lit” and constant threats of challanges and censorship make it seem like the only thing YA has going for it is doom, gloom, drama, and adversity. But true YA readers, especially here at The Hub, know this isn’t the case. While most of the attention seems focused on the negative, there are plenty of uplifting and positive books that don’t always deal with the heavier subjects. Sure, we still love the dystopias, zombies, and drama-filled love triangles, but sometimes we need a good story with a happy and satisfying ending. Inspired by a teen reader who came to me recently looking for a book that would “just make me feel good,” here is a list of books that hopefully will make you smile, laugh, and maybe cry — but only happy tears.


  • Ten Miles Past NormalTen Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
    Janie has had enough of her parents’ granola, hippie lifestyle on their small farm and begins high school to find new friends and a new way of looking at the world.
  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (2007 Best Books for Young Adults)
    D.J. Schwenk doesn’t get a lot of attention from her father (or anyone else really) until she decides to try out for the football team. Now everybody wants to know who exactly D.J. is — including herself.

Back-to-School Reads

Teens around the country are headed back to school, some terrified of a new school, some looking forward to seeing old friends. These books that start on the first day of school will assure you that it could be worse.

Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford (a 2010 Amazing Audiobook)

Carter has big plans for his freshman year of high school. He is going to be the champion of his football team, the most popular guy in school, and a ladies’ man. Unfortunately for Carter a dislike of tackling sweaty guys leaves him on the second string of the football team, and a few offhand comments in the locker room makes him a social outcast, especially with the ladies. Carter’s year isn’t off to a good start, but what he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in acting as he joins the school’s musical.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection)

Rory is ready to start her first year abroad at a London boarding school, but learning the ropes of English culture is harder than she expects — especially after a string of murders has all the students confined to their dorm rooms. When Rory and her roommate sneak out for a bit of fresh air, she sees a mysterious stranger on campus … a stranger no one else can see who might be connected to the deaths around London.

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Books Featuring Teenage Males That May Make You Cry… with Laughter

I love books that make me laugh. Not just sniff, smile, head-shake, move on. I mean, holding the book frozen in mid-air as my eyes squeeze shut with tears starting to fall, shaking with silent laughter. Yes, I look like a maniac when this happens, especially in public. And you know what? I couldn’t care less what people think. When a book makes me laugh that hard, I just go with it. If I’m driving and listening to an audiobook when that happens? Forget about it. The fun thing is, I never know when it’s going to strike. I can be sitting there reading this fun romp of a novel, and then bam! Drenched in laughter.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a somewhat unique sense of humor. I can’t tell you exactly what will trigger that stomach-hurting laughter. It has happened with a lot of different types of books including memoirs and kids’ books. At one point Diary of a Wimpy Kid had me in hysterics (for those of you who have read it, I started giggling with “I get that you’re pretty” and by the time one of the trees chipped his tooth because he couldn’t stick his arms out to break his fall, I was toast). Okay, a lot things that make me laugh involve people falling down, but I digress….

I started thinking about the books that have made me crack up, and I’m not going to lie, a lot of them (A) have a teenage male protagonist, (B) contain such a male who is very–ahem–hormonal, and (C) feature a guy who is also, shall we say … endearingly clueless? Combine those elements, and you’ve got a recipe for the funny. Thankfully the YA world has many to choose from. Here are a few that proved particularly memorable for me.


And the winner is…

It’s my favorite time of the year! The 84th Academy Awards are set to take place on Sunday, February 26 on ABC and I cannot wait. If you haven’t had the chance yet, be sure to take a look at all the talented actors, actresses, producers, directors, and more nominated this year. While I don’t consider myself a tried and true movie buff, I definitely watch my fair share of movies, from really bad movies with awful graphics to the silly and cartoonish. There’s something exciting about seeing my favorite celebrities all decked out in their finest, about moaning and groaning through the overly long speeches, and wondering how they are going to dramatize the “in remembrance” portion of the evening. Yep, I’m an Oscars junkie and proud of it!

If you’re anything like me, you may be interested in reading some fun teen lit that focuses on the glitz and glamour of the movies and celebrities. There are a plethora of great titles out there so read on to find out some of the highlights and be sure to add your own suggestions in the comments! Perhaps you want to make an Oscar themed book display or have an Oscar YA party. These books will help you bring on your own inner star.

YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks list is a great place to start. The 2009 Fame and Fortune list is a great resource to “read all about teens aspiring to make it big.” This list focuses on several of the talents celebrities are famous for including acting, music, and modeling. And to add to that great YALSA list, be sure to check out the 2012 Fabulous Films for Young Adults: Song and Dance list. Combining books and movies is always a winning combination for any movie buff.


All I Need to Know I Learned from YA Books: relationship advice from your favorite books

Ah Valentine’s day … I keenly remember the sweet pain of anticipation that every Valentine’s day brought. Waiting in home room at my high school for the coveted cans of soda to be delivered to their intended recipient bearing the note, “______ has a “Crush” on you!” And the agony of trying to decipher the intentions of the sender. Was the “crush” meant romantically or just in a friendly way? These questions would be discussed in the halls, at lunch, and in notes passed in class. Although my love life was a comedy of errors, I found solace in the romantic endeavors of my favorite characters. And so to celebrate relationships from fairy-tale to failure, we offer up our favorite dating advice we have garnered from YA books.

image courtesy of Calamity Photography on flickrRead These Books –> Learn These Lessons

If the hottest guy in school acts like he hates you, but can’t stop staring at you … its probably because he’s not quite human and your fates are intertwined. – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (and any number of paranormal romances)

Never hypnotize a guy into being the friend you think you want at nine, because then he’ll never develop into the guy you can date at seventeen! –  Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley

If you write your deepest emotions down in a “story” and you share it, eventually people are going to figure out what and WHO you are talking about…. – Love Story by Jennifer Echols

You know that beautiful, witty, excentric girl that you have a crush on? Someday she will realize how amazing you are and take you on the adventure of a lifetime, just be patient. – Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns by John Green