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.
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.
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.
Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
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.
The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves;narrated by Christian Barillas HarperAudio Release date: 02-11-20 ISBN: 978-1094114224
When caught on video being punched by a kid in the locker room, David’s embarrassment goes viral. Feeling that the only way to save face is to beef up, he starts following a famous action star’s fitness program, with promises of incredible muscle gains in the three months of summer. He plans to go back to school as a new man. Discovering that the kinds of gains he is looking for are only possible with chemical help, he turns to steroids with the help of the owner of his gym. Further disillusioned when he finds out that the ill gotten gains will be lost if he stops taking the drugs, he starts spiraling down a road of steroid abuse.