In addition to identifying outstanding young adult literature and great graphic novels (plus lots of other lists of superior titles of various sorts), YALSA also publishes a yearly list of amazing audiobooks. But what makes an audiobook amazing? I was one of the librarians who helped create the most recent list, and I’d like to highlight a few of our top ten titles and explain what it was for me that made them stand out from the crowd.
Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? (written by Louise Rennison and read by Stina Nielson) and The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (written by L.A. Meyer and read by Katherine Kellgren): Both of these were a lot of fun to listen to and while they’re very different stories (in the first, Georgia deals in her own distinctive way with the day-to-day life of a British teen, and in the second, Jacky continues her piratical adventures on the high seas), the thing that made them amazing for me was similar: the narrator becomes the protagonist. Both Nielson and Kellgren have an incredible command of spoken language, matching their pitch and pacing and accents perfectly to the situation in which their characters find themselves. While I was listening to both of these, I felt so swept up in what was happening, so immersed in the story, that I almost forgot I was listening to an audiobook. With such a natural (although very enthusiastic!) performance, it’s really storytelling rather than reading.