SYNC Audiobooks for Teens

SYNC imageThe SYNC Audiobooks for Teens program, sponsored by AudioFile Magazine, and powered by OverDrive, will start next week on May 5th to give teens, librarians and educators the opportunity  to download a selection of free audiobooks during a 15-week program that ends on August 17, 2016.

Each week, SYNC offers a thematic pairing of  two YA books or a YA book with an classic adult book. You must download the Overdrive app to the device of your choice to access the audiobooks each Thursday after 7 pm (EST). Each week’s selections are only available for download for one week, so if you don’t download them during that time period, you won’t be able to get them later, since they aren’t archived. Teens, librarians, club leaders, and educators can sign up for email or text alerts to receive reminders of when they’re available.

Many of the selections are award-winners or titles frequently assigned for summer reading. They are notable for their excellent narration that enables readers to master the listening skills so necessary for literacy. During the summer of 2015, the SYNC program gave away more than 129,000 downloads to 41,000 participants.

With the continued discussions of the loss of reading skills over the summer, SYNC hopes to help keep teens engaged and stimulated throughout the summer. Public librarians have also used SYNC as part of their summer reading programs.

SYNC has a toolkit you can use to publicize it to teens and other librarians by going to their website. There are downloadable posters and a brochure with the list of each week’s audiobooks, and even audio snippets of the books you can listen to.

I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to listen to books I may not have read, or adult books I wouldn’t normally listen to. I really love that they’re free and that I can keep them forever once I’ve downloaded them. I’ve only participated over the past three or so years. Since this is the seventh year of the program, I’ve missed out on a lot of great audios! So you don’t miss out like I did, the list of what’s available is here, with annotations from WorldCat. You can also go to SYNC’s website to see the list too.

Vivian Apple at the End of the WorldVIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Katie Coyle (Dreamscape Media) 

Sixteen-year-old Vivian Apple returns home after the alleged ‘Rapture’ to find her devout parents gone and two mysterious holes in the roof. Vivian never believed in the Rapture, or the uber powerful Church of America. Now that she has been left behind, Vivan’s quest for the truth begins.


Great Tennessee Monkey Trial Peter GoodchildTHE GREAT TENNESSEE MONKEY TRIAL by Peter Goodchild (L.A. Theatre Works) 

Presents a dramatization of the Scope Trial in a small-town Tennessee courtroom in 1925 which set the stage for the ongoing national debate over freedom of inquiry and the separation of church and state in a democratic society.


Sin Eaters Daughter audioTHE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER by Melinda Salisbury (Scholastic Audio)

For four years sixteen-year-old Twylla has lived in the castle of Lormere, the goddess-embodied, whose touch can poison and kill, and hence the Queen’s executioner–but when Prince Merek, her betrothed, who is immune to her touch returns to the kingdom she finds herself caught up in palace intrigues, unsure if she can trust him or the bodyguard who claims to love her.



Los Angeles lawyer and law professor, Jim Gash, tells the amazing true story of how, after a series of God-orchestrated events, he finds himself in the heart of Africa defending a courageous Ugandan boy languishing in prison and wrongfully accused of two separate murders. Ultimately, their unlikely friendship and unrelenting persistence reforms Uganda’s criminal justice system, leaving a lasting impact on hundreds of thousands of lives and unearthing a friendship that supersedes circumstance, culture and the walls we often hide behind.

100 Sideways Miles audio100 SIDEWAYS MILES by Andrew Smith (Tantor Media) (2015 Best Books for Young Adults)

Finn Easton, sixteen and epileptic, struggles to feel like more than just a character in his father’s cult-classic novels with the help of his best friend, Cade Hernandez, and first love, Julia, until Julia moves away.



This boy's life audioTHIS BOY’S LIFE by Tobias Wolff (Highbridge Audio)

Wolff’s account of his boyhood and the process of growing up includes paper routes, whiskey, scouting, fistfights, friendship, and betrayal in 1950s America.



Every Last WordEVERY LAST WORD by Tamara Ireland Stone (Ideal Audiobooks) 

Consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off, a girl coping with Purely-Obsessional OCD learns to accept herself and take control of her life through her experiences in poetry club.



Egg & SpoonEGG & SPOON by Gregory Maguire (Brilliance Audio) (2015 Best Books for Young Adults)

In 1905 czarist Russia, an impoverished country girl Elena and the aristocratic Ekaterina meet and set in motion an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and the witch Baba Yaga.


Words in the Dust audioWORDS IN THE DUST by Trent Reedy (Scholastic Audio)                                   

Zulaikha, a thirteen-year-old girl in Afghanistan, faces a series of frightening but exhilarating changes in her life as she defies her father and secretly meets with an old woman who teaches her to read, her older sister gets married, and American troops offer her surgery to fix her disfiguring cleft lip.



Boy Born Dead audioTHE BOY BORN DEAD: A STORY OF FRIENDSHIP, COURAGE, AND TRIUMPH by David Ring, David Wideman, John Driver (christianaudio) 

In 1953, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a baby boy was born–dead. The attending physician set his little body aside and tended to his mother for eighteen minutes. Now, more than sixty years later, that boy leads an internationally known ministry that encourages hundreds of thousands every year. The Boy Born Dead traces the roots of this harrowing, humorous, and heartfelt story … the real-life events of David Ring.


Zac and mia audioZAC AND MIA by A.J. Betts (Dreamscape Media)

The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t–couldn’t–be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note–then a friendship neither of them sees coming.


I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy NelsonI’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson (Brilliance Audio) (2015 Michael L. Printz Award, 2015 Best Books for Young Adults)

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways … until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else — an even more unpredictable new force in her life.


how it went down_magoonHOW IT WENT DOWN by Kekla Magoon (Recorded Books) (2015 Best Books for Young Adults)

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.



audiobio of ex colored man audioTHE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN EX-COLORED MAN by James Weldon Johnson (Tantor Media)

In James Weldon Johnson’s emotionally gripping and poignant look into race relations, a half-white half-black man of very light complexion must chose between his heritage and the art that he loves and the ability to escape the inherent racism that he faces by passing as a white.

Boy Meets Boy by David LevithanBOY MEETS BOY
by David Levithan (Full Cast Audio) (2016 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner)

When Paul falls hard for Noah, he thinks he has found his one true love, but when Noah walks out of his life, Paul has to find a way to get him back and make everything right once more.



Donny's Brain audioDONNY’S BRAIN by Rona Munro (L.A. Theatre Works) 

The acclaimed Scottish playwright Rona Munro has created a remarkable story about a man who wakes up from a car crash with brain damage. Now, he sees the world as the person he was three years ago, when his life and loves were in a very different place.


Omnivore's Dilemma audioTHE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA: THE SECRETS BEHIND WHAT YOU EAT, YOUNG READERS EDITION by Michael Pollan (Listening Library)

In a smart, compelling format with updated facts, plenty of photos, graphs, and visuals, this book encourages kids to consider the personal and global health implications of their food choices.



grasshopperGRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew Smith (Listening Library) (2015 Printz Honor Winner)

Austin Szerba narrates the end of humanity as he and his best friend Robby accidentally unleash an army of giant, unstoppable bugs and uncover the secrets of a decades-old experiment gone terribly wrong.


Young World audioTHE YOUNG WORLD by Chris Weitz (Hachette Audio)

Jefferson, with his childhood friend Donna, leads a tribe of teenagers in New York City on a dangerous quest to find an antidote for a mysterious illness that wiped out all adults and children.



Symphony for the dead Anderson audioSYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD:DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH AND THE SIEGE OF LENINGRAD by M. T. Anderson (Brilliance Audio) (2016 YALSA Excellence in NF Award finalist)

National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson delivers a brilliant and riveting account of the Siege of Leningrad during World War II and the role played by Russian composer Shostakovich and his Leningrad Symphony.


Fat Angie by e.E. Charlton-TrujilloFAT ANGIE by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo (Brilliance Audio)

Fat Angie’s sister was captured in Iraq, she’s the resident laughingstock at school, and her therapist tells her to count instead of eat. Can a daring new girl in her life really change anything?



on the jellicoe road by melina marchettaON THE JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta (Bolinda) (2009 Michael L. Printz Award)

Taylor Markham is now a senior at the Jellicoe School, and has been made leader of the boarders. She is responsible for keeping the upper hand in the territory wars with the townies, and the cadets who camp on the edge of the school’s property over summer. She has to keep her students safe and the territories enforced and to deal with Jonah Griggs, the leader of the cadets and someone she’d rather forget. But what she needs to do, more than anything, is unravel the mystery of her past and find her mother who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road six years before.

Mandela an audio historyMANDELA: AN AUDIO HISTORY
by Nelson Mandela (Highbridge Audio)

The award-winning radio series documenting the struggle against apartheid through intimate first-person accounts of Nelson Mandela himself, as well as those who fought with him, and against him.



Things Fall Apart by Chinua AchebeTHINGS FALL APART by Chinua Achebe (Recorded Books) 

First published in 1958, this novel tells the story of Okonkwo, the leader of an Igbo (Ibo) community who is banished for accidentally killing a clansman. The novel covers the seven years of his exile to his return, providing an inside view of the intrusion of white missionaries and colonial government into tribal Igbo society in the 1890s.


Juba audioJUBA! A NOVEL by Walter Dean Myers (HarperAudio)

In Five Points, New York, in the 1840s, African American teenager William Henry “Juba” Lane works hard to achieve his dream of becoming a professional dancer but his real break comes when he is invited to perform in England. Based on the life of Master Juba; includes historical note.



Pennies for Hitler by Jackie FrenchPENNIES FOR HITLER by Jackie French (Bolinda)

It’s 1939, and for Georg, son of an English academic living in Germany, life is full of cream cakes and loving parents. It is also a time when his teacher measures the pupils’ heads to see which of them have the most ‘Aryan’ shaped heads. But when a university graduation ceremony turns into a pro-Nazi demonstration, Georg is smuggled out of Germany to war-torn London and then across enemy seas to Australia where he must forget his past and who he is in order to survive. Hatred is contagious, but Georg finds that kindness can be, too.

Book of Unknown Americans audioTHE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS
by Cristina Henríquez (Penguin Random House Audio)

Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better. When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core.


most dangerous sheinkin audioMOST DANGEROUS:DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE VIETNAM WAR by Steve Sheinkin (Listening Library) (2016 YALSA Excellence in NF Award)

From Steve Sheinkin, the award-winning author of “The Port Chicago 50” and “Bomb “comes a tense, exciting exploration of what the Times deemed “the greatest story of the century”: how Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into “the most dangerous man in America,” and risked everything to expose the government’s deceit.


bone_gap_laura_ruby_printz_coverBONE GAP by Laura Ruby (HarperAudio) (2016 Michael Printz Award winner; 2016 Best Books for Young Adults & 2016 Top Teen Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Eighteen-year-old Finn, an outsider in his quiet Midwestern town, is the only witness to the abduction of town favorite Roza, but his inability to distinguish between faces makes it difficult for him to help with the investigation, and subjects him to even more ridicule and bullying.


classic-american-short-stories-09696-sync2016-2400x2400CLASSIC AMERICAN SHORT STORIES by Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, Stephen Crane, Kate Chopin, James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, and O. Henry (Naxos AudioBooks)

Represented here are 16 short stories by seven great American writers, dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Sharon Rawlins — currently reading The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

2 thoughts on “SYNC Audiobooks for Teens”

  1. Oh my gosh, I was not familiar with this program, what an AWESOME resource! How have I been missing this?! Thanks for the info, Sharon!

    1. You’re welcome! I know, I didn’t know about it for years either. SYNC is trying to publicize it more so that teens and librarians are aware
      of what a great resource it is.

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