Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2020) Nominees Round Up, March 6 Edition

Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones, narrated by Dillan Meighan Chiblow
Annick Press
Published Date: December 1, 2018
ISBN: 978-1554519774

Shane, a closeted-gay Anishinabe teenager living in Northern Ontario, has one main goal – to leave his reservation to go to college and live a freer life. Reeling from his sister’s suicide, his mother has shut down, forcing Shane to make a lot of hard choices, but with very few options, and while managing his own grief. Tensions start to surface as he is unable to reciprocate intimacy to his girlfriend Tara, and from his forbidden hidden romance with David.

The whole production treats contemporary Canadian aboriginal life in a relatable and realistic way. Indigenous narrator, Dillan Meighan Chiblow, captures the vulnerable emotion and tone of the book of teens trying to find themselves in the midst of tragedy, pain, and social constraints in the character-driven novel.

The atmospheric feel of the book, based on a film by the author of the same name, will appeal to fans of Adam Silvera’s History is All You Left Me, Jenny Hubbard’s And We Stay, and Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay. Movie fans of the recent adaptation of The Miseducation of Cameron Post and of the film Eight Grade will appreciate the novel’s characters struggles to find themselves amidst the pressures of their immediate world’s expectations.

–Danielle Jones


Vita Nostra: A Novel by Sergey Dyachenko and Marina Dyachenko, translated by Julia Meitov Hersey, and narrated by Jessica Ball
Published Date: November 13, 2018
ISBN: 9780062694591

In this spellbinding, Ukrainian translation sixteen-year-old Sasha Samokhina meets a mysterious man under peculiar circumstances that gives her a set of tasks that she must do every day. Failure to comply to these tasks causes physical harm, not to her, but to those close to her. Success in completing these leads to her vomiting gold coins and eventual admission to the Institute of Special Technologies. At this Kafkaesque, Hogwarts like school, students’ studies are rigorous yet obscure, fearsome yet magical, and opaque yet transformative that eventually lead Sasha to defy the dictates of matter and time.

The Dyachenkos’ immersive and atmospheric world has a menacing undercurrent that is spellbinding and full of psychological twists and turns, metaphysical tangents, and humorous shenanigans of young adults, all while exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. Jessica Ball’ British narration captures the tone of the book perfectly working her own magic that keeps listeners riveted.

This mystical novel will appeal to Harry Potter fans that are ready for more existential explorations. Fans Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves, Nova Ren Suma’s Imaginary Girls, and A Room Away From the Wolves, and April Genevieve Tucholke’s  Wink Poppy Midnight will love the atmospheric vibe of this audio. Also comic fans of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Series and shows like Orphan Black, Black Mirror, and Sense8 will enjoy this highly listenable audio that gives them something more to chew on.

–Danielle Jones