Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, June 3 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

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The Grace Year by Kim Liggett; Narrated by Emily Shaffer
Wednesday Books / Macmillan
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
ISBN: 9781250623225 

Tierney James lives in Garner County, where when girls turn sixteen, they are banished to the woods for a year to release their temptress magic out into the wild and come back as the docile, subservient creatures ready for marriage or work in the fields.  Not only do Tierney and the other girls have to survive the elements and poachers that are waiting right outside their compound to skin them and sell their body parts, but they also have to survive each other.  When Tierney, an admitted social outcast, ends up on the wrong side of de facto leader, Kiersten, she discovers firsthand that maybe the real danger isn’t waiting for them outside their walls after all.

Listeners will have a hard time pausing this intricately plotted, fast-paced novel. Shaffer captures the raw emotions and fear of the Grace Year Girls and draws the reader into this world, even while the subject matter may be hard for some readers to experience. 

For readers looking for more titles with strong female leads, check out the Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black, the Three Dark Crowns series by Kendare Blake and Dread Nation by Justina Ireland.  Fans of futuristic dystopian novels and survival stories will enjoy The Good Luck Girls Charlotte Nicole Davis, Wilder Girls by Rory Power and Be Not Far from Me by Mindy McGinnis.

Candace Fox

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The How & The Why by Cynthia Hand; narrated by Phoebe Strole and Erin Spencer
Published: November 5, 2019
ISBN 9780062693167

Eighteen years ago S gave up her baby for adoption.  Now 18 years old, Cassandra wants to find her birth mother.  Cassandra has the best parents anyone could, and is not sure how finding her birth mother might affect that.  Also, trying to figure out her college plans and dealing with her mother needing a heart transplant complicates things.

Written in alternating chapters of the birth mother’s story (as told in letters from the pregnant teen to her unborn baby) and Cassandra’s current story The How & the Why unfolds the realities of their lives, including the circumstances prompting the adoption.  The two narrators make for an excellent listening experience, each giving their character an individual voice. With twists and parallels in their stories eventually coming together at the end, this is truly a younger reader’s example of women’s literary fiction.

Touching on teen pregnancy and the angst of coming of age, this book will appeal to readers of Jandy Nelson and Nina LaCour.  

-Cathy Outten