Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II by Andrew Fukuda; narrated by Emily Ellet and Greg Chun
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
When, in 1935, Japanese-American Alex Maki finds out his new assigned penpal Charlie Lévy, is a girl he is horrified. Still, the two continue writing to each other for the next six years, about his life in Bainbridge Island, Washington, and hers as a Jewish girl living in Paris. It isn’t long after Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, that Alex and his family start feeling the underlying racism of their community and are sent to an internment camp, and Charlie is feeling the threats of the Nazi occupation of France. Soon Charlie’s letters stop. Lying about his age, Alex enlists in the army, hoping to save his father who has been wrongly accused of being a spy where he is assigned to the legendary all-Japanese American 442nd regiment.
Narrators Ellet and Chun masterfully capture the voices of Charlie and Alex as they move from adolescence to being young adults, and bring the warmth and joy they find in each other’s letters. Fukuda draws a realistic brutal portrait of the war, and the intense situations that the 442nd regiment were a part. Both author and narrators root the listener into the many places Alex and Charlie inhabit.
This will easily appeal to fans of unique WWII stories such as Ruta Sepytus’ Salt to the Sea and Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity. Those that want to explore more about Japanese Internment will appreciate George Takei’s graphic novel memoir They Called Us Enemy, and those that want more stories about the 442nd regiment can with Dean Hughes’ Four-Four-Two.
Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario; narrated by Donnabella Mortel and Cassie Simone
Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Rowena and Ariana are sisters who lost their mother, and they are still coping with their loss years later. When Ariana disappears one night, younger sister Row is left to figure out where she is, why she left, and what Row should do about it. She asks her best friend for help, but she is reticent to tell her dad that Ariana isn’t home. The story alternates between the two sisters, so readers are aware of the issues that their family has not been discussing.
The novel is written in verse, and the audiobook sounds conversational. With the alternating points of view, the narrators make the younger and older sister easy to distinguish. The dual narration also emphasizes the theme of how people deal with loss and grief in different ways.
Another story of two sisters that readers and listeners will enjoy is Sadie by Courtney Summers. Those looking for more books about finding ways to cope with grief may want to check out the graphic novel Will and Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge.