Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, June 17 Edition

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

Such a Fun Age cover art

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid; narrated by Nicole Lewis
Penguin Audio / G.P. Putnam’s Sons 
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
ISBN: 978-0593294611

Working as a baby-sitter at twenty-five, Emira is aimless and broke, and about to lose her parent’s health insurance. After an incident at a grocery store where Emira, who is black, is accused of kidnapping the white toddler she’s tending, Alix, Emira’s boss, starts to take interest in Emira as does the white man that videotaped the grocery store incident. This book explores that uncertain time of post college years, and probes the nuances of racism and white saviorism. 

Lewis’s narration manages to bring distinction between this dual point-of-view as she switches back and forth from Emira and Alix’s stories in this character-driven novel. Teens will be transported to the Philadelphia setting, as Lewis captures both the age and the place. 

With its examination of privilege, this will appeal to older teen readers that are fans of shows like Dear White People and #BlackAF. It will also easily appeal to fans of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, Anissa Gray’s The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, and Nic Stone’s Dear Martin

–Danielle Jones

The King of Crows cover art

The King of Crows (The Diviners, Book 4) by Libba Bray, narrated by January LaVoy
Listening Library
Release date: 02-04-20
ISBN: 978-0316126090

In the concluding fourth installment of the Diviners series,  Evie O’Neill and the other Diviners are recovering from the explosion that took their friend and turned them into wanted criminals. Following clues about Project Buffalo, a secret government program that created the Diviners, they are led on adventures across the U.S.A to stop the dangerously misguided eugenicist Jack Marlowe from bringing the King of Crows and his army of the dead to this world.

Libba Bray’s ghost story laced with racism, class problems that echoes in current issues is truly amazing. Bray builds a colorful tapestry of life in the early 1900’s with plenty of magical realism and lots to say about eugenics, and government conspiracy.

The narration by January LaVoy truly elevates this book.  As with the first three books in the series, LaVoy creates amazing separate voices for each character including timbre and accents.  At one point, as several characters perform a radio show, the listener knows who is speaking without any naming of characters for an extended time.  There is also singing and sounds to bring the story to life. 

The King of Crows is a necessary concluding listen for fans of the earlier Diviners books.  Also for fans of the Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom duology by Leigh Bardugo as well as alternative histories such as Dread Nation and Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland.

–Cathy Outten