Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Layoverland by Gabby Noone; narrated by Sophie Amoss
Publisher: Recorded Books
Release date: 01-21-20
Beatrice is having the worst day. And then a car crashes into her and she dies. Bea wakes up on an airplane that has just landed, where? In the liminal space between life and whatever comes after, Bea must atone for her sins by helping others face their own. But one of her first assignments is Caleb, the boy who was driving the car that killed her. She sees a path of revenge using her position to keep him stuck here and unable to move on, but as she gets to know him, that no longer seems like a good plan. As they work through his memories she finds him intriguing in a way that has her falling.
Bea is a great heroine with flaws. With fierce feminist values and a no holds barred voice, she is a force to be reckoned with. While the story is about death, it has a light romcom feel. Amoss’s narration does a great job with voicing and characters, each has an individual voice, but not cartoonish.
Fans of The Good Place will like this light look at life after death. Readers looking for romance under hardship, like in Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott and Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon will find more of that here.
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales; Narrated by Mark Sanderlin
Publication Date: March 2, 2020
Ollie had the perfect summer and the perfect summer fling with Will and is ready for an unforgettable senior year back in California until his parents drop a bombshell on him. They’re staying in North Carolina to help take care of his dying Aunt Linda and her two small children. When Ollie realizes that he’s attending the same school as Will, at first he’s thrilled, until he realizes that Will is very much still in the closet and wants nothing to do with out and proud Ollie.
All of Gonzales’ characters are exceptionally well-rounded and work through their problems with a maturity not always found in YA literature. It’s easy to empathize with both Ollie and Will’s points of view, and there are many important discussions on what it means to be a queer teen, biphobia and the loss of loved ones. Sanderlin voices Ollie perfectly, slightly neurotic and socially awkward.
Fans of Makenzi Lee’s The Montague Siblings series and Phillip Stamper’s The Gravity of Us will enjoy the quirky characters and the sweet coming out story. Those who love Simon in Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda will love Ollie. Those who enjoy the close family ties and emotional beats of the television show This Is Us will appreciate the closeness of Ollie and his family. Fans of Grease will also enjoy this retelling immensely.