Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, July 22 Edition

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

Cover Art for Furious Thing

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham; narrated by Jenny Downham
Scholastic Audio 
Publication Date: January 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-1338605259

Lex is a highschool student that has always had issues controlling her anger, often justified anger at circumstances in her life, and of those she loves. Once her mother becomes engaged to a very controlling and manipulative man, Lex soon realizes that standing up for those you love, and expressing her pain and anger is not a burden, but her gift. 

Gaslighting. This book just nails it, the feelings, the rage, the confusion. This book highlights the subtle abuse of a person that can make you see yourself as all wrong, and as a monster. Some people take this abuse, but Lex refuses to accept this treatment, and her rage is the most beautiful thing. The author sums it up perfectly, “There are lots of girls like her in the world, with real and justifiable cause to be angry. Girls who fight to claim back the spaces that belong to them and who battle to be heard. I hope her story encourages more of them to make a noise.” The author narration is fantastic, and she conveys the emotion and voice of the character perfectly. 

Recommended for teens that listen to Billie Ellish, watch This Is Not Okay, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Also recommend checking out the 1944 classic movie Gaslight where the term originates. 

–Kristin Kern

cover art for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: A Hunger Games Novel by Suzanne Collins; narrated by Santino Fontana
Scholastic Audio
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
ISBN: 978-1338635201

 Eighteen year old Coriolanus Snow’s family used to be one of the richest and most powerful families in The Capitol of Panem, but now they have fallen so far that he and his cousin Tigress can barely afford to put food on the table.  Coriolanus knows that in order for his family to again rise to power he needs to do well as a mentor during the tenth Hunger Games, although he suffers a setback when he is assigned the female tribute from District 12, Lucy Gray Baird.  Between Snow’s cunning mind and Lucy Gray’s quick wit and flair for the dramatic, the two of them come up with  a plan to secure both of their futures.

Santino Fontana’s dry and sarcastic approach to narration was the perfect fit for Snow’s inner thoughts and biting wit. Fans will learn more about how Snow shaped up to be the tyrannical president they know and hate.  Fans of The Hunger Games will enjoy this look at how the games shaped up to be the spectacle they are in the trilogy, as well as reading about the ancestors of some of their favorite characters, while still being accessible to new readers.

Fans of dystopian and science fiction novels like The Arc of the Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman and The Aurora Cycle by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff will enjoy this novel.  Those who enjoy villain origin stories like Fairest by Marissa Meyer or the villain point of view like the movie Maleficent will also like this novel.

–Candace Fox

cover art for 19 Love Songs

19 Love Songs by David Levithan; narrated by David Levithan, Vikas Adam, Ron Butler, Elle Cohen, Lisa Cordileone, Michael Crouch, Nick Eliopulos, Michael Goldstrom, Graham Halstead, Daniel Henning, Aaron Landon, Rebecca Lowman and Alex McKenna
Listening Library
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
ISBN: 978-0593104903

Nineteen short stories are linked together through an exploration of love and its many meanings and expressions. There’s romantic stories like the one about a boy falling in love while competing at a Quiz Bowl, or a trans football player going on a date with a cheerleader. Other stories seem autobiographical and returning characters from Levithan’s other books like Two Boys Kissing make an appearance. Several stories touch on familial connections, friendship and learning to accept yourself rounding out this touching, diverse anthology on love.

Most of the stories are written in first person so this anthology works well in audio. The narrators, each perfectly chosen for their character, work to create a world inside each story. The diversity in the narrators delivery, tone and sentiment reflects that of the story’s meaning. Leviathan narrates several of the stories himself giving intensity to these obviously personal stories. 

Readers who enjoy a mix of stories and diverse characters will also like Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet and Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd. Those who loved any of Levithan’s other books will not be disappointed in this moving tribute to all things love.

–Rachel Adams