Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, October 21 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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Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas; narrated by Avi Roque
Macmillan Audio
Publication date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 9781250619129

Yadriel grew up in a cemetery with his magical Latinx family.  After they deny him the rite of passage to become a true brujo because he is transgendered, Yadriel undertakes the magical ceremony in secret with his best friend Maritza.  During the successful rite, Yadriel accidentally summons the ghost of Julian, a local bad boy he knows from around school.  Julian is set on making sure his friends are okay before his ghost moves on, and Yadriel wants to find out what happened to his cousin who was killed the same night.  As they search for answers, and Yadriel gives Julian the last day on Earth that he wants, Yadriel and Julian manage to fall in love, as well solve the mysteries surrounding his death.  

Aiden Thomas, the #ownvoices author of this debut novel brings unforgettable characters and a fantastic world for them to exist in.  The #ownvoices narrator, Avi Roque, does an incredible job at bringing Yadriel and his cohorts to life in this audiobook.  The audiobook includes an interview at the end between the author and narrator with an in-depth discussion about being trans, Latinx, and how to make an audiobook.

Readers of magic and fantasy, romance and LGBTQ+ experience, and those looking for Latinx representation will be thrilled with this National Book Award long listed book.  Similar in tone to Felix Ever After, but with the added magic of books like those by Anna-Marie McLemore, this book will appeal to readers looking for an exciting, ultimately joyous queer romance. 

-Cathy Outten

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Hood Feminism Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall; narrated by Mikki Kendall
Viking / Penguin Audio 
Publication Date: February 2, 2020
ISBN: 9780593166116

Through a series of essays and an intersectional approach, this looks at how the mainstream femisinst movements (i.e. white dominated feminists) overlook issues of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Because of this omission, issues such as education access, gun control, housing, health care, and food security haven’t been seen as feminist issues and assesses the ways and reasons that they continue to be ignored. 

The author’s narration is impactful in its delivery, and will appeal to teens that are ready to challenge the status quo. The book also looks at how modern feminism is still rooted in white, patriarchal structures. 

A must for any social justice reading/listening list, this will be a good companion to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists,  Carol Anderson’s One Person, No Vote: How Not All Voters Are Treated Equally, and Patrisse Khan-Cullors, asha bandele, and Benee Knauer’s When They Call You a Terrorist: A Story of Black Lives Matter and the Power to Change the World

–Danielle Jones

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My Eyes Are Up Here  by Laura Zimmermann; narrated by Kristen DiMercurio
Listening Library
Publication : June 23, 2020
ISBN: 978-0593209028

Greer Walsh worries about the same things most high school girls do: her grades, that cute new guy who just started at her school, her feisty best friend. But there are two really big things she worries about constantly. Front and center. Right on her chest. And is she the only girl in the history of Kennedy High to have boobs bigger than her head? If other people would stop staring at her chest maybe they would notice that she’s really great at math or may actually be a good volleyball player. And maybe that cute guy would like her for who she is instead of just her bra size. Laura Zimmermann creates a realistic and engaging portrait of a high school girl just trying to live her life- except that life is completely eclipsed by the size of her breasts. 

The author creates a fresh and realistic voice for Greer brought magnificently to life by Kristen DiMercurio. Teens will identify with Greer’s struggles to be seen for who she is as a person rather than her appearance and will be inspired by the emotional changes that drive her to start living her life for herself. 

Readers who enjoyed Dumplin’  by Julie Murphy, The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, or The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves will enjoy a new, sarcastic look at a different tale of life and body image. 

–Natalie LaRocque

We RIde Upon Sticks by Quan Barry; Narrated by Isabel Keating

Random House Audio 

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1524748098

In 1989, the Danvers Falcons, a high school girls’ field hockey team, after having been on a losing streak, were determined to make it to the state championship. From the town known for hosting the infamous 1692 witch trials, the team decides to try to use whatever powers they have to win, even if it means calling on their local history, turning to witchcraft, and pledging themselves to the devil by signing a pledge in a spiral notebook with a picture of Emilio Estevez on the cover. Whether the witchcraft is working, or they are beginning to think like a team, they start winning games and get closer to their goal.

Told in first-person as the collective voice of the team, Keating’s narration is spot on capturing Quan’s wry humor as she dissects 1980s’ pop culture. Each of the diverse set of teammates’ stories get full attention as Quan smartly moves the story forward, even “The Claw,” the large bangs of the team’s captain has a storyline. 

For teens that love a story rich with themes, explored through a community perspective, titles like Frederick Backman’s Bear Town and Us Against You and H.G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights will be great companions. The nostalgic trip through pop culture past will appeal to fans of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia.

–Danielle Jones