Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Summer

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2022 nominees cover art
Due to the large number of nominees, not all titles are shown here. See full list below.

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These are titles that have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.

*Prices shown are for Library Digital Download.

Between Perfect and Real. By Ray Stoeve. Read by MW Cartozian Wilson. Recorded Books, LLC/Recorded Books, Inc., $70 (9781705028339).

Dean is a trans guy struggling with coming out to his friends and family.  Exploring the internet and joining community groups allows him to more clearly define himself while acting as Romeo in a play helps his self discovery. Wilson’s voice is well matched and he skillfully narrates this emotional story. 

Black Girl, Call Home. By Jasmine Mans. Read by Jasmine Mans. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Penguin Audio, $22.80 (9780593346884).

Mans calls herself and other Black girls home in this love letter and essential companion to girls and women on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing. Mans narrates this powerful and painful collection with many poems read and produced in unique ways.

Cinderella Is Dead. By Kalynn Bayron. Read by Bahni Turpin. 2020. Bloomsbury USA/Bloomsbury YA, $76 (9781547605590).

In Marseilles, Cinderella is more than just a fairy tale: her story is a guide for how women should behave.  To avoid being forced to marry, Sophia flees and ends up in a movement to topple the monarchy.  Turpin breathes life into the characters but is especially perfect as Sophia.

City of the Plague God. By Sarwat Chadda. Read by Vikas Adam. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $63 (9780593291160).

Sik’s world is turned upside down when demons break into his family’s deli. Suddenly, he finds himself surrounded by ancient Mesopotamian gods, goddesses, and heroes. Plus, he has to save New York City from a deadly disease. Narrator Vikas Adams perfectly captures the humor and adventure of this quick-paced epic. 

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space. By Shaun David Hutchinson. Read by Gibson Frazier, Candace Thaxton, and Kevin R. Free. Simon & Schuster/Simon & Schuster Audio, $79.99 (9781797118222).

There’s nothing normal about waking up in a spacesuit floating in space, but that’s exactly what happens to Noa. How did he get here? Trapped on board the spaceship Qriosity with strangers, they must navigate space, incredible danger, and mysteries of the heart. The cast of voices brings each character to life.

The Cost of Knowing. By Brittney Morris. Read by Kevin R. Free. Simon & Schuster Audiobooks/Simon & Schuster Audio, $59.99 (9781797117898).

Since his parents’ death, Alex has been able to touch objects and see the future.  When he sees the death of his younger brother, he ends up in a race against time to figure out what happened.  Free’s narration effortlessly grounds the fantasy elements in reality and fully embodies Alex’s emotions.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow. By Laura Taylor Namey. Read by Frankie Corzo. 2020. Simon & Schuster Audiobooks/Simon & Schuster Audio, $59.99 (9781797123912).

Lila’s emotional meltdown triggers a change of plans and locations. Instead of staying and taking over her Abuela’s panaderia, she must process her grief at her Tia’s inn in Winchester England. Frankie Corzo charmingly brings Lila and quirky secondary characters to life.

Dawn Raid. By Pauline Vaeluaga Smith. Read by Tameka Sowman Vahatau. Dreamscape Media, LLC, $64.99 (9781662083228).

In 1970’s New Zealand, Sofia wants to just be a regular kid while living in a time where “overstayers” are being targeted, resulting in racist attacks. Experiencing a Dawn Raid where her own family is attacked brings reality into stark relief.  Vahatau’s narration is perfect for Sofia’s accent and youthful voice.

The Electric Kingdom. By David Arnold. Read by Thérèse Plummer. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $75 (9780593342572).

In this mind-bending post-apocalyptic story, a deadly Fly Flu has laid waste to Earth. A few teen survivors must find their way to a life worth living. Stories intertwine and time bends to intrigue the reader.  Plummer’s narration is fantastic, her voice well-suited with attention to sounds and inflection.

The Everything I Have Lost. By Sylvia Zeleny. Read by Lori Felipe-Barkin. OrangeSky Audio, $59.99 (9781667003146).

Through journal entries, Julia tells her life growing up in Juarez, Mexico. People disappear, and drug cartels rule the streets. When her father becomes a casualty of this war, will they escape to the US? Narration by Felipe-Barkin’s voice is perfect for the character and the intensity of the story.

Firekeeper’s Daughter. By Angeline Boulley. Read by Isabella Star LeBlanc. Macmillan Audio/Macmillan Young Listeners, $49.99 (9781250779519).

Daunis Fontain’s world has been turned upside down. Shortly after a family tragedy, her best friend was murdered, revealing secrets eating away at her community. Narrator Isabella Star LeBlanc perfectly captures the strong lead character’s voice, bringing Daunis, and her community, to life for the listener.

The Gilded Ones: Deathless, Book 1. By Namina Forna. Read by Shayna Small. Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library, $75 (9780593207833).

Deka’s only wish is to be declared pure during the blood ceremony, but her village is attacked and Deka discovers she is an impure one, an alaki.  Suffering untold horror, Deka believes this is her fate until she is given an opportunity to fight for the emperor.

Good Girl, Bad Blood: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Book 2. By Holly Jackson. Read by MacLeod Andrews, Donte Bonner, James Fouhey, Neil Hellegers, Cary Hite, Amy Landon, Raymond J. Lee, Keylor Leigh, Maggi-Meg Reed, Shezi Sardar, and Bailey Carr. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $69 (9780593342398).

After the events of the previous year, Pippa Fitz-Amobi swears she’s done investigating. At least until the brother of a good friend goes missing and Pip is the only one willing to help. A full cast of narrators creates a podcast feel and makes the story compulsively listenable.

The Hill We Climb. By Amanda Gorman. Read by Amanda Gorman and Oprah Winfrey. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Books on Tape, $22 (9780593460900).

National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, recites once more the poem she performed at President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January 2021. Oprah Winfrey reads a thoughtful foreward and Gorman’s melodious recitation is a deliberate and powerful call to action for teen readers across the nation.

Hold Back the Tide. By Melinda Salisbury. Read by Elle Newlands. Scholastic Inc./Scholastic Audio, $74.99 (9781338751086).

Everyone in her small town knows Alva’s father murdered her mother, but no one can prove it.  With no other options, Alva spends her days planning her escape from him until monsters begin escaping from the loch her family guards.  Newlands’ Scottish brogue grounds the listener and communicates the suspense.

Home is Not a Country. By Safia Elhillo. Read by Safia Elhillo, intro by Christopher Myers. Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library, $38 (9780593343715).

Nima feels like an outsider trying to be part of her mother’s culture while missing the father she never knew. When tragedy strikes, she learns something about her father that changes her entire life. This lyrically beautiful novel in verse is full of precise subtext with high teen appeal, skillfully narrated by the author.

In the Shadow of the Moon: America, Russia, and the Hidden History of the Space Race. By Amy Cherrix. Read by Josh Horowitz. HarperCollins Publishers Inc./Balzer+Bray, $52.48 (9780063058224).

Cherrix gives readers a fascinating exploration of the space race focusing on Nazi officer turned American hero Wernher von Braun, and his lesser known Russian counterpart Sergei Korolev. Josh Horowitz’s narration helps keep this work engaging and interesting and readers will especially take to his dynamic accent work.

The Ivies. By Alexa Donne. Read by Phoebe Strole. Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library, $63 (9780593399347).

Five girls at Claflin Academy want to get into an Ivy League school so desperately they will stop at nothing, even murder, to fight their way to the top.  Strole’s professional narration brings this thriller to life. 

Lost in the Never Woods. By Aiden Thomas. Read by Avi Roque. Macmillan Audio/Macmillan Young Listeners, $59.99 (9781250779557).

Wendy’s two brothers have been missing for a long time, and now more kids are disappearing.  An intriguing young man named Peter arrives and is aging rapidly. Are the stories true in this imaginative retelling of Peter Pan? Roque’s narration brings a moving excitement to this audiobook.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. By Lev Grossman. Read by Michael Crouch. Hachette Audio/Little, Brown Young Readers, $15 (9781549109133).

Mark is caught in a time loop and it doesn’t really bother him until he meets Margaret and the two of them make it their mission to find every perfect thing that happened in that one day.  Crouch’s captivating narration will draw listeners into this short and sweet romance.

Muted. By Tami Charles. Read by Tami Charles. Scholastic Inc./Scholastic Audio, $83.99 (9781338739190).

Almost eighteen, Denver is the creative genius behind the group Angelic Voices. In a bold move, the three friends ambush popular R&B artist, Sean “Mercury” Ellis with a performance that captures his attention. Unfortunately, his mentoring comes with a dark exploitation.

Off The Record. By Camryn Garrett. Read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt. Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library, $63 (9780593399460).

When Josie wins a writing contest she’s tasked with writing a celebrity profile on a young actor. During her interviews, Josie is told a dark secret and must decide whether to expose the man responsible. Abbott-Pratt gives various voices to each female character creating a powerful, personal story.

Once Upon a Quinceañera. By Monica Gomez-Hira. Read by Frankie Corzo. HarperCollins Publishers Inc./HarperTeen, $67.48 (9780063061415).

Stuck playing Belle as part of her internship for Dreams Come True, Carmen Aguilar finds herself thrown back into the arms of a cheating ex-boyfriend. Making matters worse, she must now perform with him at her cousin’s quinceañera–the same cousin whose tattling ended Carmen’s own chance at a quince.

One Last Stop. By Casey McQuiston. Read by Natalie Naudus. Macmillan Audio/Macmillan Audio, $59.99 (9781250803184).

August isn’t looking for love, just a place in the world, when she meets Jane who seems to impossibly always be on her train. Jane has been stuck in limbo since 1973. Only August can help her get free.  Naudus’s narration gives life to the fabulous characters in this lesbian love story.

One Two Three. By Laurie Frankel. Read by Emma Galvin, Jesse Vilinsky, and Rebecca Soler. Macmillan Audio Production from St. Martin’s Press, $69.99 (9781250790958).

Sixteen year old triplets Mab, Monday and Mirabelle are in a race against the clock to find the evidence their town needs to shut down the chemical company responsible for killing and maiming generations of town residents.

Our Last Echoes. By Kate Alice Marshall Read by Kathleen McInerney, Robbie Daymond, and Rob Shapiro.  Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library, $69 (9780593340813).

All her life Sophia believed her mother died in a car accident. But when she learns about a remote island called Bitter Rock and her mother’s possible connection to it’s odd occurrences, Sophia decides to investigate. The multiple narrators help differentiate between the various timelines of this creepy story.

The Project. By Courtney Summers. Read by Emily Shaffer and Thérèse Plummer. Macmillan Audio | Macmillan Young Listeners, $44.99 (9781250760630).

Lo’s sister joined the secretive Unity Project years ago and Lo hasn’t seen her since. Convinced it’s a cult, Lo begins investigating the Project and it’s charismatic leader Lev. The narrators help differentiate between the two sister’s perspectives and timelines adding depth to this suspenseful story about sisterhood and identity.

Rent a Boyfriend. By Gloria Chao. Read by Feodor Chin and Emily Woo Zeller. 2020. Simon & Schuster/Simon & Schuster Audio, $59.99 (9781797113210).

Chloe Wang has the perfect plan to stop her parents from forcing her to accept an unwanted proposal: hire Drew as a fake boyfriend.  Zeller and Chin voice their respective characters with compassion and understanding with Zeller balancing Chloe’s desire to be herself and her wish to respect her family.

Sasha Masha. By Agnes Borinsky. Read by Agnes Borinsky. 2020. Tantor Media, Inc./Tantor Audio, $47.95 (9781705234839).

Transgender author and narrator Agnes Borinsky explores gender identity and sexuality this story. Alex misses his best friend who moved to a different school, but meets a new friend who helps him understand that Alex might be happiest living his life as not he, but she. She is Sasha Masha.  

She’s Too Pretty to Burn. By Wendy Heard. Read by Frankie Corzo, Bailey Carr, and Stephen Dexter.Dreamscape Media, LLC, $64.99 (9781662051333).

Mick and Veronica come together at a pivotal point for them both. Mick is reeling from her relationship with her mother and Veronica needs inspiration for her photography. Can their love overcome the darker and darker events revolving around Veronica’s friend Nico’s art? Three narrators give this psychological thriller vibrant life.

Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke. By Andrew Maraniss. Read by Kevin R. Free. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $50 (9780593346211).

Maraniss tells Burke’s story from his childhood to his days as the MLB’s first openly gay player and the inventor of the high five while simultaneously placing his life in the broader historical context.  Read with an excellent flow while making clear to listeners where footnotes and asides are.

Speaker. By Peter Wallace. Read by Peter Wallace. 2020. Findaway/Particle + Wave Publishing, $29 (9781735155210).

At 14, Hamish moves to Brooklyn and uncovers a newfound ability to speak with animals. With his power and their help, he works to bring down a human trafficking ring in this heartfelt and intense fantasy.  Wallace’s narration brings the story to life with his human voices, and animal voices as well.

Tales From the Hinterland. By Melissa Albert. Read by Rebecca Soler. Macmillan Audio/Macmillan Young Listeners, $49.99 (9781250791023).

A collection of short, creepy fairy tales set in the horror filled world of the Hinterland. The stories involve revengeful daughters, women coveting death and deadly magical toys. All the stories blur the line between good and evil. These gruesome tales become even more sinister through the dramatic narration.

Tell Me My Name. By Amy Reed. Read by Jorjeana Marie. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $56 (9780593346259).

Fern lives on a remote island when her idyllic life is turned upside down when a famous, charismatic actress moves in down the street. This modern, twisty retelling of The Great Gatsby is narrated with perfect tone and pacing depicting a young girl trying to fit in.

These Violent Delights. By Chloe Gong. Read by Cindy Kay. Tantor Media, Inc./Tantor Audio, $54.95 (9781705283837).

In this retelling of Romeo & Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai, Juliette Kai and Roma Montagov, heirs to rival gangs, must put aside their differences and work together to stop the contagion that’s threatening to destroy their city.  Kay voices Juliette and Roma well, fully embodying their emotions.

Tokyo Ever After. By Emiko Jean. Read by Ali Ahn. Macmillan Audio/Macmillan Young Listeners, $49.99 (9781250804167).

While the text has the nostalgic rags-to-riches trope, it also recognizes and provides a glimpse into the struggle that people with multicultural backgrounds can experience throughout their lives. Ali Ahn does a great job of narrating and differentiating the female characters and emphasizing the seriousness in the male characters.

What Beauty There Is. By Cory Anderson. Read by Dan Bittner and Emma Galvin. Macmillan Audio/Macmillan Young Listeners 49.99 (9781250780447).

Jack Dahl is living in poverty, caring for his brother.  Desperate, he connects with his incarcerated father, but now there are several factions hunting them down.  With no one to trust he finds an unlikely ally with Ava Bardem. This thriller is masterfully voiced by Bitner and Galvin.

What I Like About Me. By Jenna Guillaume. Read by Candice Moll. Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library, $56 (9780593400296).

Over the course of one summer vacation in Australia, Masie learns to love her body, juggle new and old friendships, force out family secrets and compete in a beauty pageant. Narrator Moll brings the spunk and humor of Masie to life with her charismatic narration.

Who I Was with Her. By Nita Tyndall. Read by Jesse Vilinsky. 2020. HarperCollins Publishers Inc./HarperTeen, $59.98 (9780063033108).

Corrine’s secret love affair with Maggie has lasted a year but she is unwilling to come out as bisexual. But Maggie’s abrupt death leaves her with no way to grieve the girl no one knew she loved. Villinsky conveys the intense emotion and is a great match to Corrine’s voice.

Your Corner Dark. By Desmond Hall. Read by Karl O’Brian Williams. Simon and Schuster Audio, $59.99 (9781797116129).

Jamaican teen Frankie is excited about a new beginning in the States after receiving a scholarship for engineering. When his dad is shot, Frankie is forced to join his uncles’ gang in exchange for help with medical bills. The powerful narration provides atmosphere and tactile layers to this heartbreaking story.

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Want a printable version of this round-up? Download the Summer nominations round-up.