2024 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

Each year, YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks Blogging Team selects and annotates an annual list of notable audio recordings significant to young adults from those released in the past two years. Click on the title of each book to be taken to the blog post featuring a review, or browse all blog posts here. You can see previous lists on the YALSA website and on the Teen Book Finder app.

Blogging Team

Coordinator Jennifer Sutton, Catherine M. Andronik, Rebecca Baldwin, Jennifer Balke, Sarah Carpenter, Jen Haas, Amy Hailey, Alyssa Johnson, Natalie LaRocque, Ileana Pulu, Haley Shaw, Lysha Thompson

Top Ten

  • Check and Mate
  • By Ali Hazelwood
  • Read by Karissa Vacker
  • November 7, 2023.
  • Length: 9.5 hr.
  • Listening Library, DD
  • 9780593744543
  • Grades: 8-12.
  • This enemies to lovers, character-driven romance, is set in the world of competitive chess. Mallory swore off chess but when she accepts a chess fellowship she finds herself falling back in love with the game and in love with the world’s number 1 chess player. Karissa Vacker’s narration is engaging and brings the characters to life with multiple voices.
  • Imogen, Obviously
  • By Becky Albertalli
  • Read by Caitlin Kinnunen
  • May 2, 2023
  • Length: 9.5 hr.
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc. | Balzer + Bray, DD
  • 9780063045903
  • Grades: 9-12.
  • Imogen is the world’s best queer ally, so it is no big deal to pretend to be her best friend’s ex when she visits her at college. Imogen finds herself falling in love with the college and someone unexpected. This lighthearted audio eases listeners into exploring deeper and more complex issues.
  • Lei and the Fire Goddess
  • By Malia Maunakea
  • Read by Jennifer Robideau
  • June 6, 2023
  • Length: 8 hr.
  • Listening Library, DD
  • 9780593681244
  • Grades: 4-6.
  • Lei begs her Tūtū / grandma to do touristy things during a visit to Hawai’i, but tūtū prioritizes family traditions and folklore. Then Lei picks a sacred flower and insults Pele, fire goddess, whose wrath sends her on an impossible adventure. A fast-paced action story with expert pronunciation of ʻŌlelo Hawai’i / Native Hawaiian.
  • The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
  • By Isaac Blum
  • Read by Josh Bloomberg
  • September 13, 2022
  • Length: 6 hr.
  • Listening Library, DD
  • 9780593630037
  • Grades: 7-10. 
  • Hoodie Rosen’s life is turned upside down when his Orthodox Jewish community relocates to an unwelcoming town. Hoodie’s only solace is Anna-Marie, whose mother, the mayor, opposes Hoodie’s community. Bloomberg expresses humor while exploring the painful topic of religious prejudice.   
  • Promise Boys
  • By Nick Brooks
  • Read by a full cast
  • January 31, 2023
  • Length: 6.5 hr.
  • Macmillan Audio, DD
  • 9781250877253
  • Grades: 9-12.
  • When the principal of The Urban Promise Prep School is found dead several students find themselves suspects, as the students begin their own investigation, they find a dark side to the prestigious school. A suspenseful reading by a full cast pulls the listener into the twists and turns of this whodunit. 
  • The Queens of New York
  • By E.L. Shen
  • Read by a full cast
  • June 6, 2023
  • Length: 8 hr.
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc. | Quill Tree Books, DD
  • 9780063237988
  • Grades: 8-11.
  • Best friends and New York natives Jia, Ariel and Everett are inseparable until this summer. Each friend goes on their own summer adventure and readers get to see them become more comfortable with themselves and the world they want to live in. The three narrators each have a unique delivery perfectly reflecting the teen characters.
  • Warrior Girl Unearthed
  • By Angeline Boulley
  • Read by Isabella Star LaBlanc
  • May 2, 2023
  • Length: 11.5 hr
  • Macmillan Audio, DD
  • 9781250877277
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Perry Firekeeper-Birch just wanted to enjoy her summer. Instead she is forced to complete an internship at her tribe’s museum. There she learns about NAGPRA and repatriation. She and her friends embark on a journey to bring their ancestors home. The narrator brings the story to life with her pronunciation of Ojibwa language and her captivating tone.
  • We Deserve Monuments
  • By Jas Hammonds
  • Read by Tamika Katon-Donegal
  • November 29, 2022
  • Length: 10.5 hr.
  • Recorded Books, Inc., DD
  • 9781705069530
  • Grades: 9-12.
  • Avery’s life changes when she leaves her home in DC to live in a small southern town where she encounters a hostile grandmother, a racist community, and the mystery of her grandfather’s disappearance decades ago. Tamika Katon-Donegal emotionally portrays Avery’s journey in this LGBTQ+ slow-burn mystery.
  • What Happened to Rachel Riley?
  • By Claire Swinarski
  • Read by a full cast
  • January 10, 2023
  • Length: 6 hr.
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc. | Quill Tree Books, DD
  • 9780063213128
  • Grades: 5-8.
  • Anna Hunt just moved to East Middle, where she discovers that former popular girl, Rachel Riley, is now enemy number one. Using a full cast of readers to present a variety of clues in the form of notes, emails, and text messages, Anna digs into the mystery.
  • Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor
  • By Xiran Jay Zhao
  • Read by Eric Yang.
  • November 11, 2022
  • Length: 9 hr.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio, DD
  • 9781797158914
  • Grades: 6-8.
  • Zachary Ying is just trying to survive school and play his favorite AR video game. Suddenly, his game becomes more reality than augmented reality. He embarks on a journey across China to save his mom and save the world. The narrator expertly brings each character to life with unique voices. 

Nominees

  • Afterglow. By Phil Stamper. Read by a full cast. 2023. 9 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593347720). Gr.  9-12. In the sequel to Golden Boys, Gabe, Reese, Sal, and Heath navigate senior year as they encounter life changes, discrimination, and love. Can they accomplish their dreams and keep their friendships alive? A heartfelt story about growing up performed earnestly by an ensemble cast.
  • Beyond the Wand. By Tom Felton. Read by the author. 2022. 7 hr. Hachette Audio, DD (9781668619483). Adult. Tom Felton rose to fame as the villainous Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movie series. In his memoir, he details his experience as a boy wizard and struggles with addiction and mental illness in adulthood. Felton’s story comes to life with his masterfully humorous and honest narration. 
  • The Black Queen. By Jumata Emill. Read by Angela Pean and Erin Spencer. 2023. 11 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593667699). Gr. 9-12. Nova is the first Black homecoming queen of Lovett High, but she is murdered shortly after being elected. Her best friend, Duchess, and main suspect, Tinsley, are determined to solve the crime. The alternating voices add a depth to the story and keep listeners in suspense. 
  • Blood Debts. By Terry J. Benton-Walker. Read by a full cast. 2023. 14.5 hr. Macmillan Audio, DD (9781250883186). Gr. 9-12. In magical New Orleans, twins Clement and Cristina are the descendants of the dethroned Generational magic queen. When their family is attacked by unknown assailants, they must uncover secrets of the past, to save their futures. The full cast of narrators brings listeners into the intrigue and plays out the expansive plot. 
  • Borrow My Heart. By Kasie West. Read by Caitlin Kinnunen. 2023. 7.5hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593680162). Gr. 8-12. To save Asher from the embarrassment of being catfished, Wren secretly pretends to be his online girlfriend. Wren knows that she needs to come clean, as her feelings for Asher grow. Told with typical Kasie West panache, Caitlin Kinnunen’s narration keeps the fun going.
  • The Brothers Hawthorne. By Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Read by Jay Ben Markson. 2023. 13 hr. Hachette Audio, DD (9781668623817). Grayson and Jameson Hawthorne each face a challenge of their own, half a world apart. Both rely on everything their grandfather taught them. Nash and Xander offer their support as does Avery Grahams, the newly named Hawthorne heiress. The narrator’s smooth, mellow voice is perfect for multiple characters. Gr. 9-12.
  • *Check and Mate. By Ali Hazelwood. Read by Karissa Vacker. 2023. 9.5 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593744543). Gr. 8-12. This enemies to lovers, character-driven romance, is set in the world of competitive chess. Mallory swore off chess but when she accepts a chess fellowship she finds herself falling back in love with the game and in love with the world’s number 1 chess player. Karissa Vacker’s narration is engaging and brings the characters to life with multiple voices. 
  • Chloe and the Kaishao Boys. By Mae Coyiuto. Read by Becca Q. Co. 2023. 8.5 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593663806). Gr. 9-12. Chloe plans to leave Manila behind next year when she travels to the United States for college to learn animation. Before she leaves, her family insists on throwing an epic traditional debut and her dad is working on finding the perfect escort for her. This rom com is taken to new heights with the fun audio narration. 
  • The Davenports. By Krystal Marquis. Read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt. 2023. 12 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593634783). Gr. 7-10. Olivia, Helen, Amy-Rose and Ruby navigate a world of privilege and passion in 1910 Chicago. The Davenports are one of Chicago’s most highly respected families and are expected to uphold the family legacy while looking towards the future. The narrarator conveys the romance, heartbreak, courage and drama through expertly executed voice variation and tone changes. 
  • The Depths. By Nicole Lesperance. Read by Phoebe Strole. 2022. 9hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593630631). Gr. 9-12. When Addie is dragged along on her mother’s honeymoon, she quickly learns that their island destination isn’t a slice of paradise. Addie needs to discover the island’s secrets before she becomes its next victim. This haunting audio gives a sinister voice to the island and enhances the creep factor.
  • Dinged. By Tommy Greenwald. Read by Ramon De Ocampo and Carly Robins. 2022. 5 hr. Tantor Audio, DD (9798765054598). Gr. 5-8. Caleb follows his NFL superstar father’s path by playing on his high school’s varsity team. Once there, Caleb is forced to witness the risks of repeated concussions. Ramon de Ocampo conveys the emotional journey Caleb struggles with as he decides what place football will have in his future.
  • Fake Dates and Mooncakes. By Sher Lee. Read by Joshua Chang. 2023. 8 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593680209). Gr. 9-12. Follow a heartwarming story about Dylan Tang, who wants to enter a mooncake-making contest to honor his mother’s memory and save his family’s restaurant. When he starts fake dating the wealthy and handsome Theo Somers things become a bit more complicated. Joshua Chang expertly brings this emotional story to life with his narration.
  • Flowerheart. By Catherine Bakewell. Ready by Morag Sims. 2023. 9.5 hr. HarperTeen, DD (9780063214651). Gr. 10-12. Clara’s magic has always defied her control, but it has never hurt anyone until now. It is only with the help of her former best friend, Xavier, that she may have a chance to stop the damage. Morag Sims gives voice to sweet Clara, and makes it easy to root for Clara while facing the hurtful internal voice of her magic.
  • For Lamb. By Lesa Cline-Ransome. Read by a full cast. 2023. 8 hr. Dreamscape Media, DD (9781666631708). Gr. 8-12. Lamb, an African American teen growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1930s, agrees to befriend a white girl, never realizing that her actions will make her family a target for lynching.
  • If You Could See the Sun. By Ann Liang. Read by Natalie Naudus. 2022. 9 hr. Harlequin Audio, DD (9781488217968). Gr. 9-12. As a scholarship student at an elite Beijing bording school Alice Sun feels unseen. Alice develops an uncontrollable power of invisibility that turns into a buisness endeavor to raise money for her tuition. Natalie Naudus does a stellar job crafting characters in Liang’s exploration of class differences. 
  • Imogen, Obviously. By Becky Albertalli. Read by Caitlin Kinnunen. 2023. 9.5 hr. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. | Balzer + Bray, DD (9780063045903). Gr. 9-12. Imogen is the world’s best queer ally, so it is no big deal to pretend to be her best friend’s ex when she visits her at college. Imogen finds herself falling in love with the college and someone unexpected. This lighthearted audio eases listeners into exploring deeper and more complex issues. 
  • In Nightfall. By Suzanne Young. Read by Elena Rey. 2023. 11.5 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593667934). Gr. 9-12. Theo and her brother discover a dark presence that hunts at night when they spend the summer in their father’s hometown of Nightfall. Can Theo and her family survive the town’s murderous curse? Elena Rey’s atomospheric reading highlights the spookiness of Young’s vampire tale. 
  • Kismat Connection. By Ananya Devarajan. Read by Reena Dutt and Vikas Adam. 2023. 8.5 hr.  Harlequin Audio, DD (9781488227509). Gr. 9-12. Madhuri wants to avoid her family’s “curse” of every family member marrying their first love. Madhuri enters into an agreement with her best friend, Arjun, to pretend to date, but their fake relationship leads to real feelings. Dual narrations illustrate the struggles and joy of first love. 
  • *Lei and the Fire Goddess. By Malia Maunakea. Read by Jennifer Robideau. 2023. 8 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593681244). Gr. 4-6. Lei begs her Tūtū / grandma to do touristy things during a visit to Hawai’i, but tūtū prioritizes family traditions and folklore. Then Lei picks a sacred flower and insults Pele, fire goddess, whose wrath sends her on an impossible adventure. A fast-paced action story with expert pronunciation of ʻŌlelo Hawai’i / Native Hawaiian. 
  • *The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen. By Isaac Blum. Read by Josh Bloomberg. 2022. 6 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593630037). Gr. 7-10.  Hoodie Rosen’s life is turned upside down when his Orthodox Jewish community relocates to an unwelcoming town. Hoodie’s only solace is Anna-Marie, whose mother, the mayor, opposes Hoodie’s community. Bloomberg expresses humor while exploring the painful topic of religious prejudice.    
  • Lucha of the Night Forest. By Tehlor Kay Mejia. Read by Elena Rey. 2023. 11 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593613962). Gr. 8-12. Lucha has never understood her ability to evade the deadly monsters in the forest, but people in high places will do anything to control that power. When her sister is caught in the crossfire, Lucha journeys to save her. This tenacious main character is successfully brought to life in the audio by Elena Rey.
  • Miles Morales Suspended. By Jason Reynolds. Read by Guy Lockard and Nile Bullock. 2023. 4 hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD (9781797145600). Gr. 7-12. After the previous novel’s events, Miles is serving a day of in-school detention. Even though he just saved the world from the evil wardens, his spidey sense alerts him to a new threat, termites! This lively audio recording follows Miles as he fights to save the world.
  • The Night in Question. By Kathleen Glasgow and liz Lawson. Read by a full cast. 2023. 11 hr. Listening Library, DD (978059368026). Gr. 9-12. Glasgow and Lawson are back with Alice and Iris months after Alice’s best friend Brooke was killed. Can the two figure out who attacked a student at a dance and solve a decades old case at the same time? Narrators Amoss and Linneman drive the mystery at an exciting pace. 
  • Nightbirds. By Kate J. Armstrong. Read by Saskia Maarleveld. 2023. 12.5 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593664292). Gr, 9-12. There is a prohibition on magic, but the Nightbirds are young women, who still help the rich and desperate access the spells they most desire. The audiobook solidifies the voices of the three Nightbirds, Matilde, Æsa, and Sayer, and their path to uncovering the treachery surrounding them.  
  • Other Side of the Tracks. By Charity Alyse. Read by a full cast. 2022. 12.5 hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD (9781797152769). Gr. 7-12. Everyone knows not to cross the tracks between Bayside and Hamilton, but newcomer Zach ignores that. Capri and Justin crossed from Hamilton once, to see their mama perform on Broadway. The long-running feud between the racially divided towns has the teens caught in the middle. Expertly narrated in alternating voices. 
  • Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh. By Rachel Lippincott. Read by Natalie Naudus and Shakira Shute. 2023. 8 hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD (9781797161617). Gr. 9-12. A spin on a regency romance, Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh is a Sapphic time travel story about finding yourself. The main characters, Audrey and Lucy, are brought together when a toss of a coin transports Audrey from 2023 to 1812. The narrators do an excellent job bringing these characters and their emotional journey to life.
  • *Promise Boys. By Nick Brooks. Read by a full cast. 2023. 6.5 hr. Macmillan Audio, DD (9781250877253). Gr. 9-12. When the principal of The Urban Promise Prep School is found dead several students find themselves suspects, as the students begin their own investigation, they find a dark side to the prestigious school. A suspenseful reading by a full cast pulls the listener into the twists and turns of this whodunit. 
  • *The Queens of New York. By E.L. Shen. Read by a full cast. 2023. 8 hr. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. | Quill Tree Books, DD (9780063237988). Gr. 8-11. Best friends and New York natives Jia, Ariel and Everett are inseparable until this summer. Each friend goes on their own summer adventure and readers get to see them become more comfortable with themselves and the world they want to live in. The three narrators each have a unique delivery perfectly reflecting the teen characters. 
  • The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway. By Ashley Schumacher. Read by Ellie Gossage. 2023. 8 hr. Tantor Audio, DD (9798765070079). Gr. 7-10. Madeline “Gwen” Hathaway’s life on the Renaissance faire circut changes when she meets Arthur who makes her question her life’s rules. Madeline must find the courage to take on a new role at Faire and possibly a new relationship in this audiobook with an heartwarming and sincere narration.
  • Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success. By Jessica Parra. Read by Karla Serrato. 2023. 8.5 hr. Dreamscape Media, DD (9781666633634). Gr. 9-12. Rubi Ramos has a recipe for success to make her immigrant parents proud, but when Rubi gets waitlisted for her dream college, she has to change her plans to make herself happy. Karla Serrato’s narration of Parra’s debut novel is hilarious while relatable.   
  • Some Kind of Hate. By Sarah Darer Littman. Read by Michael Crouch and Andrew Eiden. 2023. 9 hr. Blackstone Audio, Inc., DD (9798212170697). Gr. 7-10. Declan had plans of rising to baseball stardom but it is all taken away when he irreparably injures his arm. Declan trades his best friend and practicing Jew, Jake, in for new antisemitic gamer friends.  The audio uses alternating narrators to give voice to both Declan and Jake, truly highlighting how easily hate can warp a life.  
  • Spice Road. By Maiya Ibrahim. Read by Krupa Pattani. 2023. 14 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593667859). Gr. 9-12. Determined to restore her brother’s tarnished reputation, Imani uses her spice-infused magical abilities to find her presumed dead brother. Imani’s epic journey through the Qalian landscape is easily matched by Krupa Pattani’s stellar narration, which sticks with readers as they deal with frustratingly hot warriors and snarky djinns.
  • Then Everything Happens at Once. By M-E Girard. Read by Aida Reluzco. 2023. 9.5 hr. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. | HarperTeen, DD (9780063206717). Gr. 9-12. Baylee has had a long-time crush on her friend, Freddie, but she has recently started dming Alex. As things heat up with each love interest, COVID sweeps the nation and everything in Baylee’s life is going to change completely. Aida Reluzco crystalizes Baylee’s self-deprecating quirkiness with her narration of this story. 
  • Thieves’ Gambit. By Kayvion Lewis. Read by Jade Wheeler. 2023. 10.5 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593744796). Gr. 9-12. Ross Quest is the youngest member in a family of master thieves. When her mother is kidnapped during a heist, Ross must join the Thieves’ Gambit, a competition for teenaged thieves, to win and get her mother home. Wheeler’s narration harnesses the action as Ross problem solves challenges and worries about her mother.
  • This Is Not a Personal Statement. By Tracy Badua. Read by Ferdelle Capistrano. 2023. 8.5 hr. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. | Quill Tree Books, DD (9780063217782). Gr. 10-12.  Perla, a sixteen-year-old high school senior, worked her whole life to get into her dream university. When she isn’t accepted, or even waitlisted, she concocts a plan to fake her acceptance and heads off to school. Armed with meticulous spreadsheets Perla tries to cover up her lies in an anxiety-ridden romp. The narrarator brings Perla’s naive and stressful story to life wth good pacing and inflections.
  • Turtles of the Midnight Moon. By María José Fitzgerald. Read by Elena Rey and Frankie Corzio. 2023. 7.5 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593666777). Gr. 3-6.  An eco-mystery set in a coastal village in Honduras, brings two girls with different lives and languages together to stop sea turtle poachers. Abby and Barana deal with twists, turns and cultural barriers while learning about each other. Read by a trio of narrators, the vivid setting and intense characters combine well with the quick story pace and clear pronunciation.
  • *Warrior Girl Unearthed. By Angeline Boulley. Read by Isabella Star LaBlanc. 2023. 11.5 hr. Macmillan Audio, DD (9781250877277). Gr. 9-12. Perry Firekeeper-Birch just wanted to enjoy her summer. Instead she is forced to complete an internship at her tribe’s museum. There she learns about NAGPRA and repatriation. She and her friends embark on a journey to bring their ancestors home. The narrator brings the story to life with her pronunciation of Ojibwa language and her captivating tone. 
  • *We Deserve Monuments. By Jas Hammonds. Read by Tamika Katon-Donegal. 2022. 10.5 hr. Recorded Books, Inc., DD (9781705069530). Gr. 9-12. Avery’s life changes when she leaves her home in DC to live in a small southern town where she encounters a hostile grandmother, a racist community, and the mystery of her grandfather’s disappearance decades ago. Tamika Katon-Donegal emotionally portrays Avery’s journey in this LGBTQ+ slow-burn mystery. 
  • *What Happened to Rachel Riley? By Claire Swinarski. Read by a full cast. 2023. 6 hr. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. | Quill Tree Books, DD (9780063213128). Gr. 5-8. Anna Hunt just moved to East Middle, where she discovers that former popular girl, Rachel Riley, is now enemy number one. Using a full cast of readers to present a variety of clues in the form of notes, emails, and text messages, Anna digs into the mystery.
  • What Happens After Midnight. By K.L. Walther. Read by Tina Wolstencroft. 2023. 9.5 hr. Tantor Audio, DD (9798350836394). Gr. 9-12. Lily’s senior year is uneventful until a mysterious note invites her to help plan the senior prank. Lily is excited until she learns the prank’s mastermind is her ex-boyfriend; as the two work together, secrets, old hurts, and romantic feelings resurface. Wolstencraft’s fun and playful narration is perfect for romance fans. 
  • Where You See Yourself. By Claire Forrest. Read by Ali Stroker. 2023. 8 hr. Scholastic Audiobooks, DD (9781339004815). Gr. 10-12. Effie Galanos is a senior with a lot on her plate: friendships, school, romance and the dreaded college search. Finding a college is more challenging than usual when Effie focuses on accessibility as she is a wheelchair user. Stoker’s singular narration brings listeners into Effie’s head as she advocates for herself and the future.
  • Whiteout. By Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, et. al. Read by a full cast. 2022. 7.5 hr. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. | Quill Tree Books, DD (9780063088177). Gr. 9-12. Romance finds a way when a snowstorm shuts down Atlanta, and twelve teens band together to pull off an apology to help their friend reconcile with their girlfriend. Multiple narrators weave together artful narrations; in this novel about the holidays, love, and Black Joy. 
  • *Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor. By Xiran Jay Zhao. Read by Eric Yang. 2022. 9 hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD (9781797158914).Gr. 6-8.  Zachary Ying is just trying to survive school and play his favorite AR video game. Suddenly, his game becomes more reality than augmented reality. He embarks on a journey across China to save his mom and save the world. The narrator expertly brings each character to life with unique voices.