Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of When We Make It by Elisabet VelasquezAmazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of

When We Make It

When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez

Narrated by Elisabet Velasquez

Books on Tape | Listening Library

Publication Date: September 21, 2021

ISBN: 9780593455937

This novel in verse follows Sarai, a first generation Puerto Rican growing up in Bushwick with her mother and her sister during the 1990s. Sarai and her family navigate the welfare system, as well as finding housing in a neighborhood with increasing gentrification. Along the way, Sarai asks questions that bring her closer to herself and her own definition of what it means to make it, as she fights all the narratives and opinions that are forced upon her by a society that actively works against her intersectional identities. 

Based on the author’s life of growing up in Bushwick, Velasquez voices Sarai’s emotions in a beautifully honest and powerful way. Covering colorism, housing instability, food insecurity, generational trauma, identity and more; the author makes Sarai’s strength, hope and resilience an active force. The love and pride Sarai shows herself, her family and her Puerto Rican identity is keenly felt. 

Hand over to fans of Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X or Clap When You Land, and Jacqueline Woodson’s coming of age tales in verse.

–Shelley Mastalerz 

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

Narrated by Pete Cross

Scholastic Audio Books

Publication Date: August 16, 2022ISBN: 9781338853186

After the sudden, violent death of their twin sister, Caroline, gender-fluid Mars is determined to find out more about the last weeks of her life. That means returning to the Aspen Conservatory, a place they swore they’d never set foot in again. As Mars is slowly pulled into the orbit of Caroline’s friends at Aspen, nicknamed The Honeys for the beehives they tend, things slowly start to warp and spin out of control. Suspicious of everyone’s intentions, Mars doesn’t know who to trust. They just know that something is wrong – very wrong – at Aspen. But will the pull to join the peaceful lull and harmony of The Honeys and their hive win out over their quest for answers?  With menacingly wonderful and creepy twists, readers won’t see the end coming.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of Azar On Fire by Olivia Abtahi

Azar On Fire by Olivia Abtahi

Narrated by Alex McKenna

Books on Tape | Listening Library

Publication Date: August 23, 2022

ISBN:9780593610305

Azar Rossi’s Freshman year of high school has been virtually silent. Her classmates think she’s just quiet, but in reality, Azar’s voice has the croaky rasp of a chain smoker. Due to an extreme case of colic as a baby, Azar’s vocal cords are shredded and talking is quite painful. But Azar has big dreams of being a famous songwriter and when an accident in a school janitorial closet somehow leads to Azar putting together an act for a city-wide teenaged Battle of the Bands, she thinks her dreams may finally be coming true.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson 

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

Narrated by JD Jackson, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Joy Nash, Christopher Salazar, Karen Malina White

Imprint / Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Publication Date: 9/6/2022

ISBN: 9780063029170

Prom ended in flames and chaos. All the few survivors could say was “Maddy did it.” But how? Why? Despite being bullied by her classmates her entire life, Maddy believed she had a second chance at happiness once everyone knew her closely-kept secret – that she is biracial- and was looking forward to going to prom. But, her dream quickly turned into a nightmare when some of her classmates saw the school’s first integrated prom as a chance to further humiliate Maddy. Little did they know, Maddy had another secret she’d been hiding-one that would change the small town of Springville, Georgia forever. 

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas 

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas

Narrated by André Santana

Macmillan Audio

Publication Date: September 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781250866189

In the world of Reina del Sol, the Sun’s power must be recharged every decade in order to continue traveling the skies and keeping the evil Obsidian gods at bay. Sol selects ten semidioses (children of the gods) to compete in the Sunbearer Trials: the winner will carry light to the Sol temple and the loser of the Trials will sacrifice themselves. Teo, the 17 year old semidiós child of the god of birds, is preparing to observe the coming Trials. Since he is the child of a lesser Jade god, he isn’t worried about being chosen by Sol to compete. His best friend Niya however, is a Gold semidiós and a sure bet as a competitor this year. But when Sol selects not one but two Jade semidioses to compete with the Golds in the Trials, things get complicated for Teo. Beyond the strange choices for competitors, something seems off during the Trials. Can he manage to keep from being at the bottom of the rankings during the Trials? And can he help Xio, the newly turned 13-year-old semidiós child of the god of bad luck? 

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of In the Serpent’s Wake by Rachel Hartman 

In the Serpent’s Wake by Rachel Hartman

Narrated by Katharine Lee McEwan

Listening Library

Publication Date: February 1, 2022

ISBN: 9781524779603

In this sequel to Tess of the Road, Tess Dombegh has traded travel on the road for adventure on the southern seas. After the death of the great World Serpent Anathuthia, Tess hears rumors of another great serpent living in the far south and soon finds herself convincing the leader of an expedition, Countess Margarethe, that she should come along. Tess’s best friend, the quigutl Pathka, has been acting very strangely since Anathuthia’s death. Can Tess help find and protect the serpent before a separate, dragon-led team of explorers can find and kill it? Will finding the serpent somehow help Pathka? When she discovers that her long lost Will is alive and on the very same ship, Tess is soon neck-deep in personal and political turmoil. This follow up is filled with action, adventure and emotional reckoning. 

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz
Narrated by Mhairi Morrison and Tim Campbell
Macmillan Young Listeners
Release date: January 18, 2022
ISBN: 9781250840578

The year is 1817 and Hazel Sinnett wants nothing more than to be a surgeon. Unfortunately for her, she is of noble birth. As far as society is concerned, her life’s purpose is to obtain a good marriage. But she is determined to prove her worth as a physician. When she meets Jack, a boy who makes money by digging up bodies for doctors to study, she enlists him to help her find corpses she can dissect to aid in her learning. Soon, they find themselves enmeshed in secrets and fear as rumors of magical cures, poor people being stolen off the streets, and a plague racing through the city threaten them both.

This audiobook captures the sense of the gothic, and the narrators are properly atmospheric adding to the spooky nature of the book. Readers will be left yearning for more, and a sense that answers are lurking just out of sight. Perfect for readers who are craving a steampunk-esque book with a little bit of a Frankenstein edge. Similar to Gail Carriger’s Etiquette and Espionage, and The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White.

–Katie Patterson and Josie Snow

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline

Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline
Narrated by: Michelle St. John and Meegwun Fairbrother
Books on Tape | Tundra Book Group | Penguin Teen Canada
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
ISBN:9780735269705

In The Marrow Thieves we met French, an Indigenous boy on the run with his found family, trying to escape capture from the Recruiters and their re-opened Residential Schools. In the opening minutes of Hunting by Stars, French awakes inside a pitch-black room alone and in pain, and instantly knows that his run is over. Meanwhile, as French’s family on the outside searches for him, they face perils both known and unknown. Can French’s family find him before his resistance is broken?

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of Answers in the Pages by David Levithan

Answers in the Pages by David Levithan
Narrated By: Christopher Gebauer, Vikas Adam, and Oliver Wyman
Imprint/Publisher: Listening Library
Publication Date: May 10, 2022
ISBN: 9780593608258

Donovan’s book assignment turns his town upside down when parents try to ban the book, The Adventurers. Donovan’s own mother leads the charge because of a possible romantic relationship between the two main characters, Rick and Oliver. Donovan and his classmates will stand up to his town to prevent the book from being banned. In a parallel narrative, the listener is introduced to Gideon and Roberto who are drawn together as they complete a school assignment. 

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of Jennifer Chan is Not Alone by Tae Keller

Jennifer Chan is Not Alone by Tae Keller
Narrated by Shannon Tyo, Carolyn Kang and Tae Keller
Listening Library
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
ISBN: 9780593559994

Thanks to her popular best friend Reagan, Mallory Moss knows the key to surviving middle school: fit in and keep your head down. When new student Jennifer Chan moves in across the street from Mallory, it becomes clear that the openly trusting, alien-obsessed new kid is never going to make it at school. Then Jennifer goes missing. Did she run away like all the adults are saying? Or did something happen to her? The closer Mallory gets to finding Jennifer, the more she has to face why Jennifer may have disappeared. 

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