Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2025) Featured Review: This Terrible True Thing by Jenny Laden

Danielle is living in 1990’s Philadelphia, going to private school, and hoping to be accepted at the Rhode Island School of Design’s art program. But, this is the age of AIDS/HIV and Danielle’s father is gay at a time when very little is known about the disease or mentioned aloud. Her father falls victim to AIDS in a heart-wrenching manner and this propels Danielle to action and to speak out.

Gail Shalon had an age-appropriate voice which was perfect in voicing the pain Danielle felt when her father died. This is the author’s debut novel and takes parts from her own life.  In the print version are many drawings, poems, and journal entries, but the audio version stands on its own without these. In fact, the audio version won the Audie Award for YA 2024. The characters are multi-layered.

This audiobook can be enjoyed by fans of John Green, Jennifer Niven, and Bill Konigsberg. This historical fiction title depicts a time when so little was known about AIDS/HIV and being gay was a hidden topic.  

-Ellen Spring

Other Nominated Titles

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 (#AA2025) Featured Review: For Girls Who Walk Through Fire by Kim DeRose

  • For Girls Who Walk Through Fire
  • by Kim DeRose
  • Narrated by Mia Hutchinson-Shaw
  • Dreamscape Media
  • Publication Date: October 3, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781666647594

Armed with a spell book from her late mother, Elliott creates a coven of witches with her sexual assault survivor support group. This group of young women plans to exact revenge on their attackers and find the justice they are lacking. While the book warns of blowback, these magical vigilantes are ready to stop their assailants by any means necessary. As the coven gets closer and the stakes get higher, Elliott and her friends will need to decide what justice truly means. 

The magic elements of this story explore the implications of sexual assault in unique ways and open up discussion about individual journeys of healing. The grotesque scenes of revenge give this story a horrific tone, which pairs nicely with its magical realism. Hutchinson-Shaw’s narration ensured that each survivor’s voice was distinct and helped listeners easily distinguish the difference between them. This audiobook’s magic take on real-world issues will compel listeners to continue the conversation on the state of survivorship in our society. 

Readers who are looking for more after finishing All the Fighting Parts by Hannah V Sawyerr and don’t mind a bit of fantasy will find a great follow-up in this audiobook. DeRose’s story is also perfect for readers who enjoyed Girls with Sharp Sticks. This novel is a wonderful callback to movies like The Craft and television shows like The Secret Circle.

-Sarah Carpenter

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: January 9, 2024
Release Date: February 27, 2024
Release Date: September 5, 2023

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 (#AA2024) Featured Review: My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix by Kalynn Bayron

  • My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix
  • by Kalynn Bayron
  • Narrated by Clifford Samuel
  • Publisher: Macmillan | Macmillan Young Listeners
  • Publication Date: March 7, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250877239

Part of the Remixed Classics series, this latest work from author Kalynn Bayron updates Robert Louis Stephenson’s classic gothic novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for a modern young adult audience. In Bayron’s version, narrator Gabriel Utterson is a young medical student rather than an attorney; however, conflict arises because he is also African American and queer and dealing with the racism and homophobia of late 19th-century London. After he and his best friend, Henry Jekyll, are expelled from the London Medical School amid rumors of their relationship, Henry begins growing increasingly distant from Gabriel about the same time as the mysterious Hyde shows up. Despite Gabriel’s jealousy of Hyde, who seems to live at Henry’s house, he begins to realize something is not quite right and becomes determined to discover what is going on with his friend.

Clifford Samuel does an extraordinary job narrating as his deep voice perfectly suits the dark mood and gothic atmosphere of this story that reveals that monsters aren’t always the ones you think they are, especially in a society where your worth is determined by the color of your skin and whom you choose to love. Fans of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein and Self-Made Boys, as well as Bayron’s other works are likely to find appeal in this book.

-Jennifer Balke

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: January 31, 2023
Release Date: February 28, 2023
Release Date: September 13, 2022
Release Date: February 7, 2023

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.