SYNC Audiobooks for Teens

SYNC imageThe SYNC Audiobooks for Teens program, sponsored by AudioFile Magazine, and powered by OverDrive, will start next week on May 5th to give teens, librarians and educators the opportunity  to download a selection of free audiobooks during a 15-week program that ends on August 17, 2016.

Each week, SYNC offers a thematic pairing of  two YA books or a YA book with an classic adult book. You must download the Overdrive app to the device of your choice to access the audiobooks each Thursday after 7 pm (EST). Each week’s selections are only available for download for one week, so if you don’t download them during that time period, you won’t be able to get them later, since they aren’t archived. Teens, librarians, club leaders, and educators can sign up for email or text alerts to receive reminders of when they’re available.

Many of the selections are award-winners or titles frequently assigned for summer reading. They are notable for their excellent narration that enables readers to master the listening skills so necessary for literacy. During the summer of 2015, the SYNC program gave away more than 129,000 downloads to 41,000 participants.

With the continued discussions of the loss of reading skills over the summer, SYNC hopes to help keep teens engaged and stimulated throughout the summer. Public librarians have also used SYNC as part of their summer reading programs.

SYNC has a toolkit you can use to publicize it to teens and other librarians by going to their website. There are downloadable posters and a brochure with the list of each week’s audiobooks, and even audio snippets of the books you can listen to.

I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to listen to books I may not have read, or adult books I wouldn’t normally listen to. I really love that they’re free and that I can keep them forever once I’ve downloaded them. I’ve only participated over the past three or so years. Since this is the seventh year of the program, I’ve missed out on a lot of great audios! So you don’t miss out like I did, the list of what’s available is here, with annotations from WorldCat. You can also go to SYNC’s website to see the list too.

Vivian Apple at the End of the WorldVIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Katie Coyle (Dreamscape Media) 

Sixteen-year-old Vivian Apple returns home after the alleged ‘Rapture’ to find her devout parents gone and two mysterious holes in the roof. Vivian never believed in the Rapture, or the uber powerful Church of America. Now that she has been left behind, Vivan’s quest for the truth begins.


Great Tennessee Monkey Trial Peter GoodchildTHE GREAT TENNESSEE MONKEY TRIAL by Peter Goodchild (L.A. Theatre Works) 

Presents a dramatization of the Scope Trial in a small-town Tennessee courtroom in 1925 which set the stage for the ongoing national debate over freedom of inquiry and the separation of church and state in a democratic society.


Sin Eaters Daughter audioTHE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER by Melinda Salisbury (Scholastic Audio)

For four years sixteen-year-old Twylla has lived in the castle of Lormere, the goddess-embodied, whose touch can poison and kill, and hence the Queen’s executioner–but when Prince Merek, her betrothed, who is immune to her touch returns to the kingdom she finds herself caught up in palace intrigues, unsure if she can trust him or the bodyguard who claims to love her.



Los Angeles lawyer and law professor, Jim Gash, tells the amazing true story of how, after a series of God-orchestrated events, he finds himself in the heart of Africa defending a courageous Ugandan boy languishing in prison and wrongfully accused of two separate murders. Ultimately, their unlikely friendship and unrelenting persistence reforms Uganda’s criminal justice system, leaving a lasting impact on hundreds of thousands of lives and unearthing a friendship that supersedes circumstance, culture and the walls we often hide behind.

Continue reading SYNC Audiobooks for Teens

Crossovers: Oh, Alice!

For so many readers, Lewis Carroll’s Alice books presented a glorious composition of word play, fantasy, and understated hilarity that could be compared to no others. Coupled with John Tenniel’s winsome illustrations, Carroll’s tales quickly became popular with adults and children, a status enjoyed to this day. In so many ways, the Alice books have been the perfect crossovers, with an irrepressible weirdness that can beguile the imagination and an undercurrent of political commentary and psychological menace that captures the most sophisticated readers.

original illustration by John Tenniel

after aliceThis year, contemporary author Gregory Maguire takes us back to Wonderland with his own playful word play and fantastical imaginings. After Alice is not a sequel so much as an enhancement of the original tales, blending bits of Wonderland with Through the Looking Glass. The heroine is Alice’s friend, Ada, she of the ringlets mentioned in Carroll’s book. Ada wears a back brace and counts sensible Alice as her only friend. Her adventures begin when, in search of Alice, she finds herself swallowed by the ground and deposited in the sea. On the beach, Ada meets the first of many familiar friends, the Walrus and the Carpenter.

Maguire’s tale includes the parallel story of Alice’s older sister, Lydia, who is dozing over her book when Alice chases the White Rabbit. Lydia is at that impossible half child-half woman age, and the recent loss of their mother has increased her angst. A few real characters make cameo appearances: An elderly Charles Darwin visits Lydia’s father and a stuttering Charles Dodgson experiments with photography. Like his treatment of The Wizard of Oz story, Maguire creates magnificent personalities for minor characters.

Alice has made her way into the pages of YA literature many times. Sometimes she is scarcely recognizable, and other times she is overshadowed by her assorted sidekicks. Here a few YA books that take the reader back to Wonderland. Continue reading Crossovers: Oh, Alice!