I didn’t always love audiobooks, but now I am a dedicated listener. These are some of my favorite YA audiobooks that converted me to an audiobook fan.
To be fair, these are all amazing books, too, and most of them I’ve read as well as listened to. I just happen to think the audio version is the best way to experience the book.
To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han
I picked this up randomly when I was going to be driving for a few hours on my own, and fell in love! The narration is spot on for a younger, innocent teen, and it literally felt like I was just riding with a teen who was telling me all of her (potential) boyfriends and drama with her sisters on the drive. When I got home, I actually brought the discs inside and listened to them on my computer to finish the story, it was so cute. I ended up reading the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, first, but it still sounded like
Shadowshaper by DJ Older
Everyone was raving about this book, but I couldn’t get into the print version at all. Then my husband picked up the audiobook version to see if it would be a good pick for the book club in the high school English class he teaches, and I heard a portion on audio, and immediately checked it out for myself. Anika Noni Rose brings out so much personality in Sierra Santiago, and I got wrapped up in her story.
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
I don’t read as much middle grade or younger YA as I’d like, but I’ve always been a fan of Pam Muñoz Ryan, so I listened to this on my morning walks. This book is particularly good on audio because it brings the music of the story to life and features multiple narrators. This quest story featuring a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica feels like a classic fairy tale or fable, and since those are part of the oral storytelling tradition, make amazing audiobook experiences.
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isobel Quintero
Kyla Garcia brings Gabi to life, and creates this sense of immediacy and intimacy that you’d expect from an audiobook of an epistolary novel. You are right there with Gabi through all the ups and downs of her senior year of high school as she deals with her dad’s drug addiction, a friend’s coming out, a friend’s pregnancy, and her own dating life. The book is good, but audio just makes it pack an extra punch.
Sway by Kat Spears
How do you make a book with a vile main character endearing? Listen to it on audio. Nick Poedhl is an audiobook rockstar, and I’d listen to anything he narrates. He also made me fall in love with one of my favorite YA authors, Kat Spears, who has an amazing point of view and writes honest, heartbreaking characters who feel so, so real. I loved her debut about a manipulative, closed off high school student who lets a girl and her special needs brother crack through his tough facade.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
I read The Raven Boys as an ARC right after BEA 2012, and I immediately fell in love. Then, I listened to the audio. I hadn’t thought it could get any better, but Will Patton does an amazing job bringing this atmospheric series to life. Just listen to the way he says, “Ronan.”
That is all.
I am not a big re-reader, and it’s even less often that I re-listen to a book. But I’ve listened to this complete series twice. Because it is that good.
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
So there are times that a narrator can make an audiobook 1000% better no matter what the book is. But in this case, I’d actually really disliked Justine Eyre’ performance of other audiobooks (Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, to be exact — good book, but dry, boring audiobook). But with The Winner’s Trilogy, her accent and performance elevate the story. I was transfixed. The series is excellent in print, but the audio version is utterly enthralling.
The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton
This is a seriously underappreciated YA series to begin with, but the audiobook version is not to miss. Robbie Daymond is an excellent narrator, and I’ve enjoyed other peformances he’s done, like Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, but he really takes this Norse mythology road trip novel to the next level.
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
This is hand down one of my favorite books, but the dual narration of Fred Berman and Josh Hurley makes the story even more memorable and impactful. These bizarre storylines ultimately converge in a triumph of structure that I’ve never seen done quite so well, and the audio performance only heightens the emotion and irony of the story. The writing and the production are both masterful.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
I thought I was completely over YA dystopian until I tried this on audiobook. The narration by
I’m always looking for an excellent YA audiobook—do you have any favorites to recommend?