Awesome Audiobooks

June is Audiobook Month, and I’m getting ready to take a long drive to the east coast, so I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite audiobooks this week. If you want more recommendations, check out my great audiobook shelf on Goodreads. And please feel free to add your own favorite listens in the comments!

Thirteen Reasons Why. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, narrated by Debra Wiseman and Joe Johnstone

Summary from Goodreads:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

If ever there was a book written for audio, this is it, and these narrators do a fantastic job of bringing this story to life. I still get chills every time I hear Hannah Baker’s (Debra Wiseman’s) voice.

Leviathan. Leviathan and the rest of the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld, narrated by Allen Cumming

Summary of the first book from Goodreads:

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way … taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

This series solidified my love of audiobooks. It’s a fantastic story, and Cumming does a great job with the plethora of accents.

The Graveyard Book. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Neil Gaiman

Summary from Goodreads:

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack — who has already killed Bod’s family…

I’d recommend just about anything written and read by Neil Gaiman. His stories all have bizarre premises that are wonderfully executed, and his narration is phenomenal. To quote a colleague, “I could listen to that man read the phone book.”

The Raven Boys. The Raven Boys and the rest of The Raven Cycle series  by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton

Summary of the first book from Goodreads:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love … or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them — not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all — family money, good looks, devoted friends — but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

In addition to a great story and reader, this audiobook is enhanced by music that was written and performed by the author and her fellow musicians. The music complements the story and setting nicely.

If I Stay. If I Stay by Gayle Forman, narrated by Kirsten Potter

Summary from Goodreads:

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love — music — even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

With the movie adaptation coming out this summer, I thought I’d mention this one. It’s on the shorter side, so it’s great for a medium-length road trip, and it has some beautiful cello music that ties in nicely with the main character’s story.

If you want a more specific recommendation, leave a comment with the genre or type of story you’re interested in and I’ll come up with a few titles for you. And if you have books to add to this list, please share them in the comments.

Happy listening!


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