Do you drive every day? I’ve recently started a 40-minute commute to our new office, and to pass the time, I listen to audiobooks. As a librarian who orders children’s and teen materials, I consider it part of my job to know about good books. As a book-lover, I find time to read when I can. Sometimes, that happens to be while driving. So, while driving, I love listening to a good teen novel, also known as YA, which stands for Young Adult. Now, some of you adults are hip to YA literature. But for those who are not, I urge you to try a YA audiobook. Here are a few really good ones to get you started.
Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys, read by Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, and Michael Crouch
As World War II comes to a close, a handful of refugees attempt to escape East Prussia. This masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff the greatest maritime disaster in history. Sepetys takes us inside history, and the voices of the narrators skillfully bring the characters to life. It is a thrilling, can’t-stop-listening bit of history.
The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry, read by Julie Berry, Allan Corduner, Jayne Entwistle, and Fiona Hardingham.
Another historical fiction choice – this one set in 13-th century Provence, featuring Dolssa, a deeply religious girl who is accused of heresy. She escapes being burned alive, and is saved by a family of peasant girls who come to love and accept her. Step directly into the past with this well-crafted story.
All the bright places by Jennifer Niven read by Kirby Heyborne and Ari Meyers
If romance is more your style, this tear-jerker of a novel will hit you where your heart is. Two teens, one an outcast, one in terrible pain over her sister’s death, fall into an unlikely relationship. The book explores mental health issues, as well as the raw emotion of love.
Jackaby by William Ritter , read by Nicola Barber
Looking for something to fill the gap between bouts of Sherlock? Try this: In 1892, girls in their late teens from good English families don’t wander the world, but Abigail Rook seeks adventure. She sails to New England and is hired on a trial basis by R. F. Jackaby, an investigator specializing in unexplained phenomena. Before long, she is deep in a murder investigation that includes a banshee, a shape-changer, and a malevolent goblin known as a red cap.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, read by the author
This is an older one, but if you want something that is Laugh-Out-Loud funny, grab this audiobook and drive safely. The story: a plane full of teen beauty-pageant hopefuls crashes on a deserted island. Libba Bray takes it to the outer limit of hilarious in this story of survival and competition.
—Angela J. Reynolds, Community Engagement Coordinator