After years of listening to audiobooks, I can confirm that the young adult genre has some of the best narrators in the business. Over time I have fallen in love with the voices of Michael Crouch, Bahni Turpin, Jorjeana Marie, Robbie Daymond and more. These readers keep my mind engaged while my body performs the monotonous, but necessary, chores of my daily life.
If you’re like me, busy but nostalgic for those days of first love, new adventures, and feeling like you could change the world, check out some of the best young adult audiobooks out today.
“Everything, Everything” is everything.
Nicola Yoon’s “Everything, Everything” is a story about 18-year-old Madeline Whittier who is battling a rare disease that makes her allergic to just about everything in the outside world. She has spent the last 17 years unable to leave her meticulously disinfected home, with only her mum and nurse to keep her company. Then one day, a boy with “eyes the colour of the Atlantic Ocean” moves in next door. Bahni Turpin and Robbie Daymond narrate.
You’ll “Love, Simon” in “Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda.”
No one knows that Simon Spier is gay, or that he’s been corresponding via email with another closeted classmate. Although neither of the 16-year-olds knows who the other is, one of Simon’s classmates discovers the email exchange and threatens to out them both to the whole school.
Simon is falling in love and doesn’t want to risk losing “Blue,” so he goes along with the blackmail. If the premise sounds familiar it’s because it was recently released in theatres as “Love, Simon.” Becky Albertalli’s “Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda” is narrated by Michael Crouch.
“The Hate U Give” is heartbreakingly relevant.
“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas tells the story of 16-year-old Starr Carter who balances a life in two different worlds. She lives in a poor neighbourhood but attends a prestigious prep school in the more affluent suburbs, where she is one of the only black students.
One evening while driving home from a party with a childhood friend, Khalil, the teens get pulled over. Before she even knows what is happening, unarmed Khalil is shot and killed by the police officer. The media begins to portray Khalil as a thug and a drug dealer and Starr must decide if the truth it’s worth risking her safety.“The Hate U Give” is beautifully written and heartbreakingly relevant. Bahni Turpin narrates.
You’ll fall in love at first sight with “The Sun Is Also A Star.”
Natasha Kingsley is on her way to meet an attorney to try and stop her family from being deported back to Jamaica that very evening, when she runs into Daniel Jae Ho Bae. He is being the dutiful son and heading to an admission interview with Yale, even though he’s not sure this is the path he wants to take. “The Sun Is Also A Star” by Nicola Yoon deals with what it means to be an American, follow your dreams, and, of course, falling in love in one day. Bahni Turpin, Raymond Lee, and Dominic Hoffman narrate.
“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” will remind you of your teenage crushes.
Lara Jean has learned that the best way to deal with her many crushes is to write each of them a secret “goodbye” letter that she keeps hidden inside an old hat box. When all of her letters are mysteriously mailed to the boys she’s loved, Lara Jean must deal with the aftermath. “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” is written by Jenny Han and narrated by Laura Knight Keating.
“Eleanor & Park” will give you all the feels.
Rainbow Rowell’s “Eleanor & Park” takes place over the course of a school year in 1986. Eleanor is a “big girl” with wild red hair and an eccentric wardrobe. On the school bus, she sits next to Park, a half-Korean boy who listens to a walkman and looks at comics which she reads over his shoulder. It takes them a while to talk, but when they do, they learn that they have a lot in common. “Eleanor & Park” has romance, heartbreak, and tackles some serious issues like bullying, racism, and abuse. Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra narrate.
Adam Silvera warns you that “They Both Die At The End.”
It’s a time when your death can be predicted within 24 hours, and the Death-Cast company is tasked to call you to give you the news. While most “deckers” (those who’ve received their death call) use this time to say their goodbyes and get affairs in order, others turn to the app “Last Friend” to find someone with whom to spend their last day. This is where Rufus and Mateo meet for one last adventure. “They Both Die At The End” is written by Adam Silvera and narrated by Michael Crouch, Robbie Daymond, and Bahni Turpin.
“The Serpent King” will rip your heart out.
Dill Early lives in a little town in Tennessee. His father is a Pentecostal minister who handles poisonous snakes as part of his preaching. When his dad finds himself in legal trouble, Dill’s future looks bleak as he is expected to help financially at home.
He has two best friends, Travis who is big, kind, and loves fantasy books, and Lydia who is a fashion blogger with plans to leave their backwater town immediately after graduation. “The Serpent King” by Jeff Zentner is deep, beautiful, and heart-wrenching, and you will definitely want to listen to the audiobook narrated by Michael Crouch, Ariadne Meyers, and Ethan Sawyer.
You won’t want to stop listening to “The Poet X.”
“The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo is different than most YA books because it is written in verse. Xiomara Batista is a 15-year-old Dominican girl from Harlem. Her mum is very religious, and Xiomara turns to her poetry for escape and comfort. When she joins a slam poetry club, she does everything she can to keep her Mami from finding out. Author Elizabeth Acevedo is a slam poet and beautifully narrates.
“Mosquitoland” will take you on a coming of age roadtrip.
After 16-year-old Mim reluctantly moves from Ohio to Mississippi with her dad and stepmother, she learns that her mum back in Cleveland is sick. Determined to see her mother, she takes all the money she can find and, without telling her dad, hops on a Greyhound bus to Ohio. Along the way, Mim meets a cast of characters, each of which help her learn a little more about herself. “Mosquitoland” is written by David Arnold and narrated by Phoebe Strole.
You’ll be wooed by “When Dimple Met Rishi.”
Dimple Shah just graduated from high school and is on her way to a summer program for web developers. She believes that her parents are finally supporting her dreams and understand that she, in no way, wants to be arranged for marriage.
Little does she know that Rishi Patel, the son of her parents’ acquaintances, has specifically joined the same summer program in the hopes of wooing Dimple. “When Dimple Met Rishi” is written by Sandhya Menon with narration by Sneha Mathan and Vikas Adam.
You will want witness how “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe”.
Fifteen-year-olds Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza and Dante Quintana meet at the local swimming pool one summer in 1980s Texas. Ari is struggling with anger issues stemming from his family’s erasure of all traces of his incarcerated older brother.
Dante is smart, emotionally open, and honest. The boys form an unexpected bond over the next two years. “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Saenz is beautifully narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“Far From The Tree” will have you thinking about your own family roots.
After Grace gets pregnant in high school and puts her baby up for adoption, she decides it’s time to look for her own biological family. She is soon reconnected with siblings Maya and Joaquin, and together they set out to learn more about their roots and each other. “Far From The Tree” by Robin Benway is read by Julia Whelan.
“I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” will break your heart.
Olga was the perfect Mexican daughter. She was quiet, dressed modestly, and stayed at home after graduation. But when Olga dies tragically at age 22, her rebellious 15-year-old sister Julia is left alone to fill her shoes.
Julia is not like Olga. She wants to date and go away to college, things that are forbidden in her family. As Julia learns to navigate life without Olga, she begins to learn that her sister wasn’t as “perfect” as everyone thought. “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” was written by Erika L. Sánchez and narrated by Kyla Garcia.
“Caraval” is the grandest show on land or by sea.
As girls, Scarlett and Donatella dreamt of attending “Caraval” an invitation-only, magical travelling performance. But, their invitation never came – until this year. Just before Scarlett is set to marry The Count, Tella whisks her sister away to the private island of Caraval. As part of the performance, Tella is kidnapped, and whoever finds her first is this year’s winner. Scarlett must find her sister before the game is over, or she could lose her forever. “Caraval” was written by Stephanie Garber and read by Rebecca Soler.
“90 Miles To Havana” will take you on an American journey.
In early 1960s Havana, Julian’s parents send their three sons to the United States through Operation Pedro Pan, an exodus of over 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban minors escaping Castro’s regime. The brothers are soon separated – the older two sent to Colorado, while 12-year-old Julian stays in a camp in Miami.
“90 Miles To Havana” is based on the experiences of the author Enrique Flores-Galbis, and deals with topics of family, bullying, fitting in, and loss. Narrated by the author.
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