Audiobooks are all the rage in publishing right now. This Forbes article tells us that digital audiobook revenue rose 32.1 percent in 2018’s first quarter. People are turning to audiobooks to get their reading done more than ever. Audiobooks help readers multitask while listening; you can clean house, cook dinner, and even go to the gym while listening to an audiobook.
And audiobooks don’t have to be expensive, either. Overdrive has a large selection of audiobooks for free through libraries. In Multnomah County, you can check out up to twenty audiobooks at a time, each for twenty-one days. RB Digital and Hoopla are other options, and have fewer selections but often have older titles.
There is a debate online about whether audiobooks are real reading since you aren’t sitting down to physically read a book. I would argue that audiobooks are indeed real reading because you’re still consuming the book. However, most people can agree that audiobooks are offering an incentive for people to read more, and that’s always a good thing.
I’m personally an avid audiobook reader. I listen to an average of thirty to forty books a year on audiobook from simply doing chores and driving. Below are my favorite young adult audiobooks I’ve listened to so far.
1. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli, narrated by Pearl Mackie:
The Last Namsara is a young adult fantasy. It’s about a world where there is a Namsara, the light bringer, and the Iskari, the death bringer. Asha has been raised to believe that she is the Iskari. To serve her people and keep them safe, she a dragon slayer. What I love most about this audiobook is the narrator’s voice. Pearl offers in a moody, well-paced narration that dips you right into the world. Kristen’s book is highly recommended by Tomi Adeyemi, who is famous for Children of Blood and Bone.
You can find The Last Namsara here.
2. Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett, narrated by Khristine Hvam:
Onyx and Ivory is a young adult fantasy that came out recently. The story has a dual perspective. Kate is considered a traitor because her father attempted to assassinate the high king. She’s also a Wilder—she has magic that is outlawed—and must keep her powers secret. Corwin is the prince, and he is must undergo trails against his brother for the throne. Khristine’s voice is smooth and pleasing, and she’s one of the most popular audiobook narrators. Her voice, combined with Mindee’s prose, make this one of my favorites.
You can find Onyx and Ivory here.
3. Far From the Tree by Robin Benway, narrated by Julia Whelan:
This contemporary novel is the winner of the National Book Award. It’s a stunning novel that follows three main characters, all of whom are siblings who were separated and either adopted or placed in foster care. They come together to find their mother. The narrator brings the depth of the story though in her reading, and it’s easy to fall for the characters and Robin’s writing.
Find Far From the Tree here.
4. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, narrated by Amy Landon:
Three Dark Crowns is a dark fantasy novel with morally ambiguous characters. It’s set on an island where three queens are born, each with their own gift. However, they must fight to the death for the crown. This book is a slow-burn with a cliffhanger, so make sure you have the sequel on hand. The narrator does a great job with the third person omniscient point of view.
Find Three Dark Crowns here.
5. Scytheby Neal Shusterman, narrated by Greg Tremblay:
Scythe is one of the most unique books I’ve read. It is set in a world that would be considered a utopia—humanity has conquered disease and death. In order to keep the population at bay, scythes are hired to kill people. Just the premise had me itching to pick up the book, and it doesn’t disappoint. Greg reads the book clearly and frankly while giving dramatic scenes the flair they deserve.
Find Scythe here.
What are some of your favorite audiobooks?