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December 2019 Earphones Award Winners

The award is given by AudioFile to truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text.


FREE LUNCH
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Narrator Ramón de Ocampo's use of accents and emotions adds much to Rex Ogle's middle school memoir. De Ocampo defines Rex's Latinx mother and her stuttering boyfriend with characteristic accents, but even more by their anger, which goes from mean to menacing. His little brother's innocent comments offer relief from the frequent tension in the story. De Ocampo excels at... Read More

GIRL
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Sheila Atim sets a sensitive yet emphatic tone for this harrowing story of violence, loss, and survival. She becomes Maryam, a Nigerian girl who is abducted by the infamous militant Boko Haram. Atim brings listeners to tears as we hear the many violations Maryam must endure--and then makes us hang on breathlessly to see whether her incredible bid for freedom will... Read More

INSIDE OUT
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Actor Demi Moore's well-known low, raspy timbre guides listeners through her turbulent life with her characteristic honesty. She takes listeners back to her childhood, when she overcame a debilitating illness that was the first of her many successes as a survivor. Moore has a well-established reputation for being a rebel as well as an iconoclast. Both of these identities come... Read More

MARLEY
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Yes, this Marley is THAT Marley. Dickens's perennial staple, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, gets a fascinating prequel with this audiobook, performed with a perfect blend of authenticity and over-the-top caricature by Matthew Lloyd Davies. While this portrait is rendered in darker tones, and Clinch's considerable authorial skill is uniquely his own, the Dickensian touches of quirky names,... Read More

MEDALLION STATUS
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Boston-born, Yale-educated humorist/writer/actor John Hodgman has been blessed with a voice that makes him sound like a world-renowned authority and a nincompoop at the same time. It's a wonderful combination. In his fifth book, Hodgman takes on the dogged pursuit of airline bonus miles; the trappings of post-fame, when one isn't quite as recognizable as one once was; and the... Read More

A MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

From the beginning, narrators Brittany Pressley and Kyf Brewer are in full control of this audiobook with their talent and skill. Pressley portrays Atlee Pine, a troubled FBI agent whose idyllic childhood was interrupted by the kidnapping of her twin sister, Mercy. At the same time, a serial killer is on the loose with a bizarre modus operandi. Pressley and Kyf Brewer expertly... Read More

QUANTUM
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Thriller fans are in for a treat as narrator January LaVoy performs Patricia Cornwell's latest. It's the first adventure of Captain Calli Chase, a NASA pilot, quantum physicist, and cybercrime investigator who must puzzle through the clues that point to her missing identical sister, Carme. LaVoy delivers this heart-pounding story using a combination of emotionally even tones,... Read More

STILL HERE
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Narrator Andrea Burns is amazing! Her performance of NEW YORK TIMES editor Jacobs's charming, well-researched look at the life of actor Elaine Stritch (19252014) is at once intelligent, amusing, and illuminating. In her seventy-year career, Stritch made her own rules, struggled with alcoholism, won awards, and knew many of the most famous authors, actors, and power brokers of... Read More

A TALL HISTORY OF SUGAR
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

It is difficult to imagine that this extraordinary story could be even better, but Robin Miles's sublime narration accomplishes that feat. In 1958, just before Jamaica's independence, a childless couple adopts an abandoned infant and names him Moshe. His pale skin, mismatched- colored eyes, and hair brand him as unusual in his community, and his racial definition mirrors... Read More

TO THE LAND OF LONG LOST FRIENDS
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

How lovely to spend time again with Mma Precious Ramotswe, of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Thanks to the quiet performance of Lisette Lecat, series fans reconnect with a bevy of fully formed Botswana residents--from self-important detective-assistant Grace Makutsi to Mma Ramotswe's gentle husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, and part-time detective-assistant Charlie, who's... Read More

WHAT MAKES US
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Narrator Graham Halstead soars as he uses his versatile voice to portray multiple characters in this poignant and sometimes painfully honest young adult novel. Halstead's talent is on full display as he delivers varied accents in a story about about culture, religion, and fear of the unknown. As the sins of the main character's extremist father surface, a Houston community... Read More

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