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.
It takes an incredibly skilled narrator to make character vignettes entrancing, and performer Chloë Sevigny more than achieves this. Alice is struggling through her young career as an actress working at a dwindling local theater. After her best friend Sadie's mother, Celine, attends the play, Celine and Alice enter into a controversial sexual relationship. Meanwhile, Sadie is... Read More
Hannah Curtis, Sarah Cullum, and Christine Rendel, led by the incomparable Dan Stevens, skillfully deliver this extraordinary twisty novel. One night Anna Ogilvy, a young wannabe writer, inexplicably stabs two people to death while sleepwalking. She hasn't woken up since the crime. Stevens's portrayal of Anna's psychiatrist, Ben, a specialist in sleep-related homicides, carries... Read More
With a flair for dramatic dialogue and intense, unsettling imagery, narrator Jot Davies accentuates the vivid dreamlike qualities of this 1933 novel by the openly gay German author Friedo Lampe. At a river's edge on a single warm summer's evening, a group of characters ranging from sailors to students to lovers and a father-son magic act interact in this early example of magic... Read More
This biography of playwright and poet August Wilson contains both narrative and brief passages from some of his plays. Thus, the narrator has to be both storyteller and actor. Dion Graham excels at both. His rich voice carries the biography along nicely, but it is when he recites lines from plays such as FENCES and quotations from figures in Wilson's past that Graham really... Read More
Narrator Andy Ingalls delivers all the nuances of a full cast in Spufford's latest, a literary detective novel that takes place in an alternate universe. In an authoritative tone, Ingalls brings to life Cahokia, located on the banks of the Mississippi. In the novel, this ancient Indigenous society lives on in the 1920s, seeming to flourish in its diversity. But when Barrow... Read More
Listeners will enjoy this deliciously twisted tale dynamically narrated by the author. Lozada-Oliva explores intergenerational trauma as three generations of women find themselves caught up in a zombie apocalypse. Elderly Guatemalan immigrant Candelaria kills her octogenarian boyfriend. Surrounded by chaos in Boston, she desperately and inexplicably tries to get to the Old... Read More
Nicole Lewis performs this sophomore novel from Booker longlisted author Kiley Reid. Millie Cousins is a senior resident assistant at the University of Arkansas, and her goal is to graduate, buy a house, and begin living her life. When Agatha Paul, a visiting professor and journalist, offers Millie money in exchange for the opportunity to eavesdrop on the dorm's residents,... Read More
Helen Laser returns for another fun performance of the Glimmer Falls series. In this sequel, Astaroth, a bargainer demon who is one of nine members of the high council, is sent to Earth. Unfortunately for him, the first person he meets is the powerful witch Calladia, who becomes his enemy a mere few hours before he develops amnesia. But with Moloth on both their trails,... Read More
Ethan Hawke delivers a spectacular performance of Dave Eggers's 2024 Newbery Medal-winning middle-grade animal story in which Eggers assures us, ". . . the dogs are dogs, the birds are birds, goats are goats, the bison bison." Hawke is more than up to the task of interpreting the rich, complex language describing creatures who, along with three penned bison, maintain the... Read More
Joshua Wichard is phenomenal at narrating this endearing novel, which captures a poignant time in a teenager's life. Thirteen-year-old Houston lives with his single mom and younger brother, Robbie, who has cystic fibrosis. The boys share a dream of traveling to the moon one day, just like their estranged grandpa. Hard work pays off, and Houston is accepted to the Junior... Read More
Aven Shore does it again, this time offering a deft, versatile, immersive performance of a genre-bending queer sci-fi Western. The Stranger's ship crashes on a cold and broken Earth; thus begins her long journey to reunite with her love. Each chapter puts another obstacle in her path--a train car murder mystery, a quest to deliver a drug-toting tortoise, a run-in with a... Read More
Journalist Bianca Bosker narrates her witty audiobook about the art world with pizzazz. She has a pleasing sound, paces the sometimes frantic-sounding proceedings well, and comes across as an authentic seeker. Performing in a comic style, she enhances the audiobook's ironic undertone, which suggests that many in the art world see journalists as "the enemy." In this work she... Read More
Kirsten Potter provides an amusing performance of this small-town romance. Lolly has run from every relationship in her life but only regrets leaving her high school boyfriend, Shaun, in the way that she did. Now that he's back in Sweet Home, Alaska, every neighbor in the community is divided between keeping them apart or getting them together. The romance and awkward... Read More
An ensemble of wildly talented narrators elevates this fictional true- crime case told through first-person interviews. The narrators infuse a generous amount of personality and empathy into their portrayals of the community, media, and family involved in the tragic case of missing teenager Sara Parcell. Robert Fass's weary voice portrays Dave, Sara's downtrodden father, as he... Read More
Leeanna Walsman immerses listeners in an emotional story that is sure to bring both laughter and tears. Two years after becoming a widow, 40-year-old Kate struggles to raise her son while juggling friendships and her career. Hugh, her boss, who was a close friend of her late husband, has been patiently supportive as she adjusts to her new life, always there when she needs him.... Read More
Iranian American actor Arian Moayed gives the performance of a lifetime in poet Kaveh Akbar's extraordinary debut novel. Cyrus Shams is a queer Iranian American poet in recovery who is grieving the long-ago death of his mother (killed when the U.S. Navy shot down a civilian Iranian plane) and struggling to find meaning in life. He becomes obsessed with the idea of martyrdom and... Read More
Narrator Maria Liatis is superb at portraying both the characters in this novel and the rural environment they inhabit. It's 1990, not far from Interstate 80. Marly and her mother arrive in the Pennsylvania town and soon encounter two brothers, one of which Marly will marry at a young age. But she remains close to both. The discovery of a skeleton in the church attic threatens... Read More
This marvelous audiobook unfolds through a series of emails complete with verbal emojis--a narrator's challenge. Kristin Atherton gives a knockout performance as journalist Amanda Bailey, who is investigating the malevolent cult of the Alperton Angels. Years ago they attempted to persuade a teenage mother to sacrifice her baby--but then the infant disappeared. Sid Sagar... Read More
Narrator Rachel Atkins is a gift. Her performance of Dawson's suspenseful psychological thriller will seep into listeners' consciousness, keeping them on the edge of their seats. Atkins's talents are showcased immediately in the opening scene in which the protagonist, Jude, stands in a courtroom, awaiting the jury's decision about her fate. Jude, an emergency room nurse who... Read More
Karl Jenkinson introduces Neville Watkins, who is shocked when his wife leaves him, he is fired from his job, and he plows into a car while sneezing. It is through that last event that listeners meet 50-something Neville and Laura, the other driver. Jenkinson outdoes himself performing characters of all ages and classes who are experiencing life's joys and sorrows. Things start... Read More
With a talent for distinct voices, Erin deWard delivers this decades-old science fiction novel, now on audio. Psychologist Joanna Lander teams up with neurologist Richard Wright to determine the nature of near-death experiences and their role in survival. Lander's first simulated experience feels strange but familiar, and she's determined to repeat it until she can figure out... Read More
Olympic medalist Caster Semenya engages listeners with this deeply personal memoir of her experiences amid the ongoing debate over fairness in women's sports. Semenya, who was raised a girl and has always identified as female, has naturally high levels of testosterone, which are known as "differences in sex development (DSD)." She's been forced to undergo invasive and... Read More
Anyone who wants to know what's going on in contemporary Black poetry should seek out this anthology. Most of the big names, including Rita Dove and Nikki Giovanni, are here, as are a great many less famous but highly skilled poets. The quality of the poems ranges from quite good to fabulous; there's not a lemon in this bushel. Performers Mahogany L. Brown and Joel Damany... Read More
Lincoln Hoppe demonstrates his skills with a stellar narration of this audiobook. His ability to subtly shift his tone and tempo from character to character, giving each a specific voice, makes this immersive novel stand out. Chip, an elderly river guide, has a gruffer, deeper voice than those of the other main characters, Sam and Swami Brecht. In a work with some... Read More
This audiobook reveals that Orange is among the most insightful novelists writing today and a poet of pain. Among this segmented novel's stellar performances, Charley Flyte's reading of Victoria Bear Shield's dramatic monologue to her unborn daughter is a tour de force--a haunting performance with an expressive tone and intimate voice. Alma Cuervo portrays Jacquie Red Feather... Read More
Five remarkable narrators create an unforgettable portrait of the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. Brad Griffith provides the main narration as Adam Paskow, a language and literature teacher who lost his beloved wife, Kasia. After being relocated to the Warsaw Ghetto, he is recruited by the real-life Oneg Shabbat to document the histories of the Jews there. Jesse Vilinsky, Sharon... Read More
Karissa Vacker and Hillary Huber deliver excellent performances in this gripping audiobook. The story, set in the Adirondacks, evokes themes of empowerment, personal growth, and discovery as it depicts emotional insights and decades-spanning intrigue. Vacker voices failed screenwriter Rowan, who discovers a mysterious handbook that may have something to do with a woman who went... Read More
Narrator Eunice Wong captures the beauty and pain of this magical coming-of-age story set on a Canadian island. Listeners meet 11-year-old Ava, who has been sent to her grandparents while her mother experiences a difficult pregnancy. Wong's sweet, sensitive Ava is worried despite her loving grandparents and the gorgeous setting of the island, replete with deer, birds, and water... Read More
Megan Tusing and Samantha Desz provide a captivating dual performance with confidence, especially when the narration is deliberately unreliable. Kat Bird awakes from a coma, coming face-to-face with her twin sister, Jude. Her memory a blank, Kat must piece together the story of their lives, with Jude's guidance. Secrets come to the surface as Kat puts the pieces of their shared... Read More
Alison Campbell poignantly presents a rural English community whose disparate residents are fighting attempts by developers to close their social housing. Listeners join curmudgeonly Matilda, 90 years old, and Connie, age 29, who is fleeing a violent boyfriend. When hoarder Matilda collapses while feeding her menagerie of goats, cats, and chickens, Connie, who has been... Read More
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