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.
Outside a Biloxi convenience store, a paraplegic veteran stands and walks. The world marvels; headlines are made. In this fictional investigative report, Edoardo Ballerini skillfully moves between narration styles as he sifts through the layers of the story. When portraying the journalist, he is matter-of-fact, cutting deftly through a dense thicket of information in order to... Read More
Blaire; her famous ex, Jessie Beckett; and his best friend, Colin, comprise a hilarious love triangle, thanks to the well-matched narration of Kristin Watson-Heintz, Teddy Hamilton, and Joe Arden. Blaire--a private eye who investigates cheaters--comes across as accident prone and cute, with Watson-Heintz giving her a middle-tone voice and eye-rolling sarcasm. Hamilton makes... Read More
Bill Cunningham was something like a secular monk whose high church was fashion. The joy with which he pursued his devotions is so contagious and charming that not only is this a delightful listen, it is a life lesson in how to celebrate creation. This memoir covers his early career as a milliner long before his career-capping photographic stint as the NEW YORK TIMES'... Read More
The youthful glow of narrator Maya Burton's performance brings a generous amount of authenticity to the voice of teenaged Yvonne, a violinist who has lost her passion for music. Burton tones down the warmth and enthusiasm in her voice as Yvonne struggles to overcome her ennui, until she finds inspiration through Omar, a bohemian street musician. Burton immediately hooks into... Read More
The full cast that presents this anthology, published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, does a remarkable job of bringing to life stories by some of today's best-known YA authors. These slice-of-life pieces provide not only mirrors but also windows on issues of race, sexuality, and urban life. Listeners will be intrigued by Gene Luen Yang's comic "Paladin/Samurai,"... Read More
Moira Quirk gives crisp, purposeful voice to Felicity Montague, a young Englishwoman in the 1700s with the single-minded ambition to become a doctor--a path that seems hopelessly closed to her. When she tracks down her idol, Dr. Platt, and reconnects with childhood friend Johanna, it's the beginning of an action-packed, fantastical adventure. Quirk makes the most of her... Read More
Narrator Samuel Roukin expertly runs the gamut of emotions narrating wildlife photographer James Aldred's memoir of climbing trees for a living. In exchange for wielding a camera for the BBC and National Geographic, Aldred communes with monkeys, takes in the view, and builds tree houses. Roukin conveys Aldred's awe at these gigantic trees and the magic of the wildlife, as well... Read More
As both author and narrator, Tim Federle delivers a wholly satisfying conclusion to his funny, smart, heartwarming Nate series. When Nate returns to Jankburg, Pennsylvania, after appearing on Broadway, he's sure that his freshman year of high school is going to be awful. After all, he's a boy who likes musicals (and, secretly, other boys)--and no one back home except his best... Read More
Relatively unknown in the U.S., the rock band known as the Tragically Hip is wildly popular in their native Canada. They achieved mythic status during their final tour in 2016, when their singer, Gord Downie, was suffering from terminal brain cancer. George Stroumboulopoulos, a TV and radio broadcaster who knew the band well, is the ideal voice for this comprehensive chronicle... Read More
With dazzling versatility, narrator Nancy Wu immerses listeners in this complex East Asian-inspired fantasy about a martial arts legend in the making. As a goodwill gesture from their home country of Shin, Peasprout Chen and her brother have been sent to study wu liu (a hybrid of figure skating and martial arts) at Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword. Though eager to prove... Read More
Narrator Ron Butler narrates this exceptional audiobook with the laid-back flair and nuanced understanding of a seasoned jazz musician. His diverse phrasing palette is as interesting to hear as it is clarifying, and his performance is never too conspicuous as he conveys the drama surrounding the growth of jazz in America. Fans of this genre will recognize many of the key... Read More
Kirby Heyborne narrates the short, poignant chapters of this audiobook, imbuing them with the inflections and emotions they deserve. Ten-year-old Louie is saddened when his father brings home a "pitiful donkey." Its mother is dying, and it probably won't live, but Louie--in an act of whim, love, and optimism--decides to save it. In the next moment, he names the spindly-legged... Read More
Rebecca Soler narrates with a driving force that captures the tone of the first in a female pirate series. Caledonia Styx is the daughter of a fierce pirate mother who demands that Caledonia become tough to protect herself against a ruthless warlord and his savage army. In a fiery encounter, Caledonia is critically wounded and her family slaughtered. Saved by her best friend,... Read More
This extraordinary collaboration between the Booker Prize-winning novelist Pat Barker and superb narrators Kristin Atherton and Michael Fox reimagines the passionate, bloody, mythic Trojan War of Homer's ILIAD. Once begun, you will want to abandon everything to spend time with Fox's "Great" Achilles (aka The Butcher) and Atherton's Briseis, a Trojan queen become his bed-slave.... Read More
This engaging audiobook demonstrates that, despite the passage of nearly two generations, new Holocaust stories continue to emerge. Richard Armitage is a superb narrator whose performance here is among his best. Heather Morris bases her book on the story of Holocaust survivor Ludwig Sokolov, who was taken to Auschwitz and given the job of tattooing numbers on every prisoner.... Read More
Somewhere on the unglamorous part of the English coast, young girls are being kidnapped and murdered. A troubled, overworked police detective and his crew work diligently to find the killer of the dead girls and rescue the girls that may still be alive. Narrator Richard Armitage, with his crisp British accent, embodies the driven detectives as they desperately sort out clues to... Read More
Lydia Mackay's bread and butter is providing voices for anime characters; her work as an audiobook narrator is rare, but it goes straight to the heart in this performance. This compelling story of the ongoing efforts to build a viable artificial heart combines first-rate journalism with a pitch-perfect voice. Swartz is a marvelous reporter and storyteller who must have built a... Read More
From his very first words, narrator George Blagden's melodic voice draws listeners into this tale of love and loyalty. A cultured, astute, knowledgeable, and self-aware dog named Tomorrow recounts the 270 years of his life with his master, Valentine, most particularly the 127 years he waited faithfully in Venice for Valentine, who was lost at that time, to return. Blagden... Read More
With a distinctive voice that is both light and deep, C.N. Lester delivers a broad yet personal, challenging but affirming, thoughtful and compelling introduction to many of the common questions surrounding the transgender experience. The complexity comes from the subject matter--human experience--which is both singular and shared. Lester makes the case for greater awareness of... Read More
Fenella Woolgar's masterful narration transforms Juliet Armstrong into a friend who is confiding a lifetime of secrets. This WWII novel revolves around the time Juliet spent transcribing recorded conversations of British fascist sympathizers--they believed they were reporting to the Gestapo but were in fact sharing their secrets with an MI5 officer. Woolgar's interpretations of... Read More
This memorable audiobook takes a young slave from captivity to freedom as narrator Dion Graham wrings every heartfelt emotion from the story. Edugyan's work embodies the fear and brutality of 1800s slavery, using beautifully turned phrases and clear-eyed observations--which Graham takes to another level--to give voice to the horror and high adventure of Washington Black's life.... Read More
Narrator Cassandra Campbell serves up a bushel of Carolina accents in this debut novel by nature writer Delia Owens. Campbell's accents give the mix of classes and regions in the story the same realistic detail Owens provides for the marsh. Kya, a girl abandoned by her family in the isolated marshes of North Carolina, comes of age with little social contact in the 1950s and... Read More
Narrator Kenny Blyth draws the listener into the mystery and beauty of the Shetland Islands as DI Jimmy Perez and his senior colleague and love interest, Willow Reeves, investigate the murder of a young nanny, Emma Shearer. Blyth's Scottish and English accents bring to life the interesting and troubled inhabitants of the insular, gossipy village of Deltaness. There, incomers... Read More
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