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.
Logan Rozos suffuses this charming romance with joyful exuberance. Having recently transitioned, Miles is almost as determined to win back his jock ex-boyfriend as he is to defeat his lifelong piano competition nemesis. But a cute new boy and an intimidating piano teacher threaten to upend all his plans--or they could help him build the life of his dreams. Rozos leans into the... Read More
Michael Finkel narrates the opening of this memorable portrait of Stéphane Breitwieser, the sly European thief who pilfered nearly $2 billion in art objects--treasures he and his girlfriend hoarded in his mother's attic. Finkel's investigative role provides context and perspective, while narrator Edoardo Ballerini performs his customary magic, enhancing the narrative's... Read More
Jim Frangione's resonant baritone is part of the appeal of this comprehensive guide to brain health. What's more impressive is the range of pitch patterns he uses to give natural-sounding pizzazz to sentences, phrases, and even individual words. Frangione conveys the relaxed confidence and desire to help that we associate with the prolific author, psychiatrist, and TV star... Read More
Abraham Verghese is a rarity among authors--a gifted writer who is also a dramatic narrator. Once you listen to his nuanced, emotionally charged performance, you'll be convinced that no one else could have better captured the dialects, tones, and cadences of his mostly Indian characters. He also portrays a Scot and an American, among others, and adroitly changes his pitch for... Read More
Katherine Littrell hits every comedic and dramatic note in her narration of this family saga. Penny Rush's marriage is crumbling, and she's close to being penniless when she's summoned to her grandmother Pincer's home by Pincer's accountant, Burt Lampey. Pincer has dementia and a hoarding streak. A plan to clean the home leads to a wild adventure involving road trips from... Read More
Robert Petkoff's sonorous, resonant voice is a fitting match for this sweeping yet detailed account of the murder of Henry Glover and its subsequent cover-up. After he was shot by a police officer during the tumultuous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Glover's body was then burned nearly beyond identification in a car fire. Author Jared Fishman, then a young... Read More
Leonie Elliott, an accomplished actor, is the perfect narrator for this remarkable debut novel. She is Black and British like the book's heroine, Yamaye, and has similar Jamaican roots. This dark story covers disturbing topics such as sexual abuse, police brutality, and drugs. The opening moves from a council estate near London to the Bristol underworld to a Jamaica filled with... Read More
Gilli Messer narrates this YA story of Afghan American teenager Mafi Shahin. Mafi struggles to right injustices as "The Ghost," a secret avenger who addresses her high school classmates' written pleas for help. Mafi soon discovers others in her life are also keeping secrets, specifically her basketball-playing crush and her father, who denies his Afghan heritage. What should... Read More
Claire Foy gives listeners a remarkable performance of Kate Morton's sweeping new novel about family, love, and secrets. On Christmas Day, 1959, a bizarre tragedy strikes the Turner family of South Australia. In 2018, Jess Turner, a London-based journalist, is summoned back to Sydney, where her grandmother lies gravely ill. There, she stumbles across the decades-old mystery. As... Read More
This genre-bending collection of searingly intimate real-life conversations exemplifies everything that is exciting about audio as a medium. When actor Diane Ladd is diagnosed with lung scarring from pesticide exposure, she's given six months to live and told that exercise is her only chance for improvement. Ladd's daughter, actor Laura Dern, proposes daily walks, with the... Read More
Dion Graham superbly narrates this riveting audiobook, emulating the majestic cadence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, speeches. He captures the Civil Rights leader's deep, resonant tone; deliberate ministerial intonation; and, during offstage moments, his world-weariness. When portraying Coretta Scott King, Graham modulates his style, and he shifts into reportorial mode,... Read More
If you've never been to Los Angeles, then chef Roy Choi's memoir is a great substitute. It's as much about place as it is about Choi's formative years. He takes you through the streets, communities, and cuisines of this eclectic city. Choi is confident, assured, and hilarious. This is a listening experience that mixes humor, Korean history, and a love of food. Beware! Choi will... Read More
Fred Berman's narration of this audiobook has a driving force--as do its action-packed plot and its hero, seventh-grader Hercules Beal. Berman captures Hercules's mix of determination and resentment when his teacher assigns him the task of performing the 12 labors of his mythical namesake. Periodically, Berman expresses Hercules's concealed grief over his parents' recent... Read More
Jennifer Lim's immersive narration takes listeners to fifteenth-century China for a fictional account of the life of a woman doctor, Tan Yunxian. In an era when well-born women existed solely to produce heirs, Yunxian was trained by her grandparents, both doctors, to treat the illnesses of women. Her grandmother also encouraged friendship with the daughter of the local midwife,... Read More
Kevin R. Free delivers a dazzling performance of a novel that centers around contemporary artists living in Iowa City. Poets, writers, and musicians sit around at parties, in bars, and at cafés, discussing what it means to be an artist. Their social lives are deliciously messy as they fall in and out of love, seeking companionship to rid themselves of their loneliness. Free's... Read More
Jim Meskimen presents this tribute to reading, books, and librarians. Listeners meet retired librarian Bob Comet, whose seemingly uneventful life is rich with kindness, challenges, and triumphs. Meskimen's lonely, compassionate Bob, who's lived in the same place since childhood, rescues a lost woman, returns her to her care home, and surprises himself by volunteering there.... Read More
Thérèse Plummer delivers a dazzling performance, taking listeners to Boston and the world of theoretical physics at MIT. Dr. Elsie Hannaway is a miserable adjunct professor who is dreaming of tenure at a prestigious university. To make ends meet, she also poses as a fake girlfriend, which is where she meets the infamous experimentalist, Jack Smith. As she fully embodies Elsie,... Read More
Listeners will be fascinated by professor and journalist Ava Chin's extensive examination of her Chinese American family's history. Chin inserts herself into the narrative, detailing her visits to archives throughout the U.S. and her ancestral home in China. In an impassioned and insistent tone, Chin investigates the prejudices and marginalization her relatives endured once... Read More
Narrators Edoardo Ballerini and Maria Liatis couldn't be better in Isabel Allende's intricate, heartrending novel. From 1938 Europe to 2019 America, numerous upended lives are woven into a fascinating tapestry. Samuel Adler must leave Nazi Germany via the Kindertransport; Leticia Cordero narrowly escapes the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador; because of the Trump government's... Read More
Imogen Church performs this suspenseful mystery with conviction. Jack and her husband, Gabe, work in the security field; she checks for penetration, and he hacks computer systems. After a long night working on a test gone awry, Jack returns home to find Gabe dead. Church delivers a compelling narrative of anguish, confusion, and mental fatigue with a strained, shaky voice and... Read More
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