It’s that time of year again. We are big audiobook fans around here and are so excited to present AudioFile’s 2021 Best Young Adult audiobooks !
AudioFile’s 2021 Young Adult Audiobooks include stunning debuts and excellent sequels to much-loved series. Each has been narrated by talented narrators who draw you into the storyline–and one lets you hear the words told in the author’s own voice. For the full list of 2021 Best Audiobooks, visit AudioFile’s website.
by Rainbow Rowell| Read by Euan Morton
AudioFile Earphones Award | Macmillan Audio | 15 hrs.
Euan Morton returns to narrate the final installment in the Simon Snow series. Morton’s exceptional talent shines as he modulates between European and American accents and seamlessly shifts tones to bring each distinct character to life. Simon, voiced listlessly, must figure out his place in the World of Mages. And Baz, speaking sardonically, just wants to hold on to his boyfriend despite family circumstances that demand his attention.
by Angie Thomas | Read by Dion Graham
AudioFile Earphones Award | Harper Audio | 8.25 hrs.
Narrator Dion Graham shines bright in this YA prequel, set 17 years before the events in THE HATE U GIVE. We hear the fast-paced, sometimes frantic, thoughts of a Black teenage boy in way over his head—dealing drugs in order to help his mother take care of his family. In those moments, Graham sounds like a poet, and the rhythm of his narration carries listeners away.
by Angeline Boulley| Read by Isabella Star LaBlanc
AudioFile Earphones Award | Macmillan Audio | 14.25 hrs.
Isabella Star LaBlanc brings an authentic-sounding narration to this powerful audiobook. Set amid state and tribal lands in Michigan, the story of Daunis, who is caught between these two cultures, is told with heartfelt compassion. LaBlanc masterfully amplifies Daunis’s apprehension when she becomes involved in helping the FBI investigate a new, deadly street drug.
by Jordan Ifueko| Read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt
AudioFile Earphones Award | Blackstone Audio | 13.25 hrs.
Joniece Abbott-Pratt makes a triumphant return to narrate this thrilling sequel to RAYBEARER. Tarisai is now empress of Aritsar, and reckoning with its disturbing legacy. She faces daunting tasks—first, to anoint a council of rulers and, then, to enter the Underworld to end the centuries-long practice of sacrificing children to appease its malevolent spirits. Tarisai’s strength and the love of her friends shine through in Abbott-Pratt’s compelling narration, which captures each character’s spirit.
by Elizabeth Lim| Read by Emily Woo Zeller
AudioFile Earphones Award | Listening Library | 12.75 hrs.
Narrator Emily Woo Zeller immerses listeners in this fairy-tale-inspired fantasy. Shiori, who is uninterested in her arranged engagement, learns to wield forbidden magic from a shape-shifting dragon. After stumbling upon her stepmother’s secret, Shiori is exiled and cursed to remain mute—every word uttered means death to one of her six brothers, who have been transformed into cranes.
by Elisabet Velasquez| Read by Elisabet Velasquez
AudioFile Earphones Award | Listening Library | 4 hrs.
Elisabet Velasquez narrates her debut novel-in-verse with vividness, honesty, and poignancy born of her life experience and performance expertise. Like her heroine, Sarai, Puerto Rican-American Velasquez grew up in Bushwick and knows what it’s like to be poor in the midst of increasing gentrification. Sensitive 14-year-old Sarai is working hard to discover her identity despite the mental illness of her single mother, an educational misunderstanding, the male toxicity of her neighborhood, housing and food insecurities, and a sexual assault.