June is audiobook month and Pride month, to celebrate here are five of our favorite YA audiobooks featuring gay, lesbian or bisexual protagonists. If you have audiobook recs with trans or asexual protagonist please leave below!…
8 hours 12 mins | Hachette Audio | Contemporary YA | 08/08/2017
I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of “tough stuff stories about marginalized identities, so I’d been circling this book for a long time; assuming a book about a bisexual black Jewish teenager and her bipolar stepbrother would be a “the struggle” book. However, from the very first few lines of Alisha Wainwright’s narration, I was pulled into the vibrant world of 16-year-old Suzette as she returns to her artsy and eclectic West Coast community of friends and family after a year in boarding school. Colbert does an amazing job building Suzette’s world and I know it’s corny but Los Angeles is almost a character in this book.
But seriously, Imma need one of those LA street tacos.
Alisha Wainwright is a new narrator on the scene and her voice has this cool West coast vibe that brings Suzette’s first-person POV to life. Props to all the work Bahni Turpin and Robin Miles have been doing, but I ’m excited we are getting some newer and younger narrators for black characters to spice things up. Wainwright is probably best known by some YA fans as Maia in the Freeform show Shadowhunters. It’s so crazy to me that she fell into acting only a few years ago because she is so good in this, every line is filled with intention. Give her all the books. All of ’em.
The only thing I didn’t love about this book was the love triangle that shows up. It felt a little sloppy and out of left field but I do like how it all ended up.
Little & Lion is a quiet story brimming with compelling characters and a captivating audiobook narrator.
I don’t know if Colbert is taking requests but there is a character in here named Emil Choi and I need him to get his own book.
15 hours 35 mins | Harper Audio | Adult Fiction | 02/06/2018
Spanning the late 70s to early 90s, The House of Impossible Beauties is a fictionalization of the real-life figures at the center of House of Xtravaganza–a Puerto Rican drag queen family.
If you’re wondering if this is the documentary Paris is Burning in book form, let me tell you–yes, yes, that is literally what this is. In interviews, the 28-year-old author Joseph Cassara has said he was inspired to write this book after watching the documentary. I really don’t know how to review a book like this, so I’m just going to do a feels dump and start with what I liked.
I came across this book because I was looking for something narrated by Christian Barillas after Jess gave him a glowing review last year.In this 15 hour behemoth of an audiobook Barillas gives a wonderfully emotional and varied performance. New York City is diverse and he was doing everything from old-school Italian accents to the “Nuyorican” accents to several dead on “white guy” voices.
This Aussie YA follows three boys at a Sydney private school who have nothing in common except their dead best friend, Issac Roberston.
The boys in this book are labeled as the swimmer, the rebel and the nerd and they each share their unique perspective on the aftermath of Issac’s death. Of the three boys, Harley, the “rebel”, feels partially responsible for the death (and who is just asking to be compared to Holden Caulfield) and Miles, the loner “nerd”, have the most compelling stories because of how Issac’s death changes the way they navigate the world.
10 hours 47 minutes | Harper Audio | Historical/Fantasy | 06/27/2017
In The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue an all around scoundrel is about to embark on a dangerous high stakes road trip to self discovery. It’s hard out there for a YA historical to top the YA bestseller list (I mean except for Ruta Sepetys and just reading the synopsis of her books makes me sad) and I think what helps this book stand out is it’s outstanding originality,
The book is primarily told in a semi-anarchistic self deprecating tone that emanates from our narrator, Henry “Monty” Montague. Monty is about to embark on his Grand Tour, where he plans to spend the year drinking and partying, all while trying to keep the fact that he is madly in love with his best friend a secret.
Release Date: 09/05/17 | Contemporary-ish ? | 8 hours 29 minutes
They Both Die At The End is the Final Destination meets The Sun is Also A Star you didn’t know you needed.
It’s a little after midnight in New York City when 17-year-old foster kid Rufus Emeterio and 18-year-old Mateo Torrez get the phone alert from Death Cast, a mysterious service that somehow knows that within 24 hours you will meet an untimely death. When they both find themselves unable to be with their loved ones on their End Days they connect on the The Last Friend app. With less than 24 hours left to live these two unlikely strangers are going to have to try the best last day and they’re doing it together.
I’m a little conflicted over this book. Silvera is an great storyteller; his characters are interesting and he creates this great alternate universe that is only a few ticks off from our own world but you never feel confused or like you are getting an info dump. He just eases you into his imagination perfectly. But there were times when the story felt slow and stagnant and the over earnestness levels were at an all time high. Like at one point these New Yorkers bury a dead bird on the street and later they sing American Pie at karaoke, which if you aren’t familiar is a song with the chorus “Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die.”