YA Book Reviews by Amy
Most Entertaining Audio Books Part II
Hello again my audiobook listeners or maybe you are new to the world of listening to books and want to give them a try! This is part II of my recommended audiobook list.
These audiobook suggestions are books that I originally listened to and enjoyed the content of the story: the plot, the characters, and the writing, but the audiobook did not detract from my reading experience (sometimes it can unfortunately), but added to the experience. Sometimes the voice actor was a perfect fit to the main character represented, or the reader expressed so much emotion to the beautifully written words that spoke the themes and ideas better than my own head would have. Other times the audiobook made me want to continue reading at a faster pace than I normally wouldn’t have read. Usually not wanting to halt listening until I got to a “good stopping point” in the story, which was hard to find many of the times.
Give these audiobooks a listen if the descriptions sound like a good fit for you!
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Liz dreams of going to college, but when her scholarship does not go through, she must find a way to get the money or she might have to defer for a year. Liz realizes that her school offers a scholarship prize to the prom king and queen. The coveted crown is sought by many students, and Liz must get out of her small—protective shell and make new friends to even have a possibility to win. When a new girl moves into town, Liz finds a new competitor, a new friend, and possibly a new romance.
This audiobook was very enjoyable and was a quick listen. The narrator, Alaska Jackson, sounded youthful and was a perfect voice for Liz. Liz is a character that I found was not only super likable, but I was rooting for her. Leah Johnson has a fantastic sense of humor and made some great pop culture references that made me smile. I think that this is a great contemporary title by this debut author.
Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
Pen struggles to be the girl she wants to be. In the past, she only hung out with several of her closest guy friends, particularly the handsome Colby who uses Pen to get with different girls. Pen is tired of the box her family places her in: a disrespectful daughter mocking them; the box her friends have put her in: a girl that can only connect with the guys that she might as well be one; and society’s box: Pen is a lesbian, but that does not mean she displays all the stereotypes that are assumed by most. Johnny, Pen’s brother, seems to be the only supportive person until Pen meets Blake, a girl Pen would like to know better. Pen decides that she must “man up” and be strong if she wants to be the person she has always wanted to be.
A powerful book that was supported by an equally powerful audiobook. It was a read that I wanted to continue and could not stop listening to. Pen is a fantastic main character that is learning about herself and who she wants to be despite what others may think. There are some tough topics tackled in this book.
Available on Hoopla
The Beholder by Anna Bright
After Selah, the only daughter of the leader of the Potomac, is rejected publicly by her suitor, her stepmother devises a plan to get rid of Selah and her influence. Selah must travel to various countries to receive and accept a marriage proposal by the end of her tour; if Selah is unable to do so then she has failed in the eyes of her people. Selah travels with the crew of The Beholder to Europe to meet the eligible bachelors while there is great political unrest. Can she trust her heart to make the right decision that will let her return home to her ailing father? Will she find true love or play into the hands of her manipulative stepmother?
I really enjoyed this book and its sequel: The Boundless. Inspired by folk and fairy tales and mythology (Cinderella, Baba Yaga, Arthurian Legend, and more). The audiobook was just as nice listening to it as it would have been to read it!
Available on Hoopla
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
Hannah is a modern-day witch in Salem Massachusetts and she pretends to be a normal high school student that totally does not have elemental (fire, water, earth, air) magic. At an end-of-school bonfire, Hannah is convinced that someone, a blood witch, is trying to expose or even harm her coven. When the coven leader chooses not to believe Hannah, it’s up to her to figure things out. Another witch, and inconveniently Hannah’s ex-girlfriend, Veronica, seems to be mixed up in this problem, and even more, there is a new girl in town that is as suspicious as she is pretty.
This was truly a fun read. I enjoyed the fact that Hannah had a good relationship with her parents and was able to go to them with her problems and her friendships were strong too. The audiobook was entertaining and I found reasons to listen to it beyond any driving!
Available on Overdrive
Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao
Lan believes her destiny is with Tam, a wealthy boy that her family approves of, and the boy who has serenaded her every night with his music and poetry. Bao, a healer’s apprentice and orphan, only wants to find a family of his own. Bao has been in love with Lan for years and has been secretly the one playing the flute, wrote beautiful poetry about her, and kept the discarded heirlooms that Lan gifted to Tam. After Lan finds out the truth, she accidentally sends Bao spiraling to find a new life without her; thinking it would be easier to forget Lan, he seeks out the river witch. Instead of helping Bao, the witch curses him. Now he is set out on a quest to save his home from an impending war with a Lan by his side.
This audiobook was perfect for me; the narrator was fantastic. The story flowed so well together and was paced perfectly. I wanted to continue long after my commute to listen to this almost folk/fairy tale. While there are some hidden gems (this story takes place in the same world of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, a Snow White inspired tale, you do not have the read it to enjoy this one).
Available on Overdrive
I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
Coming out to their parents as non–binary, Ben De Backer thought it would not go well, but they did not know they would be kicked out of their house. Ben finds help in the only place left, with their older sister, Hannah and her husband. Hannah takes Ben in and helps them adjust to a new home and a new school. Ben struggles with anxiety and decides to not come out during the last half of their senior year. Ben meets Nathan, a funny and kind classmate that makes it his mission to help Ben out. Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, and Ben wonders if it can turn into something more.
This was a fantastic audiobook; the voice actor, MW Cartozian Wilson, sounded just like I imagined Ben to sound. It was read with great emotion that matches Mason Deaver’s words. A great read!
Starflight by Melissa Landers
Solara has little choices for her future after receiving felony tattoos that are highlighted across her knuckles. She runs into rich and temperamental Doran; Solara and Doran end up on a rogue ship the Banshee and must conceal their identities after Doran is framed for a conspiracy he was not involved in. These two must work together if they are to solve the mystery surrounding them and evade arrest. This book has a fantastic group of side characters with complex backgrounds. It was a really fun read with a solid romance.
This audiobook is hard to turn off! This story is entertaining and fast-paced. I think this was a really fun standalone book, but if you enjoy this title then there is a companion book: Starfall.
Available on Hoopla
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Told through two stories: West McCray, a true crime podcast host, is reporting the story about Sadie a missing teen and her younger sister Mattie who was found murdered. Sadie is looking for vengeance; she knows who killed her sister even though she doesn’t have any physical evidence that the police will consider. Sadie goes on a solo quest looking for revenge, changing people’s lives in the process. Is Sadie right about who murdered her sister? Will she find justice for Mattie, or is there something more sinister going on? Why can’t anyone find Sadie? Can West give Sadie a voice?
Definitely check out this audiobook! The cast of readers that make the podcast element come to life and it feels as though you are listening to a podcast. Be aware that this story does contain some trigger warnings. Please look further into this book before reading if you have any concerns.