The Best New Engaging Audiobooks for Teen Readers

The Best New Audiobooks for Teen Readers
AudioFile for The Children’s Book Review

Our selections for this month’s listening feature thrilling and engaging audiobooks for teens. Fans of Daniel José Older’s fantasy stories are in for a treat as he launches a new series, while YA romance lovers will find some excellent titles to explore below.

For teens looking for even more excellent listening, have them explore AudioFile’s SYNC program! We’re featuring free audiobooks for teens all summer long, including mysteries, fantasies, classics, and more.

The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School: Audiobook Cover

Story by Sonora Reyes

Read by Karla Serrata

Ages 14+ | Harper Audio | 9.5 hrs.] | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Karla Serrata is delightful as she adds humor and expressiveness to the turmoil of this coming-of-age story. Serrata’s youthful voice pairs perfectly with the range of emotions the characters experience. Yamilet’s Catholic high school is hard, and her life has been extra hard. She hesitates to come out as queer, but when Yamilet meets Bo, who is openly queer, she may gain the confidence and support she needs. Serrata smoothly switches between English and Spanish when needed. She is the perfect voice for a Latinx teenager who will steal listeners’ hearts. Review »

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Story by Ashley Woodfolk

Read by Amani Minter

Ages 14+ | Harper Audio | 3.75 hrs.] | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Amani Minter’s quiet and heartfelt narration grounds the listener in this story of an all-consuming friendship and a fierce first love between two unnamed Black teenage girls. The story is told primarily from one girl’s point of view. Minter’s pleasantly husky voice recounts a tense and emotional day when the pair set fires that change the course of their lives, and their perceptions of themselves. The narrative jumps back in time recounting the relationship they built over hundreds of days before the fire. Minter’s intentional narration adds a layer of intimacy to this lyrical novel in verse. Review »

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BALLAD and DAGGER Audiobook Cover

Story by Daniel José Older

Read by Lee Osorio

Ages 12+ | Disney Hyperion | 11.5 hrs.

Listeners are introduced to the island of San Madrigal by 16-year-old Mateo Matisse. He is a descendant of its inhabitants, a tight-knit diaspora of pirates, Cuban Santeros, and Sephardic Jews who escaped and settled in Brooklyn when the island sank into the sea. Narrator Lee Osorio’s confident Spanish accent and skilled narration allow listeners to get to know the insecure hero who becomes involved with adventure and politics. On the night of the community’s annual fete, Mateo not only witnesses a murder but also learns he holds the key to recovering his homeland. Osorio’s narration highlights the musicality of Older’s prose. Review »

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She Gets the Girl: Audiobook Cover

Story by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

Read by Natalie Naudus and Valentina Ortiz

Ages 12+ | Simon & Schuster Audio | 8.25 hrs.

Narrators Natalie Naudus and Valentina Ortiz deliver a view of two witty young women who are finding their bearings during their first year of college. In alternating chapters, Ortiz voices Alex, who worries about leaving her alcoholic mother and girlfriend. Naudus captures shy Molly’s anxiety and ambivalence toward her overbearing Korean mother. What’s clear to both young women is their distaste for each other. Though the heroines are unaware of their mutual attraction, both narrators make it apparent to listeners, along with their comfort with queerness and their slow path to their developing selves. Review »

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An Arrow to the Moon: Audiobook Cover

Story by Emily X.R. Pan

Read by Natalie Naudus, Shawn K. Jain, and David Shih

Ages 12+ | Hachette Audio | 8.5 hrs.

Two star-crossed lovers erase their parents’ bitter rivalry in Pan’s audiobook performed by Natalie Naudus, Shawn K. Jain, and David Shih. The story seamlessly weaves together multiple points of view in a contemporary fantasy steeped in Chinese culture and mythology. Luna Chang and Hunter Yee each possess a magical ability and a damning family secret. In resolving the Yees’ secret, Luna and Hunter alter their destinies and the histories of both families. This magical moonlit journey will linger long after it is finished. Review »

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This list, The Best New Audiobooks for Teen Readers, was curated by AudioFile. AudioFile is an independent source of audiobook reviews and recommendations with a clear focus on the performance and listening experience. AudioFile Earphones Awards are given to exceptional audiobooks. To learn more, visit, Twitter @AudioFileMag, Facebook @audiofile-magazine

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July 12, 2022 at 12:34PM AudioFile