Playlisted The Best YA Audiobooks for Listeners of All Ages Don't be fooled by the name! Listeners love these outstanding YA audiobooks for their unique, original storylines, colorful characters, and engrossing prose, no matter their age. By Staff May 3, 2021 Young adult audiobooks offer some of the most affecting, original stories that, despite the genre’s name, make an excellent choice for all listeners. Unforgettably poignant coming-of-age stories, hopeful tales of youth resistance, and brave teens reckoning with questions that stump even the wisest adults are at the heart of this varied and exceptional genre. Our list includes selections ranging from historical fiction to sci-fi, romance to historical sci-fi with a romantic twist, and features diverse characters and ensembles that will make it impossible to press pause. Here are the best YA audiobooks in our catalog. The Hunger Games: Special Edition stop The Hunger Games: Special Edition By Suzanne Collins Narrated by Tatiana Maslany 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. The Hunger Games introduced the world to Katniss Everdeen, a teenager who volunteers to take the place of her younger sister in the annual Hunger Games, a competition wherein teens—one from each of the 12 districts of Panem, a nation born from the ruins of North American cities—fight to the death. Her story, which is told over the course of a trilogy (plus a prequel), is widely (and in our opinion, rightfully) considered a YA masterpiece. You might find it impossible to believe that narrating this edition of The Hunger Games is Emmy Award winner Tatiana Maslany’s audiobook debut. She comes across like a veteran narrator, perfectly capturing characters known and loved by millions of fans across the globe, driving the action-packed, moving story to new heights with her emotive and layered performance. Eleanor & Park stop Eleanor & Park By Rainbow Rowell Narrated by Rebecca Lowman, Sunil Malhotra 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. In 1986, an unlikely pair of high school students named Eleanor and Park grow close and soon fall in love over the course of one year. Eleanor is an outcast—poor, unfocused, with an unmistakable mop of curly red hair—and Park is the opposite: popular, secure, and sure of himself. They both know how first loves usually end, and with additional complications from Eleanor’s family, it looks like a tougher road ahead than usual. This Audie Award finalist is tender, heartbreaking, and hilarious in ways that only teenaged love can be. It’s told in alternating narrative perspectives, with Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra bringing a reflective, almost dreamy quality to their performances that suits the lyrical, expressive tone of the story. The Poet X stop The Poet X By Elizabeth Acevedo Narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Xiomara Batista will not be silenced, even if her mother, who wants her to be a good, demure, church-going girl, and the world (both her boisterous Harlem neighborhood and society at large) are trying to drown her out. In The Poet X, listeners encounter Xiomara’s private journal of poems, where she can record how she really feels about everything from her daily life as a young Afro-Latina woman in the world to a boy who’s caught her eye in class. This is a powerful author-narrated story about expression and voice, created in verse and narrated by award-winning slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo. The rhythmic, relentlessly energetic story unfolds in a hypnotic three-hour experience that is truly unique. (Fair warning: pausing is pretty much impossible.) The Hate U Give stop The Hate U Give By Angie Thomas Narrated by Bahni Turpin 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. This is a can’t-miss selection. A #1 New York Times best seller called essential by Audible Editors, The Hate U Give is a stunning debut from author Angie Thomas. It’s a topical, important story about a 16-year-old girl, Starr Carter, who witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend Khalil, innocent and unarmed, when they’re stopped by a police officer one night. Hall of Fame narrator Bahni Turpin gives voice to an extensive cast of characters in Starr’s community with distinctiveness, but it is her narration of Starr as she is transformed by grief and disillusionment that is most heart-wrenching. As the media vilifies Khalil and the police cover up the real story, tensions rise, and Starr feels immense pressure as the only person who knows the truth. To All the Boys I've Loved Before stop To All the Boys I've Loved Before By Jenny Han Narrated by Ali Ahn 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Lara Jean writes letters when she falls in love—but she doesn’t ever intend to send them to the objects of her affection. Unfortunately for her, the letters are mailed one day without her knowledge, and now every boy knows. Created by best-selling author Jenny Han and with expert narration by Ali Ahn, whose bright voice captures the youthful, idealistic Lara Jean perfectly, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a bit like listening to a great romantic comedy. It’s fun, laugh-out-loud funny, and has a particularly great set of supporting characters in Lara Jean’s sisters and father. To put it simply, this listen is undeniably charming, and only the start of Lara Jean's romantic adventures. Dear Martin stop Dear Martin By Nic Stone Narrated by Dion Graham 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Audie Award winner Dion Graham has performed audiobooks of seemingly every genre, and in title after title, he demonstrates an ability to strike the perfect tone for a given story. In Dear Martin, he’s done it again as he nails his performance of young, Black Justyce McAllister’s struggle with identity, success, and a system that’s been stacked against him. Justyce, who’s at the top of his class and headed for an Ivy League college, is driving around with his friend Manny when they draw the attention of a white, off-duty cop—an encounter that quickly escalates. This listen moves at an unrelenting pace from there as Justyce reckons with race relations, unfounded accusations, and what actions he should or should not take as he writes letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for advice. What If It's Us stop What If It's Us By Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera Narrated by Noah Galvin, Froy Gutierrez 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Becky Albertalli, best-selling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Adam Silvera, best-selling author of They Both Die at the End, teamed up to create What If It’s Us, a story about missed connections, new opportunities, and whether or not love really can be fated. Dually narrated by Noah Galvin and Froy Gutierrez, What If It’s Us introduces Arthur, hopeless romantic in New York for the summer, and Ben, wearied by his recent breakup, in the cutest of meet-cutes at the post office. As they attempt to make it through just one first date on the same page, their attitudes put them at odds even as the universe shoves them together. It’s a precious, frustrating, completely engaging story as listeners wait for the two boys to get out of their own ways when it comes to love. Skyward stop Skyward By Brandon Sanderson Narrated by Suzy Jackson 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Author Brandon Sanderson is an adept world-builder. He has multiple best-selling series to his credit, in which he creates completely engrossing, totally believable worlds, gaining him an incredibly loyal fanbase. In Skyward, Sanderson turns his expertise to YA audiobooks, crafting yet another fully fleshed-out world geared toward a younger audience without pandering or losing any of the luster of his more mature works. We love the story of young heroine Spensa Nightshade, who attempts to become a pilot and redeem her father’s reputation (in space!). Every kernel of exposition fits seamlessly into the expert narration by Audie winner Suzy Jackson, so each of the tale's advanced sci-fi elements are revealed bit by tantalizing bit. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue stop The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue By Mackenzi Lee Narrated by Christian Coulson 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. As Henry Montague (Monty) and his best friend, Percy, embark on their grand tour of Europe together, only a few details stand in the way of Monty's having an excellent time. First, he’s bisexual in the not-very-tolerant 18th century. Second, his father is in danger of ending all of Monty’s fun by enforcing his role as the heir to the family’s estate. And third, he has a giant, secret crush on Percy. Audie Award nominee Christian Coulson strikes the perfect tone for each wholly unique character in The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. From troubled, kind Percy, affected by chronic illness, to Monty’s sharp, searingly intelligent sister Felicity, to the especially insolent Monty, Coulson perfectly matches the gleeful, hilarious, and heartfelt tones of the story beat for beat. Cinder stop Cinder By Marissa Meyer Narrated by Rebecca Soler 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. In Cinder, narrator Rebecca Soler uses her impeccable diction and vocal control to breathe life into an entire cast of fairytale-inspired characters. In this retelling of Cinderella, listeners meet Cinder, a cyborg and gifted mechanic in the care of her step-family in futuristic Beijing after an accident killed her father. Entirely without companionship but for one friend (and no fairy godmother), Cinder struggles with discrimination for being a cyborg as she dwells on the hopelessness of her captive life. This sci-fi retelling of a classic story has just enough familiar elements to connect it to the original tale, but not so many that the story feels in any way stale or repurposed. Instead, author Marissa Meyer unveils an expansive universe and thrilling twists that propel listeners through Cinder—and, luckily for fans of the series, the multitude of sequels that follow. Children of Blood and Bone stop Children of Blood and Bone By Tomi Adeyemi Narrated by Bahni Turpin 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Bahni Turpin’s essentially flawless narration skills are on display yet again in this listen that was honored with the coveted Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year in 2019. Tomi Adeyemi’s critically-adored Children of Blood and Bone is an epic story of magic, revenge, and survival inspired by the mythology of West Africa. Protagonist Zélie Adebola must brave the wilds of her homeland Orïsha (an enchanted land filled with spirits and creatures), outrun a prince, and work with an enemy in order to bring magic back to the world and avenge the death of her mother and countless slain magic-users like her. The environment is endlessly captivating, the magical battle sequences are riveting, and the plot moves at an exhilarating speed as Zélie chases her destiny. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe stop Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe By Benjamin Alire Saenz Narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. For two high school boys with seemingly disparate lives, angry, closed-off Aristotle and outspoken, open-minded Dante end up having quite a bit in common. In the inexplicable way some people are drawn together, these two meet once at a swimming pool and immediately begin an intense friendship that grows gradually into much more. This winding, beautifully crafted tale of growing up and growing in love is narrated by actor, artist, and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton and Gmorning, Gnight! audio fame. His iconic voice is a perfect fit for Aristotle—from whose point of view the story is told—as he portrays both his angry and contemplative moods, a gentle performance that reveals the soft heart beneath Ari’s hard exterior in a beautiful, gradual way. We love this pick for the way Alire Saenz’s words and Miranda’s delivery work cooperatively to express the intense feelings Ari and Dante have about themselves, their families, and each other. When Dimple Met Rishi stop When Dimple Met Rishi By Sandhya Menon Narrated by Sneha Mathan, Vikas Adam 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. When Dimple Met Rishi is a refreshing, funny take on the traditional subject of arranged marriage. Dimple, voiced in all her sarcastic, brazen awesomeness by Sneha Mathan, and Rishi, whose romanticism is highlighted by Hall of Fame narrator Vikas Adam’s soft tones, are destined for marriage...and attending the same summer program for aspiring web developers. The trouble is that everyone knows they’re destined for marriage—except for Dimple, who believes her mother has finally accepted that she’s not looking to find a husband before she goes off to college. As Dimple and Rishi fall in love despite Dimple’s reticence, they develop a sweet rapport that makes them both better and more open-hearted by the end of the story. What follows their initial contact is a charming YA romance...and the start of a captivating series. An Ember in the Ashes stop An Ember in the Ashes By Sabaa Tahir Narrated by Fiona Hardingham, Steve West 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. When Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, she is forced to abandon her life as a scholar and go undercover as a slave at the military academy, where the soldiers of the Martial Empire are trained. At the same time, a soldier named Elias is ordered to participate in the military academy’s bloody contest to determine the next emperor right before he carries out his secret plan to desert. The two meet, and listeners are treated to an intoxicating Romeo and Juliet-esque love story that could change the fate of the vast, Roman-inspired empire. Alternatingly narrated by Fiona Hardingham, who has a pleasant English accent and carries Laia’s emotional moments with a remarkably affecting vocal tremble, and Steve West, who has a deeply soothing, melodic voice, this Audible Editor’s Pick is a captivating exploration of both a new, nuanced universe and a forbidden but inevitable love. The Raven Boys stop The Raven Boys By Maggie Stiefvater Narrated by Will Patton 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. This first book of The Raven Cycle introduces the town and residents of Henrietta, Virginia, where magic permeates the everyday, especially for Blue Sargent and her family of psychics, and for four curious students (the titular Raven Boys) at Aglionby Academy. Audie Award winner Will Patton’s performance on this audiobook makes the story feel even more mysterious and ghostly, infusing every sentence with wonder and anticipation. Blue’s fate intertwines with that of the four Raven Boys as their leader, Richard Gansey, searches for a long-lost Welsh King. Their journey takes them to places within Henrietta and within themselves they never thought to look, and Patton’s narration is so superb that listeners may feel the urge to replay this listen as soon as it’s finished. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter stop I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter By Erika L. Sánchez Narrated by Kyla Garcia 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Protagonist Julia may not be the perfect Mexican daughter, but her sister Olga was. Or at least, so everyone thought. When Olga dies in a tragic accident, Julia’s family is completely shattered. But even as Julia finds out that Olga may not have been all she seemed, she still struggles to live up to her idealized (and now untarnishable) image. Told in the first person by skilled narrator Kyla Garcia, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter examines what it means to grow up as a young Mexican-American girl, and what it means to find one’s identity. The story is at times serious, sad, inspiring, and absolutely hilarious as Garcia embodies each tone shift with a sharpness that matches the bold main character’s personality. The Selection stop The Selection By Kiera Cass Narrated by Amy Rubinate 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. America Singer finds herself in a Bachelorette-like competition to be Crown Prince Maxon’s bride, swept from her poor life in one of the lowest castes of society into a realm of jewels, gowns, and fantasy. To enter the competition, she must leave behind her secret relationship with her friend, Aspen—who’s a member of an even lower caste—which she does, reluctantly, as she becomes more and more enamored with the idea of palace life. At only eight hours long, this title is a delicious listen you can devour easily over the course of a few days—but there are plenty of equally lush sequels in this universe to keep listeners entertained. Scythe stop Scythe By Neal Shusterman Narrated by Greg Tremblay 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. In a world where all natural causes of death—hunger, disease, war, crime—have been eliminated, Scythes are trained in the art of taking a life to control the population size and maintain peace. This selection centers around teens Citra and Rowan, who are surprised and immensely unhappy when they’re chosen to apprentice a Scythe. As Citra and Rowan’s eyes are opened to the price of the peace they’ve enjoyed for their whole lives, the veneer of perfection begins to crack. Greg Tremblay’s performance of this unsettling world is pitch-perfectly chilling as listeners are simultaneously treated to a carefully curated new universe from Neal Shusterman...and prompted to consider philosophical questions about the cost of peace. Illuminae stop Illuminae By Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff Narrated by Olivia Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, Johnathan McClain 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. A cast of narrators, including Olivia Taylor Dudley of SyFy’s The Magicians and the versatile bit actors Lincoln Hoppe and Jonathan McClain, brings this remarkable adventure (told in conversation transcripts, emails, and top secret documents) to life. In the year 2575, two corporations are at war, and exes Kady and Ezra find themselves smack in the middle of the firefight on an evacuation fleet...and, almost worse, stuck with each other. Add to this a plague, an AI program that might be trying to kill them, and a web of lies and secrets that requires Kady to hack into government files, and you have the recipe for a bona fide sci-fi thriller with a romance at its heart. The entire listening experience is amplified by the unique way in which the story is told: listeners never know what will be revealed next, in what form, or by whom. Code Name Verity stop Code Name Verity By Elizabeth Wein Narrated by Morven Christie, Lucy Gaskell 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Code Name Verity is a World War II era story about two women—one a pilot from England and the other an aristocrat from Scotland—who form a close bond when they work together during the war. The audiobook begins when one of the women is captured by the Gestapo and forced to recount everything she knows of the British war effort—her confession is our listening experience, and it’s a haunting, beautiful, and heartbreaking account. Performing this remarkable story of survival and friendship are two narrators at the top of their craft: the skilled Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell. The subjects and themes of Code Name Verity are as intense as the emotions that accompany them, and both actresses perform brilliantly, inducing laughter and tears alike. 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