Abby West, Audible Editor

AUDIBLE EDITOR

Abby West

Abby is a true pop culture junkie, whose decades as a journalist have given her a love of stories that explore and celebrate underrepresented communities and memoirs that go way beyond surface deep (TBH: notables who can do their words justice are the holy grail), with a healthy dose of out-there fantasy and sci-fi. And the fact that her listening library grows daily simply fills her with delight.
INTERVIEW

Ta-Nehisi Coates

The award-winning writer talks with us about his debut novel’s nuanced intimate view of slavery and how he got Joe Morton to bring this gem to life.
Ta-Nehisi Coatess
INTERVIEW

Steve Burns

Steve Burns (Steve from Blue’s Clues!) talks about performing and co-creating a magical world and the guitar-shredding Princess Rainbow.
Steve Burns
INTERVIEW

Chisa Hutchinson

The first playwright from Audible’s Emerging Playwrights Fund to hit the stage, and discusses how fun it was to work in a new format.
Chisa Hutchinson
INTERVIEW

Candice Carty-Williams

The debut author of 'Queenie' shares how in trying to write something that she’d want to read, she found a story that would touch so many more.
Candice Carty-Williams
INTERVIEW

Rainn Wilson

Who could narrate the classic children’s book, ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ better than the very funny and former star of ‘The Office’, Rainn Wilson?
Rainn Wilson
INTERVIEW

Damon Young

Listen to cultural critic Damon Young, author of 'What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker,' use his life to dig into the aspects of being black in America.
Damon Young
INTERVIEW

Claire Adam

Debut author Claire Adam talks about the power of books, and how her debut novel, 'Golden Child, resonates with people from all walks of life.
Claire Adam
INTERVIEW

Marlon James

The critically acclaimed author talks about the first book in his epic new trilogy and his tradition of nuanced, intricate works that are perfect for audio.
Marlon James
INTERVIEW

Angie Thomas

Listen in on the interview with Angie Thomas, 1 New York Times best-selling author of On the Come Up and The Hate U Give.
Angie Thomas
INTERVIEW

Michael Ausiello

Check out my interview with my friend and TV columnist Michael Ausiello about recording his heartbreaking memoir.
Michael Ausiello
INTERVIEW

Diversity of Storytelling in Kid Lit

Get to know Roshani Chokshi, author of ‘Aru Shah and the End of Time,’ the first book on Rick Riordan's new imprint.
Diversity of Storytelling in Kid Lit
INTERVIEW

Tomi Adeyemi

The author of 'Children of Blood and Bone,' the hottest YA debut of the season, talked to us about what it's like to be part of a cultural movement.
Tomi Adeyemi

Getting to know the author of She Would be King, Watéyu Moore

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Abby's Recent Reviews

    • A Novel
    • By: Somaiya Daud
    • Narrated by: Rasha Zamamiri
    • Series: Mirage, Book 1
    • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
    • Release date: 08-28-18
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 96 ratings
    • A beautiful but frightening future world
    • Debut author Somaiya Daud has done that most wonderful of things in YA sci-fi: she's created a compelling, complicated heroine as well as a compelling, complicated villain and a love story to root for. Young Amani’s life is forever changed when she is kidnapped and forced to be the stand-in for the vicious lookalike princess of the people who conquered and now occupy Amani's home world. Narrator Rasha Zamamiri’s performance drives home themes of colonialism and captures the heightened anxieties felt by all in this near future world.
    • Notes of an Undocumented Citizen
    • By: Jose Antonio Vargas
    • Narrated by: Jose Antonio Vargas
    • Length: 5 hrs and 45 mins
    • Release date: 09-18-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 414 ratings
    • Defining home
    • There are books that are so perfectly right for the zeitgeist that it’s scary and amazing at the same time, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’s memoir of his life as an undocumented person is such a book. The audiobook takes it to another level as his voice brings home the reality of his life since coming from the Philippines at the age of 11, what it means to be living in limbo in this day and age (deportation is a real threat to him since he publicly outed himself in an essay to cease hiding in plain sight), and why we all must grapple with the future of immigration policies—all while displaying a killer knack for imagery, such as when he compared his native Tagalog accent to "the sound of tropical rain pouring down on cement." It’s a reminder of the real life hearts and minds we stand to lose beyond the illegal alien headlines.
    • A Novel
    • By: Lou Berney
    • Narrated by: Johnathan McClain
    • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
    • Release date: 10-09-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 438 ratings
    • Thrilling history
    • I was wary of having the JFK assassination as the backdrop to Lou Berney’s November Road — such an iconic moment in history, often used to varying effect. But this thriller about two very different people on the run from two very different lives has Berney’s great pacing, and Johnathan McClain’s narration elevating the story, as it expands on the prevailing conspiracy theory that a New Orleans mobster orchestrated the hit. Boiling down a national tragedy to its ripple effect on mob lieutenant Frank Guidry, housewife Charlotte Dooley, and hitman Barone creates a tension that builds, while layering on each player’s motivation and growth, and making the climactic end that much more satisfying
    • A Novel
    • By: Oyinkan Braithwaite
    • Narrated by: Adepero Oduye
    • Length: 4 hrs and 15 mins
    • Release date: 11-20-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,067 ratings
    • Double trouble
    • A twisted sister dynamic has rarely been so enjoyable to explore as the one that Oyinkan Braithwaite has created in her edgy debut novel. Just as the younger Ayoola has embraced her role as the pretty, spoiled one in the Nigerian family, Korede has taken her role as the forgettable, responsible one to a new level as she expertly covers up her sister’s nasty little habit of killing her suitors. The real question becomes how far she will go when the next one in her sister’s path of destruction is a man Korede dreams of for herself. Listening to Adepero Oduye narrate this surprisingly funny yet suspenseful treat gives you a real sense of the internal turmoil Korede endures as she struggles with her family's problematic dynamics and her stunted sense of self.
    • A Novel
    • By: Claire Adam
    • Narrated by: Obi Abili
    • Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
    • Release date: 01-29-19
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 156 ratings
    • His brother’s keeper
    • It is unbelievably satisfying how well Claire Adam’s Golden Child nails so many things about life in Trinidad, my homeland. From the opening chapter, peppered with the language and landscape of this beautiful yet complicated Caribbean island nation, to the nods to class and socioeconomic strife that run throughout, Golden Child is a loving, yet clear-eyed look at Adam’s and my shared birthplace. But what really makes this debut novel a stunner is the heartbreaking look at twin brothers Peter and Paul—one bright and destined for great things, the other painfully slower by comparison—and their family’s fears and hopes in the face of one agonizing decision. It’s a story that you often wish would go another way but nevertheless are compelled to finish, drawn deeper by both Obi Abili’s enrapturing narration as it bounces between clear British and Trini Creole, and Adam’s riveting and unsettling prose.
    • By: Jenn Lyons
    • Narrated by: Feodor Chin, Vikas Adam, Soneela Nankani
    • Series: A Chorus of Dragons, Book 1
    • Length: 27 hrs and 22 mins
    • Release date: 02-05-19
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 932 ratings
    • Bloodlines and battlefields
    • There's nothing like getting sucked into a truly epic fantasy story and that's exactly what Ruin of Kings delivers from the moment you start getting to know the cheeky young Kihrin, following his journey from orphaned street rat to long-lost heir to a royal house to on-the-run savior (or destroyer) of the world. Narrators Feodor Chin, Vikas Adam, and Soneela Nankani seamlessly pull you into a world full of wizards, dragons, demons, and witches, all made believably real thanks, in part, to the all-too-human motivations of the characters. It all comes together to make this series starter come alive in the most delicious ways.
    • By: Candice Carty-Williams
    • Narrated by: Shvorne Marks
    • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
    • Release date: 03-19-19
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,054 ratings
    • Modern-day adulting
    • Candice Carty-Williams’s Queenie is the epitome of that refreshing new voice reviewers love to rave about. And rave I will. Her title character, a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman in London at the tail end of a longterm relationship, is a bit of a hot mess—but a hot mess in which we can all recognize parts of ourselves. Her motley crew of girlfriends, whom she calls the Corgis, all shore her up in different ways as she navigates the landmines of her life, from racial/cultural expectations to the emotional trauma of her youth. Actress Shvorne Marks brings Queenie’s world to life with an accessible range of British accents, while highlighting the soul searching for peace that belies the breeziness with which Queenie tries to meet the world, and eventually finds that her path forward isn’t based on anyone but herself.
    • Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé
    • By: Michael Arceneaux
    • Narrated by: Michael Arceneaux
    • Length: 6 hrs and 9 mins
    • Release date: 07-24-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 438 ratings
    • I’ve been following Arceneaux on social media for a while now, cracking up at his witty nicknames and verbal backflips, and find it immensely gratifying to see him flesh out his funny and uniquely descriptive voice in his memoir, I Can’t Date Jesus. He shares what it was like to grow up black and gay as a Catholic whose first reference point for being gay was the death of an uncle from AIDS. It took a long dark road for him to embrace his life and sexuality, but Arceneaux manages to keep it real and heavy (with Houston references, including lots of love for his hometown’s Queen Bey), but not so emotionally heavy that you can’t thoroughly enjoy the ride.
    • By: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
    • Narrated by: Joy Osmanski, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
    • Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
    • Release date: 06-05-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 106 ratings
    • I abso-freaking-lutely love it
    • Sex and the City fans know the importance of the line referenced above, the same way I knew that this book would be diligently reported and thoughtfully written because I worked with the fantastic Jennifer Keishin Armstrong at Entertainment Weekly for years. What I didn’t know was how much she’d reignite my affection for the groundbreaking show—the women, the themes, the fashion, the city we all love. Or how Joy Osmanski’s narration would strike the right tone and give voice to each player in this delightful behind-the-scenes look at the beautiful mix of hard work, talent, and luck that made the show a hit.
    • The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"
    • By: Zora Neale Hurston
    • Narrated by: Robin Miles
    • Length: 3 hrs and 50 mins
    • Release date: 05-08-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,070 ratings
    • An unexpected voice from the past
    • I was so excited to learn of this never-before-published work from Zora Neale Hurston, the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God—one of my all-time favorite books—which comes more than 50 years after her death. Underscoring the importance of this literary event, Barracoon is the story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade, in his own words and own vernacular. From his capture in a raid in Africa to his time as a slave and then as a free man, Hurston’s interviews with Cudjo Lewis in the early 1900s give a unique look at an American history we thought we knew so well.
    • A Novel
    • By: Meg Wolitzer
    • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
    • Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
    • Release date: 04-03-18
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 1,456 ratings
    • Growing pains
    • On the surface, The Female Persuasion could not have been better timed to hit the zeitgeist: it takes on the role of feminism in the age of #MeToo, but it also expertly grapples with things that are timeless, such as the complicated nature of coming of age and finding one’s voice, maintaining friendships and loves, and determining when/if to take your idols off their pedestals.

      Young Greer Kadetsky is mired in resentment and seething anger stemming from a forced detour on her college plans, as well as a disturbing sexual assault on campus—though her feelings are masked by her quiet and unassuming nature. She begins to get comfortable with her own sense of ambition thanks to the words and attention of dynamic activist/speaker Faith Frank, who provides her a mission and a path. Besides Fran, Greer must also size up where her longtime love Cory and her best friend Zee fit within the life she envisions.

      Narrator Rebecca Lowman is able to find the emotional connections in the book through the layered dialogue, and then bring those connections out in the characters’ literal voices—a skill that pays off in spades as we go on this journey with Greer and all those in her orbit.
    • By: Tomi Adeyemi
    • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
    • Series: Legacy of Orïsha, Book 1
    • Length: 17 hrs and 44 mins
    • Release date: 03-06-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 11,224 ratings
    • Finding the fire within
    • There’s a specific delicious satisfaction to finding that a much-hyped book is everything it’s touted to be and more. After listening to all 18 hours of Tomi Adeyemi’s incredible debut sci-fi YA novel, I am beyond well satisfied. Building on a uniquely West African mythology, Adeyemi conjures up a vibrant, amazing fantasy world, in which magic once thrived, a segment of the population is grievously oppressed, and a young woman becomes the leader she was meant to be. Feisty teenager Zélie Adebola, who has seen her mother killed and her people crushed under the heel of a villainous king, knows that bringing back magic is the key to freeing them—all but she has no idea she’ll have to be the one to do it or the epic adventure that awaits. Bahni Turpin’s mastery of the accents expertly brings the wide array of characters to life, carrying you with Zélie and her crew across the physical and emotional landscapes that make this book so special.
    • A Novel
    • By: Lisa Halliday
    • Narrated by: Candace Thaxton, Arthur Morey, Fiona Hardingham, Aden Hakim
    • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
    • Release date: 02-06-18
    • Language: English
    • 3.5 out of 5 stars 681 ratings
    • What looms ahead
    • This beautifully crafted look at the simplicity and central themes of life itself focuses on two very different lives, weaving them together in a most interesting way across three distinct segments. Between young aspiring writer Mary Alice’s relationship with older famous writer Ezra Blazer, and economist Amar’s experience as an Iraqi-American man, currently stuck in a Heathrow Airport holding room, it’s full of detail and imagery that carries you along in a very vivid world and narration that is just perfect for shifting viewpoints.
    • By: Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
    • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
    • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
    • Release date: 01-09-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 28,594 ratings
    • Beyond the veil
    • The twists and turns keep coming in this complex domestic thriller that will have you questioning everything you think you know about the lives of one woman, her Master-of-the-Universe ex-husband, and her replacement (his new fiancée). Julia Whelan deftly handles the narration as it shifts between POVs, intensity, and time frames; her nuanced performance gives the action a heightened sense of pressure as it barrels toward the explosive and satisfying conclusion.
    • Chronicles of The One, Book 1
    • By: Nora Roberts
    • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
    • Series: Chronicles of The One, Book 1
    • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
    • Release date: 12-05-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 18,840 ratings
    • A fresh start creating a new beginning
    • Best-selling author Nora Roberts’s new post-apocalyptic dystopian fantasy novel is a departure from the romantic fiction for which she’s known (or the suspense of her alter ego J.D. Robb), but it showcases the masterful storytelling that fans know and love while embracing the kind of world-building called for in this genre. Julia Whelan’s nuanced narration captures Roberts’s wide swath of characters and their authentic relationships. When the earth succumbs to a new plague, otherworldly powers manifest and human traits come in both life-affirming and monstrous ways in the first of a promising series.
    • A Novel
    • By: Krysten Ritter
    • Narrated by: Karissa Vacker
    • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
    • Release date: 11-07-17
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 912 ratings
    • Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again?
    • The author is currently well known for the super-strong badass hero she plays in Netflix’s Marvel universe, but the character she’s written here has a strength and spunk that makes her a superhero of another kind. Lawyer Abby Williams’s return to the small town in which she grew up will require her to take on not only the area’s biggest employer in an environmental crimes investigation, but also the traumas of her youth and the personal fallout she’s dealt with for years. The story, full of mind games and suspense, moves along thanks to rich character development as you meet the characters in this sad and suspect town, Karissa Vacker’s effectively moving narration, and the tension that builds to one satisfying resolution.
    • By: Adam Silvera
    • Narrated by: Michael Crouch, Robbie Daymond, Bahni Turpin
    • Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
    • Release date: 09-05-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,502 ratings
    • Living Life to its Fullest
    • Even though the entire premise of Silvera’s new YA novel is about impending death, this poignant tale of two teen boys knowingly going about their last day alive is all about the promise of life. As the socially-stunted yet giant-hearted Mateo meets and gets to know rough-around-the-edges yet thoughtful Rufus, they explore what it means to be alive and who constitutes family. Michael Crouch, Robbie Daymond, and Bahni Turpin embody these and more characters in nuanced ways that tease out the many emotions of preparing for death (from regret to acceptance and growth) and embracing the most important thing about life: love.
    • Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True
    • By: Gabrielle Union
    • Narrated by: Gabrielle Union
    • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
    • Release date: 10-17-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 16,728 ratings
    • Savor the Taste
    • In a series of revealing and often funny essays, TV and movie actress Gabrielle Union shares personal stories from her childhood, adolescence, and career, that touch on some weighty themes. Union ties universal issues such as self esteem, colorism, racial disparity in Hollywood, and more with the personal in a way that can be both entertaining and empowering. And hearing her throaty, inviting voice, full of self awareness and good humor, narrating this book will only serve to endear her more to existing fans while gaining her new ones.
    • A Memoir
    • By: Sherman Alexie
    • Narrated by: Sherman Alexie
    • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
    • Release date: 06-13-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,571 ratings
    • An Unvarnished Truth Bomb
    • I’ve called Sherman Alexie’s You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me “an unvarnished truth bomb” and while true, that authenticity is only as powerful as it is because of the heart and humor of this story. This trifecta of wonderful storytelling that Alexie created brings an intimacy that forever binds you to him and his family, particularly his mother, as he delves into her power, her life, and her relationship with him. His description of his life both on the reservation and after he left is wholly unique and fascinating, and still serves as a reminder of the universal truth that the ties that bind us all are made up of the people we call family, either by blood or by choice. And that sometimes the messiness of that family story can obscure just how strong the love is.