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Best Audiobooks of 2012


Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, a list of top teen audios from the American Library Association’s YALSA division, will be finalized during the upcoming Midwinter conference. I’ve copied the (huge!) list of nominations below, plus you’ll want to check out the past lists on the Amazing Audiobooks website: And here are more  than a dozen links to other Best of 2012 Audiobook lists:

I am honored to serve on this year’s committee, where we’ve listened to a terrific bunch of  fiction & nonfiction titles for listeners ages 12-18. You are welcome to sit in on our discussions this weekend, but be advised that the times are subject to change, if we decide on our final list and Top Ten selections early. Plus, the list of titles discussed may vary from the list of nominations (as of Dec 4)  below. Here’s where and when we are meeting:  All meetings take place in the St James room of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel

* Friday: 8:30-5:30pm (with a break for lunch)
* Saturday: 1-5:30pm
* Sunday: 8:30-5:30pm (with a break for lunch)

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, Nomination List as of Dec 4, 2012:

Above World by Jenn Reese. Read by Kate Rudd. Brilliance, 2012. 7 hours, 50 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4558-5192-8. Aluna and Hoku are Kampaii (mermaid people) who find out their people are going to eventually die.  They come to the above world to find out more and save their families lives.

The Accused (Theodore Boone series) by John Grisham. Read by Richard Thomas. Penguin, 2012. 5 hours, 30 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-6117-6064-4.
Future lawyer (and current 8th grader) Theodore Boone is set up as the prime suspect in a computer robbery, and efforts to find the real thief diminish the ongoing problem of Philip Duffey and his disappearance at the beginning of his second murder trial and Miss Petunia’s problem with her spitting llama.

Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. Read by Emily Janice Card. Books on Tape, 2012. 9 hours, 4 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-3079-7071-8. The earth starts slowing down in its rotation.  Julia and her family deal with all the environmental consequences of this “slowing.”  While the known world of animals, plants, magnetism, and weather shift, Julia grows up with personal shifts like her father’s affair, her first boyfriend, her mother’s sickness, her best friend’s meanness, and her grandfather’s disappearance.

Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones (Alcatraz series) by Brian Sanderson. Read by Ramon De Ocampo. Recorded Books, 2012. 7 hours; 6 discs. 978-1-4618-0833-6. Every Smedry has a talent. Alcatraz Smedry’s talent is for breaking things–which isn’t always a bad thing. Alcatraz must find his father and grandfather in the library of Alexandria while battling the soul-sucking curators guarding the Library.

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher. Read by Kirby Heyborne. Listening Library, 2011. 10 hours, 40 minutes; 9 discs. 978-0-307-94229-6. With his mother working long hours and in pain from a romantic break-up, eighteen-year-old Logan feels alone and unloved until a zany new student arrives at his small-town Missouri high school, keeping a big secret.

Angelfall by Susan Ee. Read by Caitlin Davies. Brilliance, 2012. 8 hours, 50 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4692-2237-0. Penryn Young, her younger sister Paige (who uses a wheelchair), and their schizophrenic mother find themselves pulled into a conflict between angels on the gang-controlled streets of Silicon Valley. They survive, but Penryn’s sister is kidnapped in the process.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber. Read by Steven Boyer. Recorded Books, 2011. 5 hours; 5 discs. 978-1-4498-6133-9. Ferris Bueller meets Kill Bill:  On prom night, Perry discovers that Gobi, the dishwater dull Lithuanian exchange student his family has been hosting, is actually a beautiful and deadly assassin on a personal mission to kill the people responsible for her beloved sister’s abduction and death.

Behind the Masks (Dear America Series) by Susan Patron. Read by Cassandra Campbell. Scholastic, 2012. 5 books, 49 minutes; 5 discs. 978-0-5453-9170-2. The town of Bodie, California is being held hostage by the vigilante group 601. Angeline’s lawyer father is murdered but she and her mother refuse to believe that news, Angeline begins her writing career with a local group called The Horribles, and historical mores of the day have an impact on a young Chinese girl and a former prostitute.

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando. Read by Ali Ahn. Recorded Books, 2012. 6 hours, 45 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4640-4920-0. In a single afternoon and night, Mary and friends, collectively the “Also-Rans,” participate in an unsanctioned but beloved Senior Week tradition, the scavenger hunt. As they solve clues and pick up weird and wacky items, Mary considers her high school years, her future, and her relationships.

Blizzard of Glass by Sally M. Walker. Read by Paul Michael. Listening Library, 2012. 2 hours, 51 minutes; 3 discs. 978-0-4490-1466-0. In December 1917, a ship carrying munitions for World War I exploded in Halifax Harbor with a destructive force not rivaled until the creation of the atomic bomb. Walker tells the story of the lives of several local families on that fateful morning.

The Blood (Morpheus Road series) by D.J. MacHale. Read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance, 2012. 10 hours, 43 minutes; 9 discs. 978-1-4233-9787-8. Damon has been trying to break down the barrier between the worlds of the living and the dead, and now the final showdown between him and Marshall and Cooper has arrived.

The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau. Read by Simon Vance. Tantor, 2012. 6 hours; 5 discs. 978-1-4526-0597-5. Jonas comes to America from a war-torn country at age 15. He tries to adapt to his surroundings, but incidents that happened in the days before he left his country have changed him. His story is forever intwined with a young American soldier, whose story is told as well.

Brendan Buckley’s Sixth-Grade Experiment by Sundee T. Frazier. Read by Mirron Willis. Listening Library, 2012. 6 hours, 47 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-3079-4281-4. Brendan Buckley has the sixth-grade blues. He loves science and has lots of questions about life, but he has problems … such as girls. Will Brendan survive the sixth grade?

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison. Read by Therese Plummer. Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 25 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4558-9402-4. Lo’s OCD collecting leads her to pick up a butterfly figurine she knows is from the home of a murdered stripper.

Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid series) by Jeff Kinney. Read by Ramon de Ocampo. Recorded Books, 2011. 2 hours, 15 minutes; 2 discs. 978-1-4640-2145-9. After sort-of-but-not-really vandalizing school property, a blizzard hits, trapping Greg inside with his family in the fifth installation of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (Enola Holmes series) by Nancy Springer. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Recorded Books, 2011. 3 hours, 15 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4498-4475-2. Enola Holmes finds herself tangled up in yet another mystery but this time it’s personal!  Not only has someone tossed about her personal belongings and those of her landlady, Mrs. Tupper but they’ve kidnapped the poor old dear as well!

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg. Read by Suzy Jackson. Recorded Books, 2012. 9 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4640-3351-3. Brie died of a broken heart … literally. Now in “heaven,” she is about to learn what love and friendship are really about.

Clara’s War by Kathy Kacer. Read by Eileen Stevens. Brilliance, 2012. 4 hours, 42 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-4558-4917-8.
Thirteen-year-old Clara and her family are moved to Terezin, a ghetto for Jews in Poland during World War II. She is separated from her parents and brother, and she spends close to two years in horrible conditions that are relieved by performing in an opera.

Code Name Verity by Edlizabeth Wein. Read by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell. Bolinda, 2012. 10 hours; 9 discs. 978-1-7428-5764-0. The intertwined lives of two young British women are transformed by World War Two.

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex. Read by Oliver Whyman. Listening Library, 2012. 9 hours, 31 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-4490-1046-4. Scott, a new student who seems to have acquired a leprechaun named Mick, is befriended by twins Erno and Emily, as all three discover the Goodco Cereal Company is perhaps not as “good” as it claims to be.

Come August, Come Freedom by Gigi Amateau. Read by J.D. Jackson. Brilliance, 2012. 5 hours, 4 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4692-0628-8. Historical fiction based on the a true story of a young man born into slavery and his desire to be free.

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix. Read by Michael Goldstrom. Listening Library, 2012. 9 hours, 44 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-7393-6828-2. Semi-clueless young Prince Khemri must learn the workings of an intergalactic empire than includes countless other princes, all connected to the Imperial Mind. His chief of Assassins, Hadadd, serves as his guide and protector as the two set out on a secret mission.

Crusher by Niall Leonard. Read by Daniel Weyman. Listening Library, 2012. 978-0-3853-6841-4. Finn Maguire returns home after a shift at his dead-end job to find his father bludgeoned to death and the book he was working on stolen.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick. Read by Luke Daniels. Brilliance, 2011. 5 hours, 8 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-6110-6147-5. After an injury destroys Pete’s future as a high school baseball star, he immerses himself in photography.  But Pete’s grandfather, his role model in the art, is showing signs of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Dancing Carl by Gary Paulsen. Read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance, 2012. 2 hours, 21 minutes; 2 discs. 978-1-4692-4070-1. Winter in McKinley, MN revolves around the rinks, playing hockey, skating, but the year Marsh and Willy turn twelve Dancing Carl appears and makes this winter stand out from all the rest.

Dear Teen Me, edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally. Read by Julia Whelan and MacLeod Andrews. Brilliance, 2012. 6 hours, 31 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4692-5301-5. Several YA authors write letters to their teen selves and give them advice on the important things in life.

The Death Cure (Maze Runner series) by James Dashner. Read by Mark Deakins. Listening Library, 2011. 8 hours, 55 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-307-70697-3. In the third and final installment of The Maze Runner Trilogy, Thomas and his fellow survivors must complete one more challenge to let WICKED find a cure for “The Flare”.

The Diviners by Libba Bray. Read by January LaVoy. Listening Library, 2012. 18 hours, 15 minutes; 15 discs. 978-0-4498-0875-7. Evie comes to live with her uncle in New York City.  Evie learns she has a special power, while there is a killer loose in the city.  She helps her uncle track the killer down, while learning more about her power and dealing with supernatural beings.  All the while trying to have a great time in the exciting city of New York.

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi. Read by Joshua Swanson. Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 48 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4558-5810-1. Mahlia and Mouse are bound to each other in the dark, rebel-run world they live in. When Mouse is forced to join one of the rebel groups, Mahlia and her newfound companion Tool risk their lives to get him back.

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick. Read by Kathleen McInerney. Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 52 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4692-0761-2. Jenna has been surrounded by abusive behavior all her life and now she has found someone who truly cares about her, but will that be enough to stop cutting?

Empire of Night by Justin Somper. Read by Daniel Philpott. Recorded Books, 2012. 12 hours, 15 minutes; 10 discs. 978-1-4618-3394-9. Twins Connor and Grace Tempest discover they are “dhampires,” half vampire and half human, and must decide where their loyalty falls.

Enchanted by Althea Kontis. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Brilliance, 2012. 7 hours, 49 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4692-0292-1.
Sunday Woodcutter, seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, meets an enchanted, talking frog in the forest. As she tells him stories, he shares his name of Grumble and tells of the life he remembers before he was changed to a frog.

Every Day by David Levithan. Read by Alex McKenna. Listening Library, 2012. 8 hours, 26 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-4490-1522-3. A wakes up every morning in a different body and life.  A gets used to this, but one day A meets a girl and falls in love.  Can A find a way to stay in one place, one life so they can live and love forever?

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King. Read by Kirby Heyborne. Listening Library, 2012. 7 hours, 44 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-4490-1473-8. Lucky Linderman has been bullied by Nader McMillian for ten years, but his self-absorbed parents have turned a blind eye. Lucky escapes the torture of his high school peers by retreating into daydreams where he learns combat techniques from his grandfather, a a Vietnam War P.O.W.

Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger. Read by Jonathan Todd Ross. Recorded Books, 2012. 3 hours, 25 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4640-4609-4. Lenny loans Casper money for a fake mustache, but little do they know it will lead to plans for political domination.

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Read by Charlie McWade. Scholastic, 2011. 8 hours, 14 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-5453-9166-5. Orphaned street thief Sage is purchased, along with other orphaned boys, by nobleman Conner to be trained and schooled as the lost Prince Jaron.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Read by Kate Rudd. Brilliance, 2011. 7 hours, 19 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4558-6987-9.
Hazel is ill and meets a boy in a cancer support group and while looking at death, they learn about life and love.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak. Read by Stig Wemyss. Brilliance, 2011. 3 hours, 56 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-4558-4348-0. With their father unemployed and their family losing cohesion, brothers Cameron and Ruben Wolfe get involved in an underground boxing circuit to raise money–and find out what it means to be a Fighting Wolfe.

The Fire Chronicle (Book of Beginnings series) by John Stephens. Read by Jim Dale. Listening Library, 2012. 12 hours, 22 minutes; 10 discs. 978-0-3078-7982-0. Kate is separated from Michael and Emma by a hundred years and they must find the second Book of Beginnings before Kate is lost to them forever.

Flock (Stork series) by Wendy Delsol. Read by Julia Whelan. Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 45 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4692-0631-8. Katla is a Stork who delivers to souls to newborns, but she is also a senior in high school whose senior year is severly complicated by the arrival of two Norse mythology characters. They want to collect Katla’s new baby sister, and she wants to prevent that — even though that was part of the bargain that saved Katla’s boyfriend, Jack Frost.

The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston. Read by Jessica Almasy. Brilliance, 2011. 5 hours, 36 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-1639-2. Loa struggles to cope with the nightmares and hallucinations of her PTSD, brought on by the deaths of her baby sister and, more recently, her childhood friend.

The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman. Read by Robin Miles. Listening Library, 2012. 8 hours, 19 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-4990-1463-9. In 1960, during a visit to her family’s home on the site of a Louisiana sugar plantation, 13-year-old Sophie is magically transported back in time to slavery days. Tanned and dirty, she is mistaken for a very light-skinned slave and discovers what life was like in the big house, the slave cabins, and the fields, before playing a crucial role in the escape of teenaged Antigua.

Friend is Not a Verb by Daniel Ehrenhaft. Read by Fred Berman, Emily Bauer, Elisabeth Rodgers, and Joe Barrett. Brilliance, 2011. 6 hours, 5 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-5817-0. Henry (Hen) has to deal with his sister’s disappearance, re-appearance, and second disappearance while he learns how to play bass in a band called Dawson’s Freak (a 90s nostalgia band), learns how to fall in love, and learns who he really is.

Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak. Read by Stig Wemyss. Brilliance, 2011. 4 hours, 41 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-4558-4343-5. The mutual attraction between Cameron and his brother’s ex-girlfriend causes a rift between them, until a near-tragedy reaffirms the strength of the Wolfe family bonds.  Meanwhile, Cam is discovering his talents as a writer.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. Read by Jennifer Ikeda. Recorded Books, 2012. 12 hours, 15 minutes; 10 discs. 978-1-4640-4936-1. Princess Elisa, the younger daughter of the King of Orovalle, has been given the Godstone, signifying special powers. Unfortunately, she doesn’t feel special, eats to compensate, and has been given in marriage to King Alejandro to ally his country with her father’s.

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina. Read by Cristina Panfilio. Brilliance, 2012. 5 hours, 2 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-5196-6. Everyone in Tres Montes has always looked to Sonia for their protection and blessings, but it took her leaving her home to find her true strength.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. Read by Ben MacLaine, Hamish R. Johnson, and Chelsea Bruland. Listening Library, 2012. 6 hours, 5 minutes; 5 discs. 978-0-3079-6819-7. On the night of her graduation, Lucy is on a mission to find Shadow, the graffiti artist whose work she loves.  However as the night ensues, she may find that Shadow is closer than she thinks.

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin series) by Robin LaFevers. Read by Erin moon. Recorded Books, 2012. 14 hours, 15 minutes; 12 discs. 978-1-4640-2383-5. The first of the His Fair Assassin series, Grave Mercy follows novitiate Ismae as she serves Mortain, the God of Death, while becoming embroiled in the political machinations of royal court life in medieval Brittany – not to mention falling in love with the dashing Gavriel Duval. Hidden by Sophie Jordan.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr. Read by Ariadne Meyers and Cassandra Morris. Listening Library, 2012. 9 hours, 54 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-3079-6872-2. Jill’s life has already been turned upside down by her father’s death, but now her mother is complicating things further by adopting a baby from Mandy, a teen girl she’s never met before. Mandy’s mother never wanted her, so she’s determined to make a better life for her baby. Both girls must learn to trust each other.

How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor. Read by Suzy Jackson. Recorded Books, 2012. 4 hours; 4 discs. 978-1-4640-2369-9. Georgina plots to get her family out of despair and homelessness. She steals a dog to try to earn reward money, but instead makes new friends and learns lessons.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Read by Charlie Thurston. AudioGO, 2012. 9 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-6111-3187-1. When murders begin to happen in his small-town, 17-year-old Jazz finds that suspicion falls upon him — not surprising, as he is the son of the notorious mass-murderer Billy Dent, who carefully trained Jazz to follow in his footsteps until Jazz’s “Dear Old Dad” was put behind bars. Can Jazz’s knowledge of the inner workings of a madman’s mind help catch the killer?

Inheritance (Inheritance series) by Christopher Paolini. Read by Gerard Doyle. Listening Library, 2011. 31 hours, 5 minutes; 24 discs. 978-0-7393-7250-0. In this concluding volume, the epic battle to dethrone Galbatorix will take place. Former farm boy Eragon and his blue dragon Saphira have practiced sword fighting and magic and readied themselves for these final battles, but are unsure of their success. Various friends and relatives aid them on their quest as Eragon allies with the dwarves, elves, werecats, and urgals of Alaagesia.

The Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist series) by Rick Yancey. Read by Steven Boyer. Recorded Books, 2011. 14 hours, 30 minutes; 12 discs. 978-1-4407-3657-5. In this third tale of monstrumologist Pellinor Warthrop and his young apprentice Will Henry, the two travel to Africa in search of a creature that crafts intricate nests of human body parts, the bits and pieces bound by a toxic goo capable of turning anyone unlucky enough to touch it into a murderous monster.

Kill You Last by Todd Strasser. Read by Emily Bauer. Brilliance, 2011. 5 hours, 35 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-2551-6.
Shelby’s family is under police investigation and with the help of two friends, she figures out who is really to blame and whom she can ultimately trust.

The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl series) by Eoin Colfer. Read by Nathaniel Parker. Listening Library, 2012. 7 hours, 40 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-3079-9121-8. Opal Koboi is reanimating fairy warriors on the Fowl Estate, and if Artemis can’t stop her, Armageddon will surely follow.

Liberator (Worldshaker series) by Richard Harland. Read by Adrian Mulraney. Bolinda, 2012. 11 hours, 33 minutes; 10 discs. 978-1-7431-8115-7. After the takeover and the renaming of the Worldshaker by the Filthies, the remaining upper-class passengers (Swanks) work hard to keep the peace and help out, but a saboteur aboard tries to break up the peace.

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown. Read by MacLeod Andrews. Listening Library, 2012. 8 hours, 24 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-4490-1032-7. A murderous family of mermaids wants to pay a old family debt of revenge. The only brother of the siblings unfortunately falls in love with a human and is forced to choose between love and family.

Light From a Distant Star by Mary McGarry Morris. Read by Amy Rubinate. Blackstone, 2011. 13 hours; 11 discs. 978-1-4551-2283-7. The discovery of the body of Dolly Bedelia, her family’s tenant in the apartment attached to their home, bothers Nellie Peck, but she’s even more disturbed by everyone’s assumption that the murderer is her grandfather’s helper, Max Devaney. For 13-year-old Nellie, the ensuring events force her on a journey to maturity.

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough. Read by Anne Flosnik. Brilliance, 2012. 10 hours, 6 minutes; 9 discs. 978-1-4558-5198-0. Cora and her sister come to live with their great aunt and they accidentally awaken an evil that has possessed the town for years.

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan. Read by Angela Dawe. Brilliance, 2011. 9 hours, 13 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4558-2051-1. Rosalinda Fitzroy has been in stasis for 62 years when she is awakened by a kiss. Everyone she knows has been long dead and though she has been “alive” only sixteen years, she will inherit her parents’ huge interplanetary empire.

The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus series) by Rick Riordan. Read by Joshua Swanson. Books on Tape, 2012. 15 hours, 9 minutes; 12 discs. 978-0-4490-1452-3.Percy, Annabeth, Piper, Jason, Leo, Frank, and Hazel must team up, despite being a mix of Greek and Roman demigods, to stop Gaea from rising and destroying everything on the planet.

The Mark of the Golden Dragon (Jacky Faber series) by LA Meyer. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Listen and Live Audio, 2011. 11 hours; 8 discs. 978-1-5931-6593-2. On her way to serve her sentence in an Australian penal colony, Jacky Faber is swept overboard during a typhoon and lives to continue her lively adventures and her desire to save her beloved Jamie.

Me the People by Kevin Bleyer. Read by Kevin Bleyer. Random House, 2012. 12 hours; 10 discs. 978-0-4490-0913-0. The author/narrator undertakes the project to rewrite the US Constitution to make it a true statement of laws from “we, the people” instead of the obvious failure it is in its present form.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Read by Jesse Bernstein. Listening Library, 2011. 9 hours, 42 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-4490-1385-4. Jacob travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales, tracking a mysterious message whispered to him by his grandfather as he breathed his last breath at the hands of the “monsters.”

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Read by Jason Isaacs. Brilliance, 2011. 4 hours, 1 minute; 4 discs plus 1 bonus disc with digital content. 978-1-4558-2249-2. Conor, coping with his mother’s progressing cancer, is visited at night by a monster who wants to tell and hear stories.

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Macmillan, 2012. 8 hours; 7 discs. 978-1-4272-2217-6. Hester is a contemporary teen whose soul links her to 300 years of cursed women. The curse began with a mermaid who gave up her fins for love of a man. Now Hester loves the same man.

Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen. Read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance, 2011. 2 hours, 41 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4558-0908-0. Finn meets new neighbor Johanna, who is being treated for breast cancer, and his life changes in one summer more than he could have ever imagined or hoped for.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin. Read by Mark Bramhall. Listening Library, 2012. 6 hours, 51 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-4490-1498-1. From birth to death, this covers the rise to hero and the fall to traitor that was the life Benedict Arnold.

October Mourning by Leslea Newman. Read by Emily Beresford, Luke Daniels, Tom Parks, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, and Christina Traister. Brilliance, 2012. 1 hour, 20 minutes; 2 discs. 978-1-4692-0636-3. A collection of poems that seeks to tell a fictionalized account of Matthew Shepard’s life and murder.

Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls series) by Ally Carter. Read by Renee Raudman. Brilliance, 2012. 7 hours, 47 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4558-7972-4. Cammie has amnesia when she wakes up in the Swiss Alps in a convent. She returns to the school run by her mother that trains girls to be international spies, but her memory does not return until events of derring-do and heart-stopping danger “unstop” her mind.

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins. Read by multiple narrators. Simon & Shuster, 2011. 8 hours; 7 discs. 978-1-4423-4493-8. This companion novel to Hopkins’s Impuse explores what lies beneath the surface of a group of affluent teens who appear to have it all, revealing hard truths about sexuality, abuse and addiction. Written in chapters that alternate between characters.

Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie. Read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 8 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4692-0637-0. Haunted by the death of his brother, TJ, Matt uncovers secrets about TJ’s life as a soldier when three foot lockers are delivered to the house.

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow. Read by Bruce Mann. Books on Tape, 2012. 978-0-3078-7959-2. Trent’s artistic passion is sampling movies downloaded from the Internet and recombining them into his own creations.  But in a slightly in the future England, such “piracy” can result in a family’s loss of the ‘net–and a prison sentence.  Running away to London, Trent finds like-minded friends and spearheads a campaign to change the law.

The Princess of Iowa by M. Molly Backes. Read by Shelby Lewis. Brilliance, 2012. 12 hours, 39 minutes; 11 discs. 978-1-4558-5201-7. Though Paige has grown up knowing she will be a princess her senior year, life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect and in Paige’s life, this could be a good thing.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Read by Will Patton. Scholastic, 2012. 11 hours, 9 minutes; 10 discs. 978-0-5454-6593-9. Blue has rules, and one of them is to stay away from Raven Boys, rich students at Aglionby, the local private school. But when she sees one of them in a ritual with her psychic mother that indicates he is either her true love or that he will die this year, she finds herself pulled into his and his friends’ quest to find a lost Welsh king.

Rebel Fire (Young Sherlock Holmes series) by Andrew Lane. Read by Daniel Weyman. Macmillan, 2012. 7 hours, 30 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4272-1360-0. 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes discovers John Wilkes Booth, deranged and injured after his assassination of Lincoln, in England. He follows him to the United States and foils the plans to rebuild the Confederacy and the plans of the U.S. Army to exterminate the neo-Confederates.

The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy  by James Cross Gilbin. Read by Elisabeth Rodgers. Brilliance, 2011. 9 hours, 50 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4558-5843-3. The story of Senator Joe McCarthy: who he was, how he achieved a position of almost unlimited power, and how the American system of government ultimately brought him down.

The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein. Read by Wanda McCaddon. Tantor, 2011. 13 hours; 10 discs. 978-1-4526-0598-2. Arrested by soldiers from the Hungarian Army, Sara [Seren] is brought to Ravensbruck concentration camp where she, her sister Esther, and two friends are subjected to the vile treatment meted out to Jewish prisoners by the German guards.

See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles. Read by Kate Rudd. Brilliance, 2012. 5 hours, 49 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-8958-7. The four siblings endure humiliation through their restaurant father’s attempts to promote the family business, including photos of them wearing “See You at Harry’s” t-shirts, to the addition of their three-year-old brother Charley’s face on the ice cream truck. Beginning middle school, 12-year-old Fern is mortified when classmates pick up the ‘see you at Harry’s’ chant; 14-year-old Holden struggles with admitting he’s gay; 18-year-old Sarah works at the family restaurant; and 3-year-old Charley keeps the family laughing … until the day he dies and each family member feels a different sort of guilt.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Read by Mandy Williams. Listening Library, 2012. 13 hours, 15 minutes; 11 discs. 978-0-3079-6894-4. Seraphina’s heritage as daughter of a human father and a dragon mother has been kept hidden, but now that she’s the assistant to the music master at court, she must be even more careful to hide the few bands of scales on her body. As dissension rises between humans and dragons, her unusual abilities draw her into the center of the conflict.

The Serpent’s Shadow (Kane Chronicles) by Rick Riordan. Read by Katherine Kellgren and Kevin R. Free. Brilliance, 2012. 11 hours, 29 minutes; 10 discs. 978-1-4558-0845-8. In this final (for now) installment of the Kane Chronicles, siblings Carter and Sadie lead the House of Life and an assortment of Egyptian gods in a final battle against the serpent Apophis and the forces of Chaos.

Shadows (Ashes trilogy) by Ilsa J. Bick. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Brilliance, 2012. 13 hours, 16 minutes; 11 discs. 978-1-4558-5849-1. The story of Alex’s struggle to survive her own demons as well as the Changed continue in this second installment of the Ashes trilogy.

Shine by Lauren Myracle. Read by Elizabeth Evans. Brilliance, 2011. 8 hours, 59 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4558-7960-1. Cat severed ties with her friends a few years ago, but when one of her former friends, Patrick, is the victim of a hate crime targeting him for being gay, Cat is determined to find out who’s responsible.

Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott. Read by Benjamin L. Darcie. Brilliance, 2012. 3 hours, 33 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4558-8638-8. Living as a foster child after his beloved mother dies, D is taken in by Mrs. Martin, a white, elderly foster mother. When she also takes in a crack baby, D spends more time away from his Brooklyn home but is luckily befriended by two other African American students at his school, Hakeem and Nyla. A bird watching trip in Prospect Park leads the three on a supernatural journey that ends at the African Burial Ground in Manhattan.

Son by Lois Lowry. Read by Bernadette Dunne. Books on Tape, 2012. 8 hours, 11 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-4490-1448-6. In this sequel to The Giver, young Claire is assigned her role as a birth mother, gives birth to “product” number 36, but then is decertified and sent to the fish hatchery. She accidentally hears of her son, number 36, and develops an unusual interest in him, which leads to her willingness to give up everything to spend time with him.

Spies of Mississippi by Rick Bowers. Read by Peter Jay Fernandez. Recorded Books, 2011. 2 hours, 45 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4498-5102-6. The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission was created in Mississippi to keep its 200 years of segregation a way of life during the tumultuous Sixties and the rise of the Civil Rights Movement.

Starters by Lissa Price. Read by Rebecca Lowman. Listening Library, 2012. 10 hours, 20 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-3079-6836-4. Callie attempts to save her ill younger brother by going to work for Prime Destinations, where her young body will be rented by an Ender for a few weeks, during which time the 150-year-old Ender can re-experience youth and agility. This new “job” exposes Callie to Prime Destinations’s real plans, which extend far beyond simple “renting” young bodies like hers. Murder, brain surgery, bombs, desperation, and love sweep Callie along.

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal. Read by Sean Runnette. Macmillan, 2012. 5 minutes, 53 seconds; downloadable. 978-1-4272-2566-5. This biography of Steve Jobs takes him from birth to his death last year.

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski. Read by Natalie Ross. Brilliance, 2011. 4 hours, 37 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-4558-3492-1. Birdi’s family, the Boyers, move to the farm next door to the Sleators where the Boyers plan to raise strawberries and ship them north on the railroad, a new concept to the Sleators who have squatted on the land for years and let their scrawny cattle run wild. Florida of the late 1930s and early 1940s is so backwoods that the people are proud of the their “cracker” culture, or lack thereof. The Boyers face outright hostility from the Sleators, a grass fire, livestock poisoning, the school teacher getting beat up, and the daily hard work of bringing strawberries or any crop to the table.

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach. Read by Fred Berman. Recorded Books, 2011. 8 hours; 7 discs. 978-1-4618-1640-9. Felton Reinstein already has a lot to deal with in his life besides unpopularity: his dad’s suicide ten years earlier, his mom’s sudden weirdness, a little brother who’s a piano prodigy, and his best friend’s news that he’ll be spending the entire summer in Venezuela. As if that isn’t enough, the summer he turns sixteen, Felton hits puberty and it hits back, hard, with height and hair and muscle and blazing speed–and suddenly, Felton Reinstein, nerd extraordinaire, turns into a top football prospect.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. Read by Jessica Roland. Brilliance, 2011. 7 hours, 12 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4558-5855-2. A white bear offers a woodcutter money for his daughter’s company. She ends up learning about patience, compassion, and friendship and falling in love.

Superman Versus the Ku Klux Klan by Rick Bowers. Read by Johnny Heller. Recorded Books, 2012. 3 hours, 30 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4640-4022-1. This nonfiction work recounts the creation of the Superman character by two Jewish boys and how the character developed through comics, newspapers, and radio shows. Then the account changes to the rise and fall and rise again of the Ku Klux Klan until the Superman franchise hits on the scheme of pitting Superman against the Klan in 16 episodes of the radio show.

Take My Advice (Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker series) by Robin Palmer. Read by Shana Dowdswell. Brilliance, 2012. 5 hours, 14 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-5879-8.
Lucy B. Parker takes the job of writing the advice column at school, and she proves to be a success at it, while she can’t take her own advice. Her problems run the usual teen girl gamut,  from asking a boy to a dance to getting her first period to living with her blended families.

Tempest by Julie Cross. Read by Matthew Brown. Macmillan, 2012. 11 hours; 9 discs. 978-1-4272-1502-4. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a rich kid with a great girlfriend. His life is normal—except for the fact that he can time travel. Although it’s not normal time travel—he can go to the past, but his actions have no affect on the future. That is, until mysterious men barge into his girlfriend’s dorm and shoot her. Watching his girlfriend gasp for breath, Jackson unwillingly time travels two years into the past, to 2007, but this time, he’s actually there and he can’t return to his present.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. Read by Michal Friedman. Penguin, 2012. 8 hours; 7 discs. 978-1-6117-6136-8.
A murder brings police to the little town of Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, and into the lives of Mo Lobeau, her colorful foster parents Lana and The Colonel, and their friends and neighbors.   Is The Colonel, who has suffered from amnesia for twelve years, somehow involved in a crime?  And will Mo ever find the Upstream Mother who abandoned her as a baby at the height of a hurricane?

Tiltawhirl John by Gary Paulsen. Read by Todd Haberkorn. Brilliance, 2012. 3 hours; 3 discs. 978-1-4692-4129-6. A young runaway spends time in a labor camp picking beets until he and the owner tangle, causing the teen to flee until he’s picked up by a carny ride operator named Tiltawhirl John, who learns that sometimes a runaway needs to return home.

Titanic: Voices From the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson. Read by Mark Bramhall and Peter Altschuler with additional voices. Listening Library, 2012. 4 hours, 55 minutes; 978-0-4490-1505-6. This nonfiction account of the sinking of Titanic is woven of the testimony of survivors and witnesses, including a nine-year-old, a stewardess, a high school senior, a seaman, a mother, and many others.

True Legend by Mike Lupica. Read by Prentice Onayemi. Pengin, 2012. 7 hours; 6 discs. 978-1-6117-6100-9. Drew Robinson is such a great basketball player that, even as only a high school junior, he has people looking out for him, from a good friend who drives him everywhere to an older man who’s smoothing his way to the pros, including finding a job for Drew’s mother. But a washed-out former playground legend helps Drew get a grip on his life.

The Underdog by Markus Zusak. Read by Stig Wemyss. Brilliance, 2011. 3 hours, 16 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4558-4353-4.
The youngest siblings in the Wolfe family, Ruben and Cameron, establish themselves as inseparable partners in (fairly minor) crime as they scout out possible girlfriends and nearly give the neighbor’s Pomeranian a heart attack.

Vanish (Firelight series) by Sophie Jordan. Read by Therese Plummer. Brilliance, 2011. 7 hours, 44 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4558-6172-9. Jacinda, her twin, Tamra, and their mother must flee back to their “pride” when Jacinda shows her true self to the boy, Will, she loves, who is a member of a family who hunts her people. The draki then decide that Jacinda must marry the pride’s heir apparent, Cassian, who Tamra wants.

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals. Read by Lisa Renee Pitts. Tantor, 2011. 13 hours; 10 discs. 978-1-4526-0494-7. The memoir of Melba Pattillo Beals tells of 1957 when nine African American students became the first to integrate Central HS in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they were met with harassment, name calling, and physical attacks on a daily basis, yet were told not to resist or retaliate to avoid further dissension.

The Watch that Ends the Night by Allan Wolf. Read by Michael Page, Phil Gigante, Christopher Lane, Laural Merlington, and Angela Dawe. Brilliance, 2011. 10 hours, 16 minutes; 9 discs. 978-1-4558-2937-8. Many different characters based on some true stories, from a range of passenger classes, as well as SOS telegraphs and other items, tell the story of the sinking of the Titanic.

What Dies in Summer by Tom Wright. Read by Chris Patton. Blackstone, 2012. 7 hours, 30 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4551-5893-5.
Jim (Biscuit) spends his summer in Dallas, Texas, with his cousin Lee Ann (L.A.). They find the body of a brutally murdered girl in the weeds, and they learn unbearable family secrets. Biscuit falls in love, while L.A. tries to overcome demons, real and psychological.

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle. Read by Sarah Grace. Brilliance, 2012. 7 hours, 53 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4558-1896-9. With a nod and a wink to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Searl’s story of Rosaline and her next door neighbor Rob touches on the high points of that tragedy. Rose has one memorable date with Rob when, after years of childhood friendship, he finally shows a real interest in her. But that next night her cousin Juliet, who’s just returned to town, manages to captivate Rob at the Fall Back Dance, and Rose sees her love become infatuated with the wrong person as Rob and Juliet being their tragic journey.

Witches! by Rosalyn Schanzer. Read by Jessica Almasy. Recorded Books, 2012. 2 hours, 25 minutes; 2 discs. 978-1-4640-4314-7. In this multiple award-winning account of the “disaster” in Salem, Massachusetts, in the 1600s, events and consequences are explained in a clear, nuanced account.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Read by Dianna Steele, Nick Podehl, and Kate Rudd. Brilliance, 2011. 8 hours, 12 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4558-4420-3. A fifth grade boy who has a facial anomaly has to navigate school for the first time. It’s a difficult journey to make friends, deal with bullies, and learn just how much he is needed in the world.

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy. Read by Ariana Delawari. Scholastic, 2011. 978-0-5454-7282-1. Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed.

A World Away by Nancy Grossman. Read by Jessica Lawshe. Listening Library, 2012. 10 hours, 42 minutes; 9 discs. 978-0-4490-1044-0. Eliza Miller has lived the “plain” life of the Amish for 16 years. Now she wants to experience life outside her community and live like the “English,” going to movies, talking on the phone, and riding in fast cars. Once she is there, will she ever be able to go back?

Worldshaker (Worldshaker series) by Richard Harland. Read by Adrian Mulraney. Bolinda, 2012. 10 hours, 2 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-7431-8091-4. Just as 16-year-old Col is being named the heir to the title Supreme Commander of the juggernaut Worldshaker, he discovers that all he knew about the “Filthies” on the bottom deck is a lie. Turning his back on his upperclass upbringing, he helps the Filthies stage a revolution.



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

4 Comments on "Best Audiobooks of 2012"

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  1.' Shannon Chamberlain says:

    hey there, how can I get on that committee? I really love audiobooks and YA lit. I am a member of YALSA already. I am almost done with my MLS degree and, hopefully, by the fall I will have a job in a public library. I work in an academic library now, though. I definately want to be a part of these types of commitee’s in my future.

  2. Mary Burkey says:

    Hi Shannon! Getting involved with YALSA is one of the best things I’ve ever done, both professionally and personally. Here’s more info from the YALSA website – just jump in!!

  3. Thanks for the young adult recommendations – I’ve been looking for some to check out!


  4.' Mike Olson says:

    Thanks for inspiration! There is always problems in founding something interesting for young listeners. I will definitely check some of them out, especially Strawberry Girl and The Seamstress. Never was really interested in audiobook, but trying to find something for me to listen to, I came across this list. Thanks once more!

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