Have you ever heard (or spoken) this statement – "It's too long. I can't read that book. It's too hard for me." My response: "Do you have ears that work?" Ok, maybe that is a snarky response, but let me tell you why it is a good one. If you know (or are) a teen that is required to read a book for school, and they really don't like to read, I have a solution. Read with your ears. Audiobooks are so amazing! You can listen to a book that might be too long, or have hard words in it. And just like with print books, the right audiobook can really get you hooked. How do you know which ones are good? I can help.
If you love stories of adventure, especially ones that involve pirates and strong female characters, you can't go wrong with the Jacky Faber books narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Jacky is funny, smart, daring, and oh so bold, especially when Ms. Kellgren reads her story with a wide range of very sassy accents.
The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian written and read by Sherman Alexie is in my top 5 all-time favourite audiobooks. His mainly autobiographical story, read as only he could read it, will have you laughing one minute and ready to cry the next. Alexie's timing is so perfect, and his voice is true to the story of an Indian boy who throws himself into the local white high-school with very mixed results.
"We went to the moon to have fun but the moon turned out to completely suck." M.T. Anderson's futuristic novel Feed is another on my top list. In a world where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, this audiobook can make you feel like you yourself are hooked up to the Feed (especially if you listen to the whole thing on earbuds). With background sounds and music, this audio will take you right into the future.
I have to mention Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, even though I've talked about it before. Narrated by the author, this book truly made me snort coffee out my nose. Libba Bray is not only an incredible writer, she nails this audio so spot-on that I could listen to it over and over. Oh, you want to know what it is about? A planeload of teenage beauty queens on their way to a pageant practise crashes on a deserted island. Miss America meets Lost – you get the idea.
Ok, one more. I loved the story of young James Bond in Charlie Higson's SilverFin. The story begins with young James on a school holiday, where he runs into an evil producer of … eels. Loads of action and unlikely situations, which of course James can somehow scrape out of, and the narrator keeps the pace.
There are more audiobooks on this booklist, and you can listen to clips and download audiobooks for free here, and just load them onto your iPod. Now you can read while working out, while doing chores, while taking walks, and while driving! And don't let anyone tell you that listening isn't reading. You can read along with a print copy of the book if you want to, but you are still experiencing the story. To me, that's what reading is all about.
WHAT IS YA? Will be a monthly feature, published on the 15th of each month, written by Angela Reynolds, our Head of Youth Services. We are giving away YA books to go along with it! Make a comment below about one of the books we talked about, and you’ll be entered into a monthly draw for a YA review copy. Must be able to pick the book up at one of our branch libraries; no books will be shipped or mailed.