I used to hate audiobooks. The thought of listening to someone tell a story for hours would drive me crazy. But about a year and a half ago I had to start driving a lot. My iPod broke and I hated the radio. So on a whim, I decided to listen to an audiobook expecting to hate it. Instead, I fell in love. Every now and then for a year I would occasionally listen to one. But now, I drive a lot. Most weeks I’m reading three books: an audiobook on my way to work, an ebook before bed, and a physical book to read in between classes. I haven’t listened to a ton of audiobooks, but here are a few of my favorites:
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (narrated by Anika Noni)
Okay. If you liked City of Bones then you will love this book. If you love art then you’ll love this book. If you love diversity then you’ll love this book. If you love #ownvoices then you will love this book. Basically, this book was so fun to read. It’s about crying paintings, shadows, family, friendship, spirits, art, and self-discovery.
[tw: racism, cultural appropriation, stroke, death, blackmail, mind control]
Curse Workers Trilogy by Holly Black (narrated by Jesse Eisenberg)
White Cat, Red Glove, Black Heart
After I finished listening to End of Watch, I went on a six month hiatus from listening to audiobooks. I tried a few, and was let down. Then, in January, I decided to try to listen to the book White Cat solely based on the fact that it’s narrated by a celebrity. Lame, I know. But I really, really liked it. Like with Stiefvater and Shiver, I tried Tithe by Black and hated it. SO MUCH. But White Cat was SO GOOD. It’s basically about a mob boss, blackmail, memory loss, cats, conspiracies, magic, and SO MUCH MORE. When I listened to the first book I didn’t realize it was a trilogy (tbh it could’ve been a stand alone because it was that good) but I’m glad I found the other books!
[tw: spousal abuse, suicide, some very iffy “consent”, memory loss, gangs, prejudice]
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (narrated by Christine Lakin)
After listening to and loving White Cat, I decided to try another Holly Black book. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is about vampires. Not the Twilight or The Vampire Diaries or Vampire Academy type of vampires. These vampires are The Immortal Rules type. This is my first audiobook I’ve listened to that was narrated by a girl. And I really loved Lakin’s narration style! That paired with the grittiness of Black’s writing made this audiobook un-put-down-able.
[tw: drugging without consent, self-harm, suicide, brief mention of character potentially being transphobic but is later clarified as not]
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (narrated by Lauren Fortgang)
After listening to a Holly Black audiobook I decided to try yet another Holly Black audiobook and I loved it! The Darkest Part of the Forest has a similar vibe to The Raven Boys, so if you like that series odds are you’ll like this book too. The two books are similar in writing styles, whimsical-ness, and focus on kissing. Only, in Black’s book the girl kisses “too much” and in Stiefvater’s the girl kisses “too little.”
[tw: neglect, drug use, self-harm, mentions of suicide, spousal abuse, memory loss]
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (narrated by Will Patton)
The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily Lily Blue, The Raven King
I tried to read Shiver and hated it. Truthfully, it was on a complete whim that I even tried to listen to The Raven Boys. Within the first few chapters I was entranced. Patton’s narration style mixed with Stiefvater’s whimsical-ness, was the perfect introduction to audiobooks. Yes, The Raven Boys was the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to. It wasn’t long before I quickly devoured the others in the series. The Raven Cycle is basically a series about friendship, adventure, leylines, and dead Welsh kings.
[tw: child abuse, suicide, drug use, mentions of framed child R]
The Bill Hodges Trilogy by Stephen King (narrated by Will Patton)
Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch
DISCLAIMER: This is the most problematic book on this list. I know this book is problematic. I am warning of this before I go any further. Also DO NOT READ if suicide or racism is at all triggering for you as this series heavily relies on both as plot devices.
After listening to Patton’s narration with The Raven Boys I went on a quick google search to find other book’s he’s narrated. Mr. Mercedes just so happened to be the one audiobook that was available instantly on OverDrive. Now, Mr. Mercedes is not a book I recommend to many people. It is very dark. It deals with a serial killer, racism* (including racial slurs), fatphobia, incest, suicide, and more. At times it is super uncomfortable to listen to. I had to use earbuds! But Patton was such a good narrator! Just from how he said the chapter number, I could tell whose POV he was going to narrate.
*There is always the problem of a white author writing about racism. So be forewarned that King has a racist main character whose racist POVs aren’t called out.
[tw: racism, suicide, incest, child abuse, SA, mass murder, generalized anxiety disorder, potential OCD (this is never called OCD in the books and I am not a medical professional but a MC does have some tendencies that are reflective of stereotypical OCD behavior)]
Okay, that’s basically every audiobook I’ve listened to. Ha! Now, there are many, many audiobooks I’ve tried to listen to, but couldn’t get through 30 seconds before screaming NOPE! and turning it off.
What are some of your favorite audiobooks?