AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

by Garrett M. Graff

Narrated by a Full 45-Person Cast with Holter Graham, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

Award-winning journalist and author Graff paints a comprehensive, minute-by-minute account of the September 11 attacks, told in the words of those who experienced that dramatic and tragic day. From the firefighters who streamed into the smoke-filled stairwells of the Twin Towers to the fighter pilots scrambled from air bases with orders to shoot down any hijacked commercial aircraft; from the teachers who held their fear at bay while evacuating terrified children from nearby schools; to the stricken family members trapped helplessly on the ground, Graff weaves together the unforgettable testimonies of men and women caught in an unprecedented human drama.

The judging panel praised this unique production: “The Only Plane in the Sky is an extraordinary achievement that takes a gut-wrenching and almost unimaginable text and re-injects its humanness. Graff has created a historical document with the deftness of a poet and this production only builds on it, adding a narrative propulsion that never seems exploitative and an emotional depth that's never overwrought.”

Finalist Titles

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner, narrated by Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, Susan Brown, Denise Gough and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Becoming, written and narrated by Michelle Obama, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, narrated by Meryl Streep and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, narrated by Tom Hanks, published by HarperAudio

The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, narrated by Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mae Whitman, Derek Jacobi, Tantoo Cardinal, and Margaret Atwood, published by Penguin Random House Audio

AUDIO DRAMA

Angels in America

by Tony Kushner

Performed by Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, Susan Brown, Denise Gough and a Full Cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, and the entire cast recreate their acclaimed performances from the 2018 Tony Award-winning National Theatre revival of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. With narration by Bobby Cannavale and Edie Falco, and a musical score by Adrian Sutton, this audiobook is a compelling and immersive theatrical listening experience.

“Intimate, surreal, and devastatingly honest.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey by James Lecesne, performed by James Lecesne, published by Audible Originals

Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely, performed by Andi Arndt, Sebastian York, January LaVoy, Julia Whelan, R.C. Bray, Shane East, Joe Arden, Erin Mallon, Dion Graham, Savannah Peachwood, Jason Clarke, and Robin Miles, published by Lauren Blakely Books

Have a Nice Day by Billy Crystal and Quinton Peeples, performed by Justin Bartha, Annette Bening, Dick Cavett, Auli’l Cravalho, Billy Crystal, Rachel Dratch, Darrell Hammond, Christopher Jackson, Kevin Kline, Robin Thede, and a full cast, published by Audible Originals

Puss in Boots by Neil Fishman, Harvey Edelman, and Khristine Hvam, performed by Jim Dale, Mark Aldrich, Barret Leddy, Nick Sullivan, Brian Holden, Al Fallick, Lisa Livesay, Meredith Inglesby, Lynn Norris, John E. Brady, and Johnny Heller, published by HarperAudio

AUTOBIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR

Becoming

by Michelle Obama

Narrated by Michelle Obama, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Michelle Obama invites listeners into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it - in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance.

“This intimate listening experience allows us behind the public exterior and into the warm embrace of private revelations by one of our nation's most beloved role models.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

From Scratch, written and narrated by Tembi Locke, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

Me: Elton John Official Autobiography by Elton John, narrated by Taron Egerton and Elton John, published by Macmillan Audio

MotherStruck!, written and narrated by Staceyann Chin, published by Audible Originals

Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood, written and narrated by Andrew Rannells, published by Penguin Random House Audio

BEST FEMALE NARRATOR

Nothing to See Here

by Kevin Wilson

Narrated by Marin Ireland, published by HarperAudio

Lillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then, Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal, and they’ve barely spoken since. Until now, when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help. Madison’s twin stepkids are moving in with her family, and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there’s a catch: The twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a startling but beautiful way. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it’s the truth.

“Drawing from a seemingly endless supply of character voices, Ireland immerses listeners in this magical yet weird family, exquisitely capturing every unusual layer of the story.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

All the Lost Things by Michelle Sacks, narrated by Cassandra Morris, published by Hachette Audio

The Boy by Tami Hoag, narrated by Hillary Huber, published by Brilliance Publishing

Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante, narrated by Rachel Atkins, published by Zaffle

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, narrated by January LaVoy, published by Hachette Audio

BEST MALE NARRATOR

Kingdom of the Blind

by Louise Penny

Narrated by Robert Bathurst, published by Macmillan Audio

When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder. When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing.

“Bathurst's distinct voices – a gravelly growl for Ruth Zardo, a genial drawl for a young carpenter – distinguish the most memorable characters, and he imbues all of them with Penny's familiar warmth and humanity.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, narrated by Tom Hanks, published by HarperAudio

Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathon Safran Foer, narrated by Robert Petkoff, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, narrated by JD Jackson, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Watership Down by Richard Adams, narrated by Peter Capaldi, published by Blackstone Publishing

BUSINESS/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

So You Want to Start a Podcast?

by Kristen Meinzer

Narrated by Kristen Meinzer, published by HarperAudio

This comprehensive step-by-step guide to creating a hit show covers everything from hosting and guest booking to editing and marketing - while offering plenty of encouragement and insider stories along the way. Few know the secrets of successfully creating a knockout podcast better than Kristen Meinzer. An award-winning commentator, producer, and former director of nonfiction programming for Slate’s sister company, Panoply, Meinzer has also hosted three successful podcasts, reaching more than 10 million listeners. Here she shares her expertise.

“Kristen Meinzer's energetic narration is well suited to her information-packed account of what it takes to put together a successful podcast and keep it going.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

The Barefoot Spirit by Michael Houlihan, Bonnie Harvey, and Rick Kushman, narrated by Alamada Karatihy and a full cast featuring Ed Asner, published by Footnotes Press

Calm the F*ck Down, written and narrated by Sarah Knight, published by Hachette Audio

Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World, written and narrated by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall, published by Gildan Media, a division of Recorded Books

Wolfpack, written and narrated by Abby Wambach, published by Macmillan Audio

FAITH-BASED FICTION & NON-FICTION

How the Light Gets In

by Jolina Petersheim

Narrated by Tavia Gilbert, published by Oasis Audio

When Ruth Neufeld's husband and father-in-law are killed working for a relief organization overseas, she travels to Wisconsin with her young daughters and mother-in-law, Mabel, to bury her husband. She hopes the Mennonite community will be a quiet place to grieve and piece together next steps. Ruth and her family are welcomed, and Ruth finds solace in the beauty of the land and healing through hard work and budding friendship. She also encounters the possibility of new love. But an unexpected twist threatens to unseat the happy ending Ruth is about to write for herself.

“Skilled narrator Tavia Gilbert provides a compelling performance as young widow Ruth Neufeld.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Breathe Again, written and narrated by Niki Hardy, published by Oasis Audio

Conscious, written and narrated by Annaka Harris, published by HarperAudio

Dare to See, written and narrated by Katie Brown, published by Hachette Audio

Jezebel: The Prequel by Jacquelin Thomas, narrated by Janina Edwards, published by The Audio Flow LLC

FANTASY

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

by Alix E. Harrow

Narrated by January LaVoy, published by Hachette Audio

In the early 1900s, in a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure, and danger.

“January LaVoy's breathtaking narration shines in a fantasy in which Doors offer infinite possibilities for adventure.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell, narrated by Alana Kerr-Collins and Tim Campbell, published by Blackstone Publishing

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, narrated by Dion Graham, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, narrated by Michael David Axtell and Lauren Fortgang, published by Macmillan Audio

Time’s Children by D.B. Jackson, narrated by Helen Keeley, published by Dreamscape Media, LLC

FICTION

City of Girls

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Narrated by Blair Brown, published by Penguin Random House Audio

In 1940, 19-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters.

“Brown's straightforward, charming depiction illuminates the vivacious young woman the wistful elderly narrator remembers, and her conversational pacing creates vibrant pictures for the listener.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer, narrated by Therese Plummer, published by Hachette Audio

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris, narrated by Louise Brealey, published by Macmillan Audio

Colombiano by Rusty Young, narrated by Rusty Young and Brian J. Ramos, published by Bolinda Publishing

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell, narrated by Karina Fernandez, published by Dreamscape Media

HISTORY/BIOGRAPHY

American Moonshot

by Douglas Brinkley

Narrated by Stephen Graybill, published by HarperAudio

Douglas Brinkley takes us back to the 1960s to recreate one of the most exciting and ambitious achievements in the history of humankind. American Moonshot brings together the extraordinary political, cultural, and scientific factors that fueled the birth and development of NASA and the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo projects, which shot the US to victory in the space race against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. A vivid and enthralling chronicle of one of the most thrilling, hopeful, and turbulent eras in our nation’s history.

“Graybill’s well-paced delivery presents grounded depictions of key figures.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

The First Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch, narrated by Scott Brick, published by Macmillan Audio

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep, narrated by Hillary Huber, published by Penguin Random House Audio

The Queen by Josh Levin, narrated by January LaVoy, published by Hachette Audio

Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense by Dan Abrams and David Fisher, narrated by Roger Wayne and Dan Abrams, published by Harlequin

HUMOR

More Bedtime Stories for Cynics

by Kirsten Kearse, Gretchen Enders, Aparna Nancherla, Cirocco Dunlap, Dave Hill

Narrated by Nick Offerman, Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Ellen Page, Jane Lynch, John Waters, Anjelica Huston, Wendell Pierce, Mike Birbiglia, Rachel Dratch, Matt Walsh, Nicole Byer, Harry Goaz, Aisling Bea, Gary Anthony Williams, published by Audible Studios

Nick Offerman and his posse of high-profile guests present a series of 12 short stories written in the style of classic kid’s tales, but with a decidedly adult approach. If children's literature is any guide, we should all be able to magically fall asleep simply by saying goodnight to the things we can see from our beds. But any adult knows that our work anxieties and shameful memories would rather stay up all night and chat. That’s where Offerman and Co. come in – with clever and occasionally downright dark parodies of the classic kids genre.

“Patrick Stewart's gravelly voice laments the indignities of aging in “Acid Reflux Man,” while Angelica Huston’s gorgeous voice delivers “The True Queen” with nasty delight.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong, narrated by Ali Wong and Justin Hakuta, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Idiot, written and narrated by Laura Clery, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations, written and narrated by Craig Ferguson, published by Penguin Random House Audio

A Woman First: First Woman, written and narrated by Selina Meyer, published by Penguin Random House Audio

LITERARY FICTION & CLASSICS

The Water Dancer

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Narrated by Joe Morton, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her - but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known. So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.

“Joe Morton doesn't just give a stellar performance of Coates's audiobook. He embodies its characters completely, making the listening experience cinematic.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Milkman by Anna Burns, narrated by Brid Brennan, published by Dreamscape Media

Mythos, written and narrated by Stephen Fry, published by Chronicle Books

The Night Tiger, written and narrated by Yangsze Choo, published by Macmillan Audio

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, narrated by Jacqueline Woodson, with Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Peter Francis James, Shayna Small, and Bahni Turpin, published by Penguin Random House Audio

MIDDLE GRADE

Charlotte's Web

by E.B. White

Narrated by Meryl Streep and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Brought to life by Meryl Streep and a full cast, this beloved book by E. B. White is a classic of children's literature that is “just about perfect” (New York Times). Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte's Web, high up in Zuckerman's barn. Charlotte's spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur's life when he was born the runt of his litter.

“Every portrayal of every character, major and minor, bursts with personality.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

New Kid by Jerry Craft, narrated by Jerry Craft, Jesus Del Orden, Nile Bullock, Robin Miles, Guy Lockard, Peyton Lusk, Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittner, Phoebe Strole, Marc Thompson, Miles Harvey, and Ron Butler, published by HarperAudio

Our Castle by the Sea, written and narrated by Lucy Strange, published by Scholastic Audio

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, narrated by Almarie Guerra and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart, narrated by Khristine Hvam, published by Macmillan Audio

MULTI-VOICED PERFORMANCE

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

by Garrett M. Graff

Narrated by A Full 45-Person Cast with Holter Graham, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

Award-winning journalist and author Graff paints a comprehensive, minute-by-minute account of the September 11 attacks, told in the words of those who experienced that dramatic and tragic day. From the firefighters who streamed into the smoke-filled stairwells of the Twin Towers to the fighter pilots scrambled from air bases with orders to shoot down any hijacked commercial aircraft; from the teachers who held their fear at bay while evacuating terrified children from nearby schools; to the stricken family members trapped helplessly on the ground, Graff weaves together the unforgettable testimonies of men and women caught in an unprecedented human drama.

“The cast chosen for this oral history, led by Holter Graham, is exceptional. They set the right tone of reverence, respect, and awe.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

200 Women by Geoff Blackwell, Ruth Hobday, Sharon Gelman, Marianne Lassandro, and Kieran Scott, narrated by a full cast, published by Chronicle Books

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer, Pablo Schreiber, and a full cast, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Dooku: Jedi Lost (Star Wars) by Cavan Scott, narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, Marc Thompson, Pete Bradbury, Jonathan Davis, Neil Hellegers, Sean Kenin, January LaVoy, Saskia Maarleveld, Carol Monda, Robert Petkoff, and Rebecca Soler, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, narrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Jeanne Birdsall, Richard Ferrone, Jenna Lamia, and a full cast, published by Scholastic Audio

MYSTERY

The Chestnut Man

by Søren Sveistrup

Narrated by Peter Noble, published by HarperAudio

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen. His calling card is a “chestnut man” – a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts – which he leaves at each bloody crime scene. Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery – a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

“Noble performs this demanding plot with total investment in the story, as if he were as caught in its grip as the characters. Impressive and haunting.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Along Came a Spider (25 anniversary edition) by James Patterson, narrated by Taye Diggs, published by Hachette Audio

The Boy by Tami Hoag, narrated by Hillary Huber, published by Brilliance Publishing

The Lost Man by Jane Harper, narrated by Stephen Shanahan, published by Macmillan Audio

The New Iberia Blues by James Lee Burke, narrated by Will Patton, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

NARRATION BY THE AUTHOR or AUTHORS

With the Fire on High

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo, published by HarperAudio

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions – doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

“Author Elizabeth Acevedo sounds natural and authentic as Emoni, an immensely likable Philadelphia high school senior with a 2-year-old daughter and a gift for cooking.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Becoming, written and narrated by Michelle Obama, published by Penguin Random House Audio

Inside Out, written and narrated by Demi Moore, published by HarperAudio

Madame Badobedah, written and narrated by Sophie Dahl, published by Bolinda Publishing

Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future, written and narrated by Pete Buttigieg, published by HighBridge Audio, a division of Recorded Books

Tough Love, written and narrated by Susan Rice, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

NON-FICTION

Grace Will Lead Us Home

by Jennifer Berry Hawes

Narrated by Karen Chilton, Jennifer Berry Hawes, published by Macmillan Audio

On June 17, 2015, 12 members of the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina welcomed a young white man to their evening Bible study. He arrived with a pistol, 88 bullets, and hopes of starting a race war. Dylann Roof’s massacre of nine innocents horrified the nation. Two days later, some relatives of the dead stood at Roof’s hearing and said, “I forgive you.” That grace offered the country a hopeful ending to an awful story. But for the survivors and victims’ families, the journey had just begun.

“This audiobook achieves an exceptional performance of an important work on a difficult subject - mass murder and its aftermath.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves by Frans de Waal, narrated by L.J. Ganser, published by Recorded Books

The Perfect Predator by Steffanie Strathdee, Thomas Patterson, and Teresa Barker, narrated by Christine Lakin with Dan Woren, published by Hachette Audio

Talking to Strangers, written and narrated by Malcolm Gladwell, published by Hachette Audio

We Are the Weather, written and narrated by Jonathan Safran Foer, published by Macmillan Audio

ORIGINAL WORK

Evil Eye

by Madhuri Shekar

Narrated by Nick Choksi, Harsh Nayaar, Annapurna Sriram, Bernard White, Rita Wolf, published by Audible Studios

Usha is convinced that the Evil Eye, a curse that brings continuous misfortune, was cast upon her daughter, Pallavi, in the womb. What else could have possibly left her driven, career-oriented daughter edging closer and closer to 30 without a prospective husband? Determined to set Pallavi on the right path, Usha arranges date after date with potential suitors. In an unexpected turn of events, Pallavi becomes her own matchmaker when she meets – and quickly falls for – Sandeep, a young Indian-American entrepreneur.

“As the story is told through phone calls, voicemails, and direct, natural dialogue, the fine performances and suspense never waver. This production is all that contemporary audio drama should be.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

I Eat Men Like Air by Alice Berman, narrated by Elizabeth Evans, published by Audible Originals

Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical by Stephanie Bentley and Miranda Ray, narrated by Stephanie Bentley, Carolyn Jania and Henry Kaiser, with additional vocals from Christiana Lynette and Aaron Wilson, published by ACX

Nevertheless We Persisted: Me Too, written and performed by a chorus of voices, published by Blunder Woman Productions

Our Harlem: Seven Days of Cooking, Music and Soul at the Red Rooster by Marcus Samuelsson, narrated by Marcus Samuelsson, published by Audible Originals

ROMANCE

Devil's Daughter

by Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Mary Jane Wells, published by HarperAudio

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger... none other than West Ravenel.

“Narrator Mary Jane Wells’s rich voice lends itself to the story.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller, published by Dreamscape Media

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez, narrated by Teddy Hamilton and Erin Mallon, published by Hachette Audio

Gimme Some Sugar by Molly Harper, narrated by Amanda Ronconi, published by Audible Studios

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, narrated by Ramon de Ocampo, published by Macmillan Audio

SCIENCE FICTION

Emergency Skin

by N.K. Jemisin

Narrated by Jason Isaacs, published by Brilliance Publishing

An explorer returns to gather information from a climate-ravaged Earth that his ancestors, and others among the planet’s finest, fled centuries ago. The mission comes with a warning: a graveyard world awaits him. But so do those left behind – hopeless and unbeautiful wastes of humanity who should have died out eons ago. After all this time, there’s no telling how they’ve devolved.

“Narrator Jason Isaacs's voice is the perfect mix of insistent, pedantic, and scornful as he portrays the AI inside the head of an “instrument” that is sent on a mission to gather valuable biological materials on what's left of Tellus – or Earth. This brief but clever tale is truly best enjoyed on audio.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton, narrated by Robert Petkoff, published by Hachette Audio

The Last Astronaut by David Wellington, narrated by Megan Tusing, published by Hachette Audio

The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull, narrated by Ron Butler and Janina Edwards, published by Blackstone Publishing

Permafrost by Alastair Reynolds, narrated by Natasha Soudek, published by Macmillan Audio

SHORT STORIES/COLLECTIONS

Full Throttle

by Joe Hill

Narrated by Zachary Quinto, Wil Wheaton, Kate Mulgrew, Neil Gaiman, Ashleigh Cummings, Joe Hill, Laysla De Oliveira, Nate Corddry, Connor Jessup, Stephen Lang, George Guidall, published by HarperAudio

In this masterful collection of short fiction, Joe Hill dissects timeless human struggles in 13 relentless tales of supernatural suspense, including “In the Tall Grass”, one of two stories cowritten with Stephen King, basis for the terrifying feature film from Netflix.

“A terrific cast of narrators lend their voices to 13 stories by Joe Hill, who himself reads the utterly delightful introduction, remembering his childhood and his path to becoming a successful horror writer.

Booklovers may agree that “Late Returns,” narrated by Wil Wheaton--about a librarian slipping through time to offer the dead one last great read--is the gem of this collection.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Julia Whelan, George Newbern, James Daniels, and Dara Rosenberg, published by Brilliance Publishing

Forward by Veronica Roth, Blake Crouch, N.K. Jemisin, Amor Towles, Paul Tremblay, and Andy Weir, narrated by Evan Rachel Wood, Rosa Salazar, Jason Isaacs, David Harbour, Steven Strait, and Janina Gavankar, published by Brilliance Publishing

I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying, written and narrated by Bassey Ikpi, published by HarperAudio

Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor and Whoopi Goldberg (foreword), narrated by Yetide Badaki, published by Tantor Audio, a division of Recorded Books

THRILLER/SUSPENSE

The Institute

by Stephen King

Narrated by Santino Fontana, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’ parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents - telekinesis and telepathy - who got to this place the same way Luke did.

“A dazzling performance by narrator Santino Fontana. Fontana does wonders with this diverse lineup of young characters who band together to fight their captors. King and Fontana's talents are a winning combination.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Blood in the Water by Jack Flynn, narrated by Dion Graham, published by Recorded Books

Freefall by Jessica Barry, narrated by Hillary Huber, Karissa Vacker, and MacLeod Andrews, published by HarperAudio

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman, narrated by Susan Bennett, published by HarperAudio

Winter Dark by Alex Callister, narrated by Ell Potter, published by Audible Originals

YOUNG ADULT

Hey, Kiddo

by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Narrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Jeanne Birdsall, Richard Ferrone, Jenna Lamia & full cast, published by Scholastic Audio

In this profoundly moving memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, Krosoczka describes his youth. His mom was an addict, in and out of rehab; his father was a mystery; and Jarrett lived with his grandparents - two very loud, loving, opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.

“A full cast of more than 40 performers brings this powerful graphic novel memoir vividly to life. Narrator pros Jeanne Birdsall, Richard Ferrone, and Jenna Lamia take the roles of the grandparents and the author's birth mother. His father voices himself, reliving the painful memories of their family history. Young Jarrett and his friend Pat are portrayed by Jarrett's and Pat's children, and Jarrett's aunts deliver their own parts as well, making every interaction incredibly authentic.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian, narrated by Lauren Ambrose, Vikas Adam, and Michael Crouch, published by HarperAudio

Lovely War by Julie Berry, narrated by Jayne Entwistle, Allan Corduner, Julie Berry, Dion Graham, Fiona Hardingham, John Lee, Nathaniel Parker, and Steve West, published by Penguin Random House Audio

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin, published by HarperAudio

With the Fire on High, written and narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo, published by HarperAudio

YOUNG LISTENERS (up to age 8)

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!

by Mo Willems

Narrated by Mo Willems, published by Weston Woods

The Pigeon is about to get SCHOOLED. Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! And what if he doesn't like it? What if the teacher doesn't like him? What if he learns TOO MUCH!?! Ask not for whom the school bell rings; it rings for the Pigeon!

“A winning combination here – Mo Willems narrates the latest installment in his Pigeon books, and a musical score enriches the experience. The elasticity and range of Willems's voice bring pep to the production--mirroring the emotions of the text.”—AudioFile magazine

Finalist Titles

How to Read a Book, written and narrated by Kwame Alexander, published by HarperAudio

The Lion King by Elizabeth Rudnick and Disney Press, narrated by Janina Edwards, published by Blackstone Publishing

Rumple Buttercup: A Story of Bananas, Belonging, and Being Yourself, written and narrated by Matthew Gray Gubler, published by Penguin Random House Audio

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, narrated by Lauren Hummingbird, Agalisiga (Choogie) Mackey, Ryan Mackey, Traci Sorell, and Tonia Weavel, published by Live Oak Media

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds, narrated by Guy Lockard, published by Weston Woods