YALSA's 2022 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

This annual list identifies notable commercial audio recordings significant to teens and is compiled by members of the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. The selection celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion and features many award-winning and best-selling Young Adult authors. Among the stories are a mystery set on an Ojibwe reservation, a true-crime podcast, an unexpected overseas romance, and a poem read by the national youth poet laureate.

Ace of Spades
by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Shortly after the announcement that Devon and Chiamaka will be part of an elite school’s Senior Prefects, someone who goes by the name Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that threaten to turn their lives upside down. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB103918

Any Way the Wind Blows
by Rainbow Rowell

Simon must decide whether he still wants to be part of the World of Mages, Baz bounces between two family crises, Penelope smuggles an American Normal into London, and Agatha has had enough. Sequel to Wayward Son (DB97147). Violence, strong language, and descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB104315

Apple: Skin to the Core
by Eric Gansworth

Memoir-in-verse by award-winning author and artist Eric Gansworth. Now a member of the Onondaga Nation, Gansworth tells his story of growing up in the Tuscarora Nation. He covers his family’s history and struggles and the impact of boarding schools, racism, and poverty. Strong language. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. American Indian Youth Literature Award. 2020.
Download DB101947

Between Perfect and Real
by Ray Stoeve

After being cast as Romeo in the school play, Dean realizes he wants everyone to see him as he really is, as a male, and not just to play one on the stage, even if it means risking everything. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB104739

Chlorine Sky
by Mahogany L. Browne

A novel in verse. Picked on at home, criticized for talking trash while beating boys at basketball, and always seen as less than her best friend, a Black teen struggles to like and accept herself. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB102041

City of the Plague God
by Sarwat Chadda

Thirteen-year-old Sikander Aziz teams up with the former hero Gilgamesh in order to stop Nergal, the ancient Mesopotamian god of plagues, from wiping out the population of Manhattan. Commercial audiobook. For grades 5-8. 2021.
Download DB101713

Class Act
by Jerry Craft

Eighth-graders Jordan and Drew navigate a new year at the elite Riverdale Academy Day School. But Drew recognizes that no matter how hard he works, he isn’t afforded the same opportunities as his privileged classmates. Sequel to New Kid (DB94151). Commercial audiobook. For grades 4-7. 2020.
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A Complicated Love Story Set in Space
by Shaun David Hutchinson

When sixteen-year-olds Noa, DJ, and Jenny wake up on a spaceship called Qriosity, none of them can remember how they got there. Together, the three face all the dangers of space: murder, aliens, a school dance, and one really bad day. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB103462

Concrete Rose
by Angie Thomas

As the son of a former gang legend, Maverick makes ends meet by dealing drugs for the King Lords. Suddenly Mav is taking care of an unexpected baby, with another on the way, and wants a different life. Prequel to The Hate U Give (DB101117). Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
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The Cost of Knowing
by Brittney Morris

Sixteen-year-old Alex’s curse of seeing the future distracts him from being and doing his best. But when he sees his little brother Isaiah’s imminent death, he races against time, death, and circumstances to save him. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB103885

The Cousins
by Karen M. McManus

After receiving an invitation to spend the summer working for their estranged grandmother, the Story cousins arrive at her island resort and realize their mysterious family history has some deadly secrets. Strong language. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.
Download DB101673

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
by Laura Taylor Namey

Seventeen-year-old Lila Reyes, furious when her parents send her to the English countryside to recover from grief and heartbreak, unexpectedly falls in love with a teashop clerk and England. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.
Download DB102928

The Darkness Outside Us
by Eliot Schrefer

Sworn enemies sent on the same rescue mission to one of Saturn’s moons, Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust each other—especially once they discover what they are truly up against. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB106144

Dawn Raid
by Pauline Vaeluaga Smith

1976. After the police raid thirteen-year-old Sofia’s house, her brother Lenny starts talking about protests and injustices against Pacific Islanders by the New Zealand government, which inspires the whole family to become involved in the movement. Commercial audiobook. For grades 5-8. 2018.
Download DB104298

Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love
by Jared Reck

While his friends prepare for college, Oscar decides his future is working with his grandfather on their food truck Hej Hej! But when Oscar unexpectedly gets his first taste of adulthood, he realizes his plans may be half-baked. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB104080

The Electric Kingdom
by David Arnold

After a deadly Fly Flu spreads throughout the world, survivors Nico, her dog, young artist Kit, and the mysterious Deliverer roam the earth, seeking to evade the Flies and find a place where life and love can thrive again. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB102222

Firekeeper’s Daughter
by Angeline Boulley

Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother. When Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source of a new drug. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. Michael L. Printz Award, William C. Morris Award, and Walter Dean Myers Award. 2021.
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Flash Fire
by TJ Klune

Nick landed himself the superhero boyfriend of his dreams, but with new heroes arriving in Nova City, it’s up to Nick and his friends to determine who is virtuous and who is villainous. Sequel to The Extraordinaries (DB101834). Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB105274

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement
by Paula Yoo

Award-winning author Paula Yoo chronicles the killing of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American man beaten to death at the hands of two white autoworkers in Detroit in 1982. Yoo examines the crime, trial, and the Asian American community’s outrage over the lenient sentence. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
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Game Changer
by Neal Shusterman

All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it. He’s been hit into another dimension, and keeps falling into different universes, each one stranger than the last. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB102231

The Gilded Ones
by Namina Forna

After a blood ceremony determines that Deka’s blood is different, her discriminatory village offers her the choice to submit to a torturous fate or join the emperor’s army of near-immortal women warriors. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.
Download DB104117

Good Girl, Bad Blood
by Holly Jackson

After solving a murder and creating a viral true-crime podcast together, Pip and Ravi both swear off sleuthing until a friend goes missing on a deadly anniversary. Sequel to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (DB98616). Strong language. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB102633

The Hill We Climb
by Amanda Gorman

National youth poet laureate delivers an empowering and hopeful poem for the nation. Originally read on January, 20, 2021, at the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden. Foreword by Oprah Winfrey. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
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Hold Back the Tide
by Melinda Salisbury

Since there wasn’t enough proof to convict Alva’s father for the murder of her mother, she reluctantly lives in his house in Scotland, where his family has been called guardians of the loch. It falls to her to monitor the water levels, but something in the loch watches her back. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner. 2021.
Download DB103608

Home Is Not a Country
by Safia Elhillo

A novel in verse. When the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima grapples with the phantom of a life not chosen. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB102671

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe
by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

When seventeen-year-old Star Fuentez reaches social media stardom, her polar-opposite twin, Moon, becomes "merch girl" on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and the grumpy but attractive Santiago Philips. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Pura Belpré Award. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB106688

In the Shadow of the Moon: America, Russia, and the Hidden History of the Space Race
by Amy Cherrix

An account of the lesser-known rivalry between former Nazi-turned-US Cold War scientist Wernher von Braun and Russian rocket designer Sergei Korolev. The author explains how their controversial scientific achievements shaped human history. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB105868

In the Wild Light
by Jeff Zentner

Attending an elite prep school on a scholarship with his best friend (and secret love) Delaney, a science genius, sixteen-year-old Cash struggles with emotional pain until his English teacher suggests writing poetry. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB105150

The Initial Insult
by Mindy McGinnis

Ostracized by the elite community of Amontillado after the disappearance of her parents, Tress organizes a Halloween costume party at an abandoned house, where she launches a macabre plan to force a popular former friend to confess what she knows. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
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Last Night at the Telegraph Club
by Malinda Lo

1954. McCarthyism and the Red Scare are genuine threats to Lily’s family; her father is already at risk of deportation despite his valid citizenship. Lily, who is Chinese American, could lose everything just for dating anyone white—let alone another girl—but she could lose herself if she isn’t true to her feelings. Includes supplemental material. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. Asian/Pacific American Award for Youth Literature, National Book Award, and Stonewall Book Award. 2021.
Download DB104015

Off the Record
by Camryn Garrett

Teen journalist Josie writes piecesC celebrating Black films. She uncovers the #MeToo scandal of the decade: a celebrity in an upcoming movie is taking advantage of cast members. Josie is reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB104099

Once upon a Quinceañera
by Monica Gomez-Hira

Carmen takes on a summer internship that has her reuniting with her estranged family for an over-the-top quinceañera, reluctantly reconnecting to a long-lost ex-boyfriend, and finding happiness in the chaos. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB104120

Perfect on Paper
by Sophie Gonzales

When a classmate catches seventeen-year-old Darcy Phillips providing anonymous love advice through locker 89 to her fellow students, her only option is to help him get his ex-girlfriend back. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB102881

Pumpkin
by Julie Murphy

Waylon is an overweight, openly gay boy stuck in a small Texas town. After his audition tape for a drag show accidentally goes public and someone nominates him for prom queen as a joke, Waylon decides to run—especially since he has a crush on a prom king nominee. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB106010

Rent a Boyfriend
by Gloria Chao

Chloe Wang hires Drew Chan from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents. But she never counted on falling for him. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.
Download DB105276

She’s Too Pretty to Burn
by Wendy Heard

When seventeen-year-old Veronica’s photograph of her introverted girlfriend goes viral, they are sent into a spiral of fame and lethal danger as they navigate the turbulent waters of their relationship, secrets, acclaim, and the underground San Diego art scene. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB104540

Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke
by Andrew Maraniss

Profile of Glenn Burke, inventor of the high five and the first openly gay MLB player, from his childhood in Oakland to his journey to the World Series and his joy in discovering who he really was. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB102885

Six Crimson Cranes
by Elizabeth Lim

Shiori, the exiled princess of Kiata, must unravel the curse that turned her six brothers into cranes. Her spurned betrothed, a capricious dragon, and a paper bird brought to life by her own magic help Shiori in her quest to save her kingdom. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB104326

Some Girls Do
by Jennifer Dugan

Morgan, an openly gay track star, falls for Ruby, a closeted, bisexual teen beauty queen who loves fixing old cars. The two are drawn to each other and can’t deny their growing feelings. But problems arise when Ruby isn’t ready to come out yet. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB106189

Starfish
by Lisa Fipps

A novel in verse. Bullied and shamed her whole life for being fat, Ellie finally gains the confidence to stand up for herself with the help of some wonderful new allies. Commercial audiobook. For grades 5-8. 2021.
Download DB102975

Sugar Town Queens
by Malla Nunn

Amandla, a biracial teen living in South Africa, begins to unveil the mystery of her white mother’s hidden past. When Amandla finds a strange address in the bottom of her mother’s handbag along with a large amount of cash, she decides it’s finally time to get answers. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB104952

These Violent Delights
by Chloe Gong

Shanghai, 1926. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, heir of the Scarlet Gang, and her first love-turned-rival Roma Montagov, leader of the White Flowers, must work together when mysterious deaths threaten their city. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.
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They’ll Never Catch Us
by Jessica Goodman

Sisters Stella and Ellie Steckler are both determined to win a scholarship and escape their stifling small town, but their plans are upset when a new girl joins the cross-country team and then disappears. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB104854

This Is Not the Jess Show
by Anna Carey

When a mysterious flu and other strange things start happening in Jess Flynn’s hometown of Swickley, she suspects reality isn’t as it seems and seeks to uncover the truth about her family, her friends, and her town. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB104122

Time Travel for Love and Profit
by Sarah Lariviere

When math prodigy Nephele invents a time travel app to redo her terrible freshman year of high school, there are unexpected consequences. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB105803

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
by Carole Boston Weatherford

Award-winning author recounts the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, race massacre—one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history. Commercial audiobook. Coretta Scott King Book Award. For grades 3-6. 2021.
Download DB103676

What Beauty There Is
by Cory Anderson

With their mother gone and their funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care or find the drug money that sent his father to prison. But someone else is searching for the money, too. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB103121

When You Look Like Us
by Pamela N. Harris

After his sister Nicole disappears, Jay and a friend from church try to piece together what happened, because he knows the Newport News police won’t help search for a missing Black girl from public housing. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. Odyssey Award. 2021.
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White Smoke
by Tiffany D. Jackson

When her mom accepts a new job that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty little stepsister, Piper, they soon experience household items vanishing, lights turning off, and a foul smell. But worse, Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB105467

The Witch King
by H.E. Edgmon

Wyatt, a transgender witch, hides in the human world after losing control of his magic, but his fiancé, Emyr, a fae prince, is at risk of losing his throne if he does not find and marry Wyatt. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
Download DB106209

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