Audiobooks have come a long way since cassette tapes. These days most popular books are published in print and audio formats; all you need to access either is a library card and an internet connection. Listen while you’re driving, walking, working out, cooking…or while you’re stuck in self-isolation. You can download any of the audiobooks reviewed in this article, and many more, for free on the app: CloudLibrary.
Sadie by Courtney Summers – Young Adult Thriller – 7 hours and 57 minutes
Sadie is a Canadian teen novel with huge appeal for adult readers – especially fans of true crime podcasts like Serial. It’s a thriller told from the perspective of a fictional true crime podcast, and from the perspective of a teenage runaway. It’s a gripping, lightning fast read that will stick with you. And because of the full cast and production quality on the podcast, it’s one of the most immersive audiobooks ever made.
American Royals by Katherine McGee – New Adult Fiction – 13 hours and 52 minutes
Escapism at its finest. I truly enjoyed every moment of this long audiobook, and with the current cultural interest in the royals, many others will too. American Royals imagines an alternate future where all countries are ruled by their own royal families instead of elected leaders. The princesses and prince of America are young 20-somethings, and are as dramatic as they are beautiful. Forbidden love, political scandal, complex villains, and royal expectations combine to make a riveting, gossipy reading experience. Watch for American Royals #2, Majesty, coming September 2020.
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker – Literary Fiction – 10 hours and 28 minutes
A small college town in California is struck by a mysterious disease. The victims fall asleep, dream vividly, and never wake up. The nature of the story is that a lot of characters die. But you feel the driving force of the victims – even if it’s just told in a few lines. Walker takes the most compelling aspects of mystery, romance, dystopia, and horror, and weaves them into a story that is as terrifying as it is whimsical.
The Dreamers has the same masterful flow of Walker’s first novel, The Age of Miracles. It flits from moment to moment, never leaving too soon or too late. I have complete confidence in Karen Thompson Walker as an author. She doesn’t write for the sake of it. She writes because she is burning up with speculation.
Maid by Stephanie Land – Memoir – 8 hours and 34 minutes
Some biographies read like a collection of little stories. This one reads with the flow and drama of a cohesive novel. Stephanie Land’s story starts in a homeless shelter. She and her young daughter escaped an abusive situation and landed in poverty. Land tells her inspirational story of navigating the social assistance program, working as a maid, and raising her young daughter all by herself.
The audiobook is read by the author and you can feel her emotion in every word. I appreciated the honest and raw glimpse into the realities of living in poverty. It’s never heavy-handed or preachy. Just real, honest, and eye-opening.
From The Ashes by Jesse Thistle – Memoir – 9 hours and 55 minutes
This Canada Reads contender packs a powerful punch. Jesse Thistle reads his own memoir about being orphaned as a child, grappling with his Métis identity, growing up in foster care and later with his grandparents, getting involved with drugs, becoming homeless, surviving in and out of jail, and ultimately becoming an award winning academic. He does not shy away from difficult topics or descriptions, and you’re left with the sense of really knowing someone new.
Karissa Fast is a librarian at St. Catharines Public Library. Call us at (905)-688-6103 to find out how you can get a library card and start downloading from CloudLibrary and Hoopla today.