Don't Ask Me Where I'm From by Jennifer De Leon; narrated by Inés del Castillo Starring: Liliana, a gifted American Latinx writer who's uneasy about bussing from her familiar Boston city school to the mostly white Westburg High.
Narration: Inés del Castillo authentically conveys 15-year-old Liliana's conflicting emotions.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi; narrated by Bahni TurpinStarring: Ghanaian American Gifty, a neuroscience PhD candidate studying neural pathways in mice as a way to understand the loss and suffering in her family -- though she insists that's not what she's doing.
Narration: Award-winning narrator Bahni Turpin embodies Gifty's contemplative nature with a gentle cadence.
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko; narrated by Joniece Abbott-PrattWhat it's about: Tarisai was raised by The Lady with a specific destiny: to become one of the 11 elite councilors to the Crown Prince of Aritsar, gain the Prince's trust, and assassinate him.
Narration: In an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning performance, Joniece Abbott-Pratt imbues this worldbuilding Afrofantasy with distinct characterizations and pulse-pounding political intrigue.
Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline; narrated by Michelle St. JohnWhat happens: A year after her husband Victor disappears following an argument, Joan Beausoleil encounters him at a tent revival, calling himself Reverend Wolff (and denying any knowledge of Victor).
Narration: Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award, First Nations narrator Michelle St. John's intense and authentic performance complements the own voices storyline inspired by Métis legends.
Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan; narrated by Cassandra CampbellWhat it's about: the life, marriage, and wartime work of mathematician Charlie Fisk, a somewhat reluctant recruit to the Manhattan Project who navigates his ethical ambivalence and guilt with the help of his flawed but supportive wife Brenda.
Narration: Cassandra Campbell juggles the sweeping love story and scientific descriptions with an engrossing and distinctly voiced performance that earned her an AudioFile Earphones Award.
Bonnie by Christina Schwarz; narrated by Candace ThaxtonStarring: financially struggling small-town girl Bonnie Parker, who becomes a legend for the infamous crime spree she commits with Clyde Barrow.
Narration: Candace Thaxton's brisk and lively performance captures Bonnie's thrill-seeking ways and Clyde's foolhardy arrogance.
Here We Are by Graham Swift; narrated by Phil DavisWhat it is: an engaging, character-driven story set in postwar Brighton, where a dying artform has one last great summer thanks to an equally doomed variety act.
Narration: British actor Phil Davis' leisurely paced reading conveys the novel's melancholy tone.
The Hollow Ones by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan; narrated by Brittany PressleyWhat it's about: When her partner inexplicably attacks a child during a raid, FBI agent Odessa Hardwicke shoots him dead and watches in horror as a spectral entity leaves his corpse. Enlisting the help of occult detective John Blackwood, Odessa hopes to track down the centuries-old menace responsible for her partner's demise.
Narration: Brittany Pressley navigates this intricately plotted occult thriller's multiple timelines with a variety of character accents and tones.
Deep Delta Justice: A Black Teen, His Lawyer, and Their Groundbreaking Battle... by Matthew Van Meter; narrated by Brad SandersWhat it's about: the landmark Supreme Court decision Duncan v. Louisiana (1968), which established the right to a jury trial and became a key victory for the civil rights movement.
Narration: Brad Sanders' intense and resonant reading adds gravitas to this richly detailed history.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson; narrated by Robin MilesWhat it is: a timely and thought-provoking exploration of the "shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based" caste system that has shaped four centuries of American history.
Narration: Robin Miles' AudioFile Earphones Award-winning recording is suffused with a calm, well-paced performance that encourages listener empathy and reflection.
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