It’s almost summer, and you know what that means! It’s time to lie out at the beach (while listening to an audiobook), go on some hikes (while listening to an audiobook), spend some time in the garden (while listening to an audiobook), or go on a killer road trip (while listening to an audiobook). If your summer plans sound a lot like ours, you may be in need of some excellent audiobook recommendations. Complete your summer TBR this June (which also happens to be Audiobook Appreciation Month) with the audiobooks our staff is loving lately.
Mel’s Pick: Whether you're a fan of mysteries or simply enjoy a well-narrated audiobook, Amy Stuart’s bestselling novel A DEATH AT THE PARTY is a thrilling choice that will keep you hooked from start to finish. Listening to this audiobook brings the gripping story of a garden party gone wrong to life in a whole new way. The narrator embodies each character, adding depth and intensity to the already suspenseful plot about Nadine Walsh—devoted wife, loving mother, and doting daughter—who finds herself standing over a dead body in her basement while her guests clink glasses upstairs. The pacing is *chef’s kiss,* allowing the tension to build gradually while keeping the listener engaged throughout.
In this tense, spellbinding thriller set over the course of a single day, a woman prepares for a party that goes dreadfully wrong—for fans of Ashley Audrain and Lisa Jewell.
Nadine Walsh’s summer garden party is in full swing. The neighbors all have cocktails, the catered food is exquisite—everything’s going according to plan.
But Nadine—devoted wife, loving mother, and doting daughter—finds herself standing over a dead body in her basement while her guests clink glasses upstairs. What happened? How did it come to this?
Rewind to that morning, when Nadine is in her kitchen, making last-minute preparations before she welcomes more than a hundred guests to her home to celebrate her mother’s birthday. But her husband is of little help to her, her two grown children are consumed with their own concerns, and her mother—only her mother knows that today isn’t just a birthday party. It marks another anniversary as well.
Still, Nadine will focus just on tonight. Everyone deserves a celebration after the year they’ve had. A chance for fun. A chance to forget. But it’s hard to forget when Nadine’s head is swirling with secrets, haunting memories, and concerns about what might happen when her guests unite.
Jordyn’s Pick: There’s been so much buzz about MURDER YOUR EMPLOYER that I put it on my to-be-read list a while ago, but as soon as I realized Neil Patrick Harris is one of the narrators of the audiobook, I moved it straight up to #1 on my list. This book is full of dark humor with an adult Lemony Snicket vibe. Set at the fictional McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts, MURDER YOUR EMPLOYER is about three new students who devise creative and efficient ways to complete their “thesis”—the “deletion” of their employer. One of the trio, Cliff Iverson, whose chapters are narrated by Harris, fumbled his way into this secret school and is about to get an incredible and accelerated education in a subject he never expected. This book is funny, dark, and wickedly clever, and I found myself making excuses to continue listening to the audiobook instead of doing necessary things, something I’m sure students at the McMasters Conservatory would completely understand.
A New York Times bestseller! From Edgar Award–winning novelist, playwright, and story-songwriter Rupert Holmes comes a diabolical thriller with a killer concept: The McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts, “a fantasy academy laid out like a combination of Hogwarts, Downton Abbey, and a White Lotus–style resort” (Los Angeles Times) dedicated to the art of murder where students study how best to “delete” their most deserving victim.
Who hasn’t wondered for a split second what the world would be like if a person who is the object of your affliction ceased to exist? But then you’ve probably never heard of The McMasters Conservatory, dedicated to the consummate execution of the homicidal arts. To gain admission, a student must have an ethical reason for erasing someone who deeply deserves a fate no worse (nor better) than death. The campus of this “Poison Ivy League” college—its location unknown to even those who study there—is where you might find yourself the practice target of a classmate…and where one’s mandatory graduation thesis is getting away with the perfect murder of someone whose death will make the world a much better place to live.
Prepare for an education you’ll never forget. A “fiendishly funny” (Booklist) mix of witty wordplay, breathtaking twists and genuine intrigue, Murder Your Employer will gain you admission into a wholly original world, cocooned within the most entertaining book about well-intentioned would-be murderers you’ll ever read.
Sara’s Pick: I’m a big fan of audiobooks, which means it takes a lot to impress me. One of the fastest ways to get to the top of my list is enlisting a full cast. I love when every character has their own unique voice—it elevates the book to a performance and draws you in. And for a book with many, many perspectives, THE GOLDEN SPOON soars with its full-cast reading. Imagine if The Great British Bake Off were set in Vermont and hosted by Martha Stewart, and that's basically THE GOLDEN SPOON competition. But a wholesome week of baking and culinary crafting is cut short by a gruesome murder on the set of the show. A mix of whodunit and who-got-done-in, it is a treat to get to experience this twisted mystery through the different voices of the characters.
“This delicious combination of Clue and The Great British Bake Off kept me turning the pages all night!” —Janet Evanovich, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Only Murders in the Building meets The Maid in this darkly beguiling locked-room mystery where someone turns up dead on the set of TV’s hottest baking competition—perfect for fans of Nita Prose, Richard Osman, and Anthony Horowitz.
Every summer for the past ten years, six awe-struck bakers have descended on the grounds of Grafton, the leafy and imposing Vermont estate that is not only the filming site for “Bake Week” but also the childhood home of the show’s famous host, celebrated baker Betsy Martin.
The author of numerous bestselling cookbooks and hailed as “America’s Grandmother,” Betsy Martin isn’t as warm off-screen as on, though no one needs to know that but her. She has always demanded perfection, and gotten it with a smile, but this year something is off. As the baking competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it’s merely sabotage—sugar replaced with salt, a burner turned to high—but when a body is discovered, everyone is a suspect.
A sharp and suspenseful thriller for mystery buffs and avid bakers alike, The Golden Spoon is a brilliant puzzle filled with shocking twists and turns that will keep you reading late into the night until you turn the very last page of this incredible debut.
Juliet’s Pick #1: The audiobook version of ACROSS A HUNDRED MOUNTAINS is a gem. Not only do the concise yet vivid descriptions paint a stark and honest picture of the challenges faced by Mexican immigrants, but by personalizing the immigration issue, ACROSS A HUNDRED MOUNTAINS prompts listeners to reflect on the human side of the matter. It is a haunting and compelling tale—switching seamlessly from passages in English and in Spanish—that explores themes of tragedy, hope, and the search for peace. This audiobook is an empathy-inspiring must-listen!
Winner of the American Book Award, Across a Hundred Mountains is a “timely and riveting” (People) novel about a young girl who leaves her small town in Mexico to find her father, who left his family to work in America—a story of migration, loss, and discovery.
After a tragedy separates her from her mother, Juana García leaves in search of her father, who left them two years earlier. Out of money and in need of someone to help her across the border, Juana meets Adelina Vasquez, a young woman who left her family in California to follow her lover to Mexico. Finding themselves—in a Tijuana jail—in desperate circumstances, they offer each other much needed material and spiritual support and ultimately become linked forever in the most unexpected of ways.
In Across a Hundred Mountains, Reyna Grande puts a human face on the controversial issue of immigration, helping readers to better understand “the desperation of illegal immigrants and the families they leave behind” (Entertainment Weekly) in pursuit of a better life.
Juliet’s Pick #2: Tom Perrotta’s follow-up novel to ELECTION—TRACY FLICK CAN’T WIN—is an absolute delight. The cast of narrators does a tremendous job bringing the author’s sharp and darkly comedic sense of humor to life, and the storyline is surprisingly poignant.
Perrotta's exploration of Tracy Flick's life in her forties is both thought-provoking and humorous. As she vies for the position of principal at her high school, Perrotta deftly exposes the dynamics of office politics and the hierarchy of power. The audiobook's short chapters and frequent shifts in the dialogue offers a truly satisfying listening experience that will leave you craving more of Perrotta's work.
Tracy Flick is back and, once again, the iconic protagonist of Tom Perrotta’s Election—and Reese Witherspoon’s character from the classic movie adaptation—is determined to take high school politics by storm.
Tracy Flick is a hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in suburban New Jersey. Still ambitious but feeling a little stuck and underappreciated in midlife, Tracy gets a jolt of good news when the longtime principal, Jack Weede, abruptly announces his retirement, creating a rare opportunity for Tracy to ascend to the top job.
Energized by the prospect of her long-overdue promotion, Tracy throws herself into her work with renewed zeal, determined to prove her worth to the students, faculty, and School Board, while also managing her personal life—a ten-year-old daughter, a needy doctor boyfriend, and a burgeoning meditation practice. But nothing ever comes easily to Tracy Flick, no matter how diligent or qualified she happens to be.
Among her many other responsibilities, Tracy is enlisted to serve on the Selection Committee for the brand-new Green Meadow High School Hall of Fame. Her male colleagues’ determination to honor Vito Falcone—a star quarterback of dubious character who had a brief, undistinguished career in the NFL—triggers bad memories for Tracy, and leads her to troubling reflections about the trajectory of her own life and the forces that have left her feeling thwarted and disappointed, unable to fulfill her true potential.
As she broods on the past, Tracy becomes aware of storm clouds brewing in the present. Is she really a shoo-in for the Principal job? Is the Superintendent plotting against her? Why is the School Board President’s wife trying so hard to be her friend? And why can’t she ever get what she deserves?
In classic Perrotta style, Tracy Flick Can’t Win is a sharp, darkly comic, and pitch-perfect reflection on our current moment. Flick fans and newcomers alike will love this compelling novel chronicling the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time.
Heather’s Pick: The biggest perk of working in publishing is getting to read (or listen to) books before they’re available to the rest of the world. That’s how I can tell you that Christina Lauren’s audiobook original THE HONEYMOON CRASHERS (out 8/1) is simply wonderful. The voice cast—led by Harry Shum Jr. and Jessica Marie Garcia—do justice to the authors’ trademark sparkling banter, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to smile through the whole story. In this sequel to THE UNHONEYMOONERS, Olive and Ethan are back in Maui, except this time they’re not pretending to be newlyweds for a free honeymoon—they’re actually getting married! And Olive’s twin sister, Ami, is now the single one. Ami’s determined to plan the perfect big day for her sister, which means unexpectedly spending lots of time with Ethan’s best man, Brody, who offers to help. Cue a delightful, opposites-attract romance! (Bonus: You can listen to the entire audiobook in less than five hours, making it a perfect travel-day treat.)
A perfectionist maid of honor and a carefree, surfer-bro best man team up to plan a wedding and end up finding a spark of their own in the first audio original from author duo Christina Lauren, a full-cast sequel to their New York Times bestseller The Unhoneymooners.
Ami is determined to break the Torres family wedding curse. Her own disaster of a reception ended with all the guests getting food poisoning, and she left her cheating husband soon after. But even though she’s still processing her own divorce, Ami won’t let her twin sister Olive’s day be anything but perfect. Olive may think she wants a private ceremony in Maui, where she and her fiancé Ethan first fell in love, but Ami knows better and secretly flies the whole Torres family out to surprise the couple. Now she and her meticulously organized binder have less than two weeks to get everything together for the big day, thousands of miles from home.
Enter Brody, Ethan’s best man, who happens to be living in Maui and insists on helping with the preparations. His playfully elaborate schemes and happy-go-lucky attitude are the last thing Ami needs. When sparks start to fly, could it derail all her carefully laid plans?
Equal parts hilarious and swoon-worthy, this full-cast production is your ticket to the ultimate destination wedding, bringing to life both a captivating couple and an unforgettable family. The Honeymoon Crashers is Christina Lauren at their charming, hilarious best.
Emily’s Pick: When you jump into a fantasy novel, you want to be completely immersed, and what better way to completely engage yourself than by listening to a first-person narrator telling you about his magical and terrifying childhood with hints of upcoming adventures that compel you forward. The audio narrator’s voice is perfectly captivating and convincing, so you fully feel like you’re gathered around a spooky campfire. And this is a tale I gladly spent hours listening to. Charlie Reade befriends an old caretaker named Mr. Bowditch and, after the old man passes away, the boy inherits his dog, his mansion, and extraordinary access to a portal into another world. What follows is a classic fantasy story, with a magical sundial, talking animals, enchanted castles, and more—as well as character revelations and heartwarming developments that could only come from a coming-of-age narrative by this master of storytelling.
A #1 New York Times Bestseller and New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice!
Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher—for that world or ours.
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was seven, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle.
Early in the Pandemic, King asked himself: “What could you write that would make you happy?”
“As if my imagination had been waiting for the question to be asked, I saw a vast deserted city—deserted but alive. I saw the empty streets, the haunted buildings, a gargoyle head lying overturned in the street. I saw smashed statues (of what I didn’t know, but I eventually found out). I saw a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds. Those images released the story I wanted to tell.”
Lauren’s Pick: This mind-blowing haunted house tale is available exclusively as an audiobook—and warning: you’ll want to listen with the lights on! With all the twists and turns, I found myself thinking that I should pause for a breather, until I realized that I had devoured the audiobook in one day. The story centers around high school senior Charlotte, who agrees to babysit the Wilbanks twins. She plans to put the six-year-olds to bed early and spend a quiet night studying for the SATs, but it’s the night before Halloween—the twins are eager to show off their costumes and excitement is in the air. What starts out as a normal night quickly turns dark as Charlotte realizes that things are not quite what they seem and finds herself in every babysitter’s worst nightmare: she and the twins are not alone in the house. Fans of Jordan Peele will love this coiling, propulsive story, which will keep you guessing until the very end.
Only on Audio! A new horror novel from the bestselling author of The Only Good Indians and My Heart is a Chainsaw.
A mother carries her six-year-old daughter into the tiled bathroom where the bathtub is already running, is still running, is overflowing, and for a moment the girl calms, seeing her little brother floating facedown in the water, his hair a golden halo around him, but then this mother is guiding her face-first down into that water, that, as it turns out, isn’t just water but scalding water, and eleven years later her scream is the drawer screeching out of the counter by the sink.
When high school senior Charlotte agrees to babysit the Wilbanks twins, she plans to put the six-year-olds to bed early and spend a quiet night studying: the SATs are tomorrow, and checking the Native American/Alaskan Native box on all the forms doesn’t mean jack if you choke on test day.
But tomorrow is also Halloween, and the twins are eager to show off their costumes—Ron is a nurse, in an old-fashioned white skirt-uniform, and Desi has an Authentic Squaw costume, complete with buckskin and feathered headdress. Excitement is in the air.
Charlotte’s last babysitting gig almost ended in tragedy, when her young charge sleepwalked unnoticed into the middle of the street, only to be found unharmed by Charlotte’s mother. Charlotte vows to be extra careful this time. But the house is filled with mysterious noises and secrets that only the twins understand, echoes of horrors that Charlotte gradually realizes took place in the house eleven years ago. Soon Charlotte has to admit that every babysitter’s worst nightmare has come true: they’re not alone in the house.
The Babysitter Lives is a mind-bending haunted house tale from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.
Featuring a note from the author.
Photo credit: iStock / thomas-bethge