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Summer listening

These recent speculative fiction favorites are now available as audiobooks — just in time for summer, when teens may be seeking escapist vacation listening or entertainment on that epic road trip with friends.

In Kristin Cashore’s Jane, Unlimited, recently bereaved Jane is unexpectedly invited to spend the weekend at a mysterious island mansion — and from there a seemingly modern-gothic tale splinters into five distinctly different story lines. Narrator Rebecca Soler maintains Jane’s earnest and bewildered voice as she navigates each course of increasingly bizarre events in all of the protagonist’s possible futures. (Listening Library, 12 years and up)

Author Sara Crowe taps into Welsh and British folklore in her brooding supernatural tale Bone Jack. Ash hopes running in his town’s annual Stag Chase — a ritual of sacrifice and renewal — will help with his father’s debilitating trauma from war. But Mark, whose own father committed suicide after losing the family farm, plans to actually kill his opponent to restore balance to the drought-blighted land. Narrator Gareth Bennett-Ryan’s deliberate pace and distinctive Northern accent take the eerie atmosphere to the next level. (Recorded Books, 12 years and up)

In the lost city of Weep, Lazlo Strange, junior librarian and magical dreamer, meets his dream-world love Sarai, a “godspawn” and nightmare bringer. They uncover potential ways to prevent impending calamity, just to encounter more unimaginable, heartbreaking — and creative — obstacles. Steve West rises to the challenge of narrating Laini Taylor’s complex fantasy Strange the Dreamer, expertly deploying his deep and resonant voice to match the tale’s darker tone and creating an immersive listening experience. (Recorded Books, 14 years and up)

Chelsea Sedoti’s As You Wish takes place in a Nevada desert town where everyone gets a wish on his or her eighteenth birthday, and it comes true. Seventeen-year-old Eldon doesn’t know what to choose — plus, he’s convinced that most wishes have a way of turning upon people. The story takes several unexpected turns, but Brian Hutchison’s unhurried narration will keep listeners buckled in for the ride. (Recorded Books, 14 years and up)

From the June 2018 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

Katrina Hedeen About Katrina Hedeen

Katrina Hedeen is managing editor of The Horn Book Guide.

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