Our Top Staff Picks of 2019 So Far

We’re just past the halfway point for 2019 and so far there have been so many fabulous listens both classics and new releases. In honor of National Book Lovers Day, we wanted to share some of our favorite Audiobooks.com Staff Picks from 2019.

From uplifting self-help bestsellers to fantasy oldies, but goodies, the staff at Audiobooks.com have been keeping their ears busy with some great audiobooks and, may I say, some stellar reviews to boot.


Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Jennifer BealsJudy GreerBenjamin BrattPablo Schreiber
Staff Pick by: Pam

Now a Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club alumni, Daisy Jones & The Six tells a compelling story of one of the biggest (fictional) bands of the seventies and what lead to their split at the height of their popularity.

In her review, Pam describes how Taylor Jenkins Reid paints such a vivid picture that she had to keep reminding herself that this wasn’t an actual band from the seventies. Read more about what made this such a buzz-worthy listen this year in Pam’s full review.

Read more and sample the audio →


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin
Staff Pick by: Lena

On the Come Up follows Bri, a sixteen year old who, an aspiring rapper. With the odds stacked against her and her family, she no longer just wants to make it, she has to.

In Lena’s review, she dives into how she came to love On the Come Up and how it should be equally revered as Thomas debut, The Hate U Give. Click here to read Lena’s full review.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Farm by Joanne Ramos, narrated by Fran De Leon
Staff Pick by: Chrissy

In The Farm, Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is searching for a better future and finds it at Golden Oaks (the Farm). Now, pregnant and vulnerable, she grows desperate to reconnect with her life on the outside.

Chrissy was drawn into this listen from the eye-catching cover and I don’t blame her! Read more about what made Ramos The Farm stick with Chrissy long after she was finished reading it.

Read more and sample the audio →


Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Lenny Henry
Staff Pick by: Graeme

After Fat Charlie Nancy’s dad drops dead on a karaoke stage, Fat Charlie finds out that not only was his dad a god, but he also has a brother he never knew about.

Graeme loved this listen from Gaimanclick here to find out why!

Read more and sample the audio →


Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow by E. K. Johnston, narrated by Catherine Taber
Staff Pick by: Jennifer

In E. K. Johnston‘s second Star Wars novel, Queen’s Shadow, we are reunited with Padmé Naberrie, “Queen Amidala” of Naboo. When she resigns from her position she is asked to become Naboo’s representative for the Galactic Senate. Now, Padmé must navigate her new role and all of the politics that come with it.

Jennifer’s review goes deeper into why this story is so important when it comes to Star Wars canon. Click here to read her review.

Read more and sample the audio →


Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, narrated by Rachel Hollis
Staff Pick by: Caitlin

In this self-help book, Rachel Hollis aims to inspire women to break the pattern of defining themselves in light of other people, and she challenges them to pursue their dreams.

In Caitlin’s review, she chats about how Girl, Stop Apologizing spoke to her and helped her overcome her own self-doubt. Read Catilin’s full review here.

Read more and sample the audio →


Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark, narrated by Paul Giamatti, Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark
Staff Pick by: Kylie

This debut novel from the hosts of the #1 hit podcast My Favorite Murder touches on important cultural issues while also overlaying never-before-heard personal stories from Kilgariff and Hardstarks pasts. This listen was so fun and made me laugh, cry, and feel inspired. Click here to read my full review.

Read more and sample the audio →


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Enrich Your Life With These Listens!

In celebration of Audiobook Month, we want to focus on the many ways that audiobooks add to our lives and make them better. Last week we chatted about how audiobooks can help you stay entertained. This week we’re highlighting how you can enrich your life with some noteworthy listens.

Why not give one of these life-changing titles a listen and add a little enrichment to your day? To see our full “Books That Make You Think” book list, click here. Also, don’t forget to visit our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram accounts, and use the hashtag #IListenFor to let us know why you love audiobooks. Lastly, don’t forget to enter our contest for a chance to win the ultimate audiobook lovers prize pack!

Inspiring Listens

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, narrated by Karissa Vacker

Follow five different women in a small Oregon fishing town in a time when abortion is, again, illegal in America and every embryo is given citizenship under a “Personhood Amendment.” How do these women handle this new way of life and the challenges that come along with it?

Read more and sample the audio →


Room by Emma Donoghue, narrated by Suzanne TorenEllen ArcherRobert PetkoffMichal Friedman

Room is all five-year-old Jack has ever known, it’s his whole world. In reality, Room is where his Ma has been held captive for the last seven years by Old Nick. Room was made into an award-winning motion picture in 2015.

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Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor, narrated by Yetide Badaki

Kabu Kabu means “unofficial taxi,” which is fitting for this collection of stories from award-winning author, Nnedi Okorafor. Each short-story (or novella) included in this collection will take you to a new and exciting part of Okorafor‘s imagination.

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Award Winners


There There by Tommy Orange, narrated by Alma CuervoKyla GarciaDarrell DennisShaun Taylor-Corbett

There There is the debut novel from Tommy Orange, which follows 12 different Native American characters. Each character’s story is beautifully interwoven throughout the novel and it all coalesces at the Big Oakland Powwow. There There received the Gold Medal for First Fiction from the California Book Awards, the National Book Critics Circle Award’s “John Leonard Prize,”the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, and was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, narrated by Bahni Turpin 

Cora is working as a slave at a cotton plantation in Georgia when she meets Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia. He tells her all about the underground railroad, which, in this case, is an actual railroad that runs beneath the ground. In this Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novel, follow Cora as she discovers a new world at every train stop on her quest for true freedom.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin

Living in a poor neighborhood while attending a fancy prep school already has sixteen-year-old Starr Carter teetering between two worlds. This fragile balance is shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Starr must then decide between speaking out for Khalil and staying quiet for her and her family’s safety. The Hate U Give not only won countless awards, but the audiobook also received the Audie Awards for Best Young Adult and Best Female Narrator.

Read more and sample the audio →


Diverse Listens


The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S. Laskar, narrated by Jeed Saddy

The Atlas of Reds and Blues features a narrator known only as “The Mother” who moves with her family to Atlanta to start fresh but finds that racism is still running rampant. Eventually, a police raid of her house ends with her being shot. As she lies bleeding, she replays her life and tries to find out how she got there. Drawing inspiration from the author’s own experience of a raid on her home, The Atlas of Reds and Blues tackles what life is like as a second-generation American and a woman of color.

Read more and sample the audio →


Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala, narrated by Julia WhelanPrentice Onayemi

Speak No Evil follows the story of Niru who appears to have it all; however, he has a secret—he’s queer. Only his friend, Meredith, knows and keeps this secret. Once Niru’s father discovers his son is queer and Meredith is unable to provide support for him due to her own emotional stress, Niru’s future and everything he expected is thrown into chaos.

Read more and sample the audio →


Training School For Negro Girls by Camille Acker, narrated by Bahni TurpinJanina Edwards 

A compelling debut from Camille Acker, Training School for Negro Girls is a collection of short stories told from the perspectives of women of color about race, gender, family, identity, and more. These women navigate the pressures of society while also challenging the stereotypes of what it means to be black.

Read more and sample the audio →

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STAFF PICK: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Title: On the Come Up
Author: Angie Thomas
Narrator: Bahni Turpin 

Two years ago, when I was attending a publishing program in New York City with a big group of book-minded people, one debut had made a particularly big splash. Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give dominated conversations amongst professors and classmates alike; I simply couldn’t escape the hype around it. However, it wasn’t until my roommate left several teary Snapchat messages to me a year later praising the book to the heavens that I finally picked it up. Needless to say, I am fully on the Angie Thomas bandwagon now.

The Hate U Give was such an emotional and eye-opening book for me—and many, many others I’m sure—that it almost seems unfair that On the Come Up would have to live in the shadow of Thomas’s phenomenal debut. But, no matter how high expectations were for her follow up novel, Thomas has shattered them again. On the Come Up absolutely stands on its own, and it is already making huge ripples with Fox—the studio that brought The Hate U Give to the big screen—picking up the film rights.

On the Come Up begins after the events of The Hate U Give, with Garden Heights still reeling in the aftermath of protests and riots. Sixteen-year-old Brianna “Bri” Jackson yearns to be a rapper. She breathes flow and rhymes and dreams about her chance to break out when she should be focusing on ACT prep. Bri has lived a life marred by violence and struggles: her father, the legendary underground rapper Lawless, was murdered when she was a child; her mother, who battled addiction and has been eight years clean, just lost her job; and her brother, Trey, can only find menial work at a pizza shop despite graduating from college with honors.

Rapping for Bri is not just an avenue for honest expression, but also a way to lift her family out of poverty. When she is inspired to pen a bitter song after a particularly violent and targeted incident with a security guard at her school, Bri thinks her time in the spotlight has finally come—and it has, but not in the way she expected.

On the Come Up highlights the difficulty and frustrations of speaking the truth, your truth, in a world full of people who are bent on policing your speech. As Bri’s song goes viral, her words are twisted and used as evidence that she really is an aggressive hoodlum—an image that many around her want her to adopt.

This is a book that demands not just to be read, but also to be heard. Narrator Bahni Turpin returns with the same power and passion that she brought to The Hate U Give. Bri’s lyrics, which are already compelling on the page, are simply brought to life with Turpin’s performance. I can almost see myself standing in the garage-turned-recording studio, watching Bri speak her truths into the mic.

Thomas, who herself was a teen rapper, wrote the book for “black girls who are often made to feel as if they are somehow both too much and not enough in a world that makes wrongheaded assumptions about them.” It’s frankly remarkable that a novel so heavily entrenched in the issue of systemic racism can also be lighthearted and, at times, surprisingly funny. So, plug in your headphones, and treat yourself to a compelling, fun, and earnest story of a girl who finally gets to step into the spotlight.

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill.

But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons. 

Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.  

Read more and sample the audio.

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

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