The Contenders for the Best Audiobooks of the Year

Posted by Marie on March 23, 2018


This post is brought to you by Audible.

Calling all audiobook fans! Curious about the year's best-of-the-best listens? We've got you covered. Below is a roundup of the 2018 Audie Award finalists selected by the Audio Publishers Association, the premier authority in the audiobook industry. Up first are the five contenders for Audiobook of the Year, a few of which have already been chosen by our readers as some of the best recommendations for first-time listeners.

We also included the finalists for Best Fiction, Best Nonfiction, and Best Young Adult. For more information on other finalists and categories, check out their official website. The winners will be announced on May 31. Which contenders will you be rooting for? Don't forget to add your favorites to your Want to Read shelf!



Finalists for Audiobook of the Year

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The APA judges weigh in: "Trevor Noah's formidable storytelling skills combined with his facility with various South African dialects and accents immerse listeners in this captivating account of his coming of age during the apartheid era."


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The APA judges weigh in: "A rousing military science fiction adventure read with humor and gusto by R.C. Bray, chock-full of compelling characters from across the galaxy."


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The APA judges weigh in: "Claire Danes' flawless performance of this dystopian modern classic is supported by additional material written for the audio by author Margaret Atwood, extending the original work."


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The APA judges weigh in: "In a stunning choral performance featuring 166 voices, Saunders' innovative novel is transformed into an auditory experience unlike any other, revealing President Lincoln's grief after his son's death."


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The APA judges weigh in: "Paula Poundstone infuses the story of her career as a comedian and her experiences as a parent with self-deprecating humor and sharp wit, framed by her search for personal happiness."


Finalists for Best Fiction

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Written by Wray Delaney and narrated by Rachel Atkins.


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Written by Fredrik Backman and narrated by Marin Ireland.


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Written by Gail Honeyman and narrated by Cathleen McCarron.


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Written by Abby Fabiaschi and narrated by Susan Bennett, Dan Bittner, and Therese Plummer.


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Written by Nancy Peacock and narrated by J.D. Jackson.


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Written by Lisa See and narrated by Ruthie Ann Miles.


Finalists for Best Nonfiction

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Written and narrated by documentary filmmaker Jon Ronson.


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Finalists for Best Young Adult

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Written by Libba Bray and narrated by January LaVoy.


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Written by Francisco X. Stork and narrated by Roxana Ortega and Christian Barillas.


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Written by Angie Thomas and narrated by Bahni Turpin.


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Written and narrated by Newbery Award winner Kwame Alexander.


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Written by Mitali Perkins and narrated by Sneha Mathan, Shivali Bhammer, Priya Ayyar, and others.


Which audiobook finalists are you most excited about? Let's us know in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
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Comments Showing 1-32 of 32 (32 new)

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ToniHiggsReviews Haven't read or listened to any of those.


message 2: by Katie (new)

Katie Boyer YES TREVOR NOAH!!

Also didn't know Elizabeth Warren narrated her book, very cool!


message 3: by Val (new)

Val Tried listening to Lincoln in the Bardo but couldn't follow because of the footnotes; switched to an eBook.

I would nominate Sing, Unburied, Sing as an outstanding performance in Audiobook. The readers did a great job, particularly the woman who read Leonie's part.


message 5: by Meghan (new)

Meghan I read American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West (rcd my copy from netgalley). I haven't heard the audio but can recommend the book. I'm currently reading & listening to Born a Crime. I prefer the audio.


message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine I would not recommend Lincoln in the Bardo as an audiobook. Due to the many, many voices, the footnotes, and the short chapters, reading this book in hardcopy form makes it easier.


message 7: by Okir (new)

Okir Looking forward to listening to Columbus Day and The Handmaid's Tale. Glad they're both on the list!


message 8: by Jami (new)

Jami Trevor Noah for the win!!! I can't imagine reading it. He does fantastic impersonations and you have to hear him to fully enjoy the humor.


message 9: by D_Fox (new)

D_Fox Christine wrote: "I would not recommend Lincoln in the Bardo as an audiobook. Due to the many, many voices, the footnotes, and the short chapters, reading this book in hardcopy form makes it easier."
I would say the same, yes...


message 10: by Char (new)

Char Blackwater: The Complete Caskey Family Saga This audio belongs on this list.


message 11: by Michael (new)

Michael Perkins Christine wrote: "I would not recommend Lincoln in the Bardo as an audiobook. Due to the many, many voices, the footnotes, and the short chapters, reading this book in hardcopy form makes it easier."

I read the book in hardcopy and loved it. But I understand there are 166 voices that I would imagine would be extremely confusing to try to follow on an audiobook.


message 12: by Jenny Baker (new)

Jenny Baker I'm not a fan of the audiobook for Lincoln in the Bardo. I really don't get why that audiobook is nominated for an award. I LOVED the narration of The Hate U Give! That's an award-winning performance!


message 13: by Zohal (new)

Zohal Trevor Noah's memoir was one of the best audiobooks I listened to. Additionally, I have been wanting to get my hands on the special edition audiobook of The Handmaid's Tale.


message 14: by Hamda (new)

Hamda I only listened to one of those. The Tea girl of hummingbird lane was really good and well preformed!

Which is why it'll probably not win...


message 15: by Midelaye (new)

Midelaye I'm surprised that the Waking Gods audiobook isn't on this list - it's probably the most outstanding audiobook performance and editing I've ever heard.


♥☆SℓιM☆♥ Haven't read any of these but I would like to read "The Hate U Give
" and "Solo"


message 17: by Marta (new)

Marta Born A Crime is the best audiobook I have ever listened to, hands down. I have been recommending it to everyone. Absolutely amazing story, and his delivery is superb. He is a showman, and he loves his mom.


message 18: by Kinga (new)

Kinga Lincoln in the Bardo was the best book I read in 2017 (in fact, the best book I have read for a long time). But. I think it is almost impossible to follow it first time as an audiobook. I would recommend it as a second read(=re-read) of the novel, when we know what is happening, and how everything happens, i.e. we are familiar with the structure of the book. THEN, I assume, would be a great fun to listen to the gazillion (famous and less famous) voices.


message 19: by Regina (new)

Regina Hunter I think that Alias Grace should be up here. Was also by Margaret Atwood, an amazingly read book - gives you chills down your spine.


message 20: by Sally (new)

Sally taylor Val wrote: "Tried listening to Lincoln in the Bardo but couldn't follow because of the footnotes; switched to an eBook.

I would nominate Sing, Unburied, Sing as an outstanding performance in Audiobook. The r..."


I listened to Lincoln in Bardo on audio too, but got lost, so I read along with the book,, I honestly think you need both to get the whole impact of that book..


message 21: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 24, 2018 08:35AM) (new)

The Last Jedi Audiobook of The Novelization HAS To Be on This List :D


message 22: by Dani (new)

Dani I only read two audio books from this list.
The first is The Handmaid's tale, but I actually preferred Joanna David's narration.

I didn't like "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" as much as the majority of its readers, but Cathleen McCarron's narration was indeed very good.


message 23: by Susan Aldridge (new)

Susan Aldridge I've only read Eleanor Elephant is Completely Fine out of this list and very much enjoyed it.


message 24: by Lisa (new)

Lisa I read and listened to the audiobook of Lincoln in the Bardo at the same time. I think it's one of the most powerful books I've ever read and listened to. I think I would have found either one, without the other, to be confusing, but with both, I would have given them 10 stars. I'll never forget this book.


message 25: by J. (new)

J. Black I listened to Lincoln in the Bardo and thought it was brilliant. I know many people didn't like it because the structure with the footnotes can seem a bit dry, and I can understand that. But if you hang in, it all gets more familiar and as it progresses you really get caught-up in the narration. After listening, I couldn't imagine reading it being as rich. I think it's a personal call, which you may like best--as is the book itself. People either seem to hate it or love it---no middle ground. Does take some commitment at the beginning, as it is not plot driven.


message 26: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin None of these fancy me at all....

Will take a pass on them.


message 27: by Marilee (new)

Marilee Christine wrote: "I would not recommend Lincoln in the Bardo as an audiobook. Due to the many, many voices, the footnotes, and the short chapters, reading this book in hardcopy form makes it easier."
I agree. There are some books that while excellent, are not ideal for listening and this is one. I tried listening, got very confused, took the book out of the library and was enthralled. I'm really surprised this made the audio list, but suspect it's because the book itself was praised and put on many "best" lists.


message 28: by DaNae (new)

DaNae Katie wrote: "YES TREVOR NOAH!!

Also didn't know Elizabeth Warren narrated her book, very cool!"


Both are excellent, and couldn't have been read by anyone else.


message 29: by Sophy (new)

Sophy I recently listened to The Hate U Give and was completely blown away by Turpin's performance. It was nothing short of brilliant.


message 30: by Julia (new)

Julia I found the audio of Lincoln in the Bardo hard to follow, tho poetic. I may try the print edition, maybe not.


message 31: by Ann (new)

Ann Kling I loved Lincoln in the Bardo. At first it was hard to follow. But once I understood what was happening, it became easy and fascinating. One of my all time favorite audiobooks.


message 32: by Margie (new)

Margie Weil I've read half of these. Of your list, Trevor Noah was the best in my view. I would add The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn, which was one of the best narrations I've ever heard.


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