SYNC Audiobooks Week 6

This summer, SYNC will be providing two free teen audiobooks each week from April 26th to July 25th. Each week will focus on a specific theme, pairing a classic YA title with a more modern YA title. These two titles will be available to download for free this week only (from 5/31 to 6/6) at the SYNC website. The sixth week will start on Thursday, May 31st with Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider and Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist. The theme for the sixth week is “unexpected changes.”

Narrators Khristine Hvam and James Fouhey are well cast in their dual narration of the interwoven story of Lane and Sadie. In the not-so-distant future, a virulent strain of tuberculosis is sweeping the U.S., and the two teens have been confined to a residential facility. James Fouhey portrays the newly arrived Lane, defining him by his drive, wit, and innocence. In contrast, Khristine Hvam’s Sadie is sarcastic, jaded, and angry. Most of all, she’s angry with Lane for a wrong he never committed. But it’s not long before their truer emotions emerge, and the two are delighting in first love. Then comes the announcement of a possible cure—threatening everything. The library owns this title in book format.

Narrator Pat Young delivers this audiobook about our senses and how we interpret them. Sixteen-year-old Will, blind from birth, enters a mainstream public school for the first time and, in rapid succession, finds a strong coterie of pals, discovers friendship with a bright and troubled girl who is a photographer, undergoes experimental surgery on his eyes, and faces losing his newly gained vision. Young’s voicing of the story’s cast—Will’s hovering mother, his insightful English teacher, the kids on the quiz team—enhances Sundquist’s deft characterizations. In the audio format, the accounts of Will’s world encourage listeners to reflect on their own sensory awareness. Add the well-developed romantic theme, and this is a perfect listening experience. The library owns this in book format.

Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen

Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen

Virtual twins Linc and Holly were once extremely close. But while artistic, creative Linc is her parents’ biological daughter, it’s smart, popular Holly, adopted from Ghana as a baby, who checks all the boxes of their family’s high standards for success. Linc is desperate to pursue photography and longs to be accepted for who she is, despite her surgeon mother’s constant disapproval and her growing distance from Holly. So when Linc comes up with a plan using photography to boost her performance in school, she is excited and determined to prove that her differences are assets and that she has what it takes to make her mother proud. But when a long-buried family secret comes to light, Linc must reconsider where it is she truly belongs. A powerful novel in verse about fitting in, standing out, and defining your own self-worth, The Way the Light Bends challenges the ways in which we think about success, and reminds us of all it means to be a family.

And She Was by Jessica Verdi

And She Was by Jessica Verdi

When Dara finds her birth certificate, she is puzzled to find two strange names on it, but when her mother, Mellie, reveals that she is transgender and transitioned when Dara’s biological mother died soon after Dara’s birth, Dara is stunned and angry–and she sets off with her friend Sam, in search of the grandparents she never knew existed (and who may be able to fund her tennis career), and the family secrets she can only guess at.

Honor Code by Kiersi Burkhart

Honor Code by Kiersi Burkhart

Life at the elite Edwards Academy means following the honor code to the letter. As she dreams of getting into Harvard one day, Sam Barker is willing to do anything to fit in and excel at the private high school. Even if that means enduring hazing, signing up for a sport she hates, and attending the school dance with an upperclassman she barely knows. When she is raped and nothing is done, she contacts a reporter to expose the rapist. After the reporter tells her parents, Sam finds herself facing him in court.

SYNC Audiobooks Week 5

This summer, SYNC will be providing two free teen audiobooks each week from April 26th to July 25th. Each week will focus on a specific theme, pairing a classic YA title with a more modern YA title. These two titles will be available to download for free this week only (from 5/24 to 5/31) at the SYNC website. The fifth week will start on Thursday, May 24th with When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and Baker’s Magic by Diane Zahler. The theme for the fifth week is “twists of fate.”

Teenaged Dimple Shah is focused on winning Insomnia Con, an intense summer app-development program. To her dismay, she finds herself partnered with straitlaced Rishi Patel, the boy her parents have arranged for her to marry. Narrators Vikas Adam and Sneha Mathan create a rapid-fire repertoire through alternating chapters as these two unlikely teens work together–and realize that, ultimately, they might want more than the grand prize. In a charming and cinematic performance, Adam and Mathan work with a variety of perfectly matched accents to bring the world around Dimple and Rishi alive. Like the characters, the narrators’ chemistry bursts with energy, matching the story’s drama, humor, high jinks–and even a Bollywood dance number. This lovable YA romance is a full-on immersive listen. The library owns both the book and the CD audiobook.

A full cast works together seamlessly in this charming magical adventure. As the story’s narrator, Tavia Gilbert is crisply engaged, and she’s spirited as young Bee, the baker’s apprentice. Kenneth Cavett, with his rich and resonant voice, is a standout as kindly baker Master Bouts, and Robin Miles is a hoot as pirate captain Zafira Zay. The care in the production is evident—the rest of the cast adds vocal personality to characters both large and small, and mood-appropriate snippets of music begin and end each chapter, helping to sweep listeners along. Scenes in the bakery are rendered with as much attention to detail as those on the high seas or in the mage’s castle—beware of listening while hungry. The library owns both the book and the CD audiobook.