Sync Audiobooks: Week 5

Sync Audiobooks bannerThis summer, SYNC will be providing two free teen audiobooks each week from April 25th to July 31st. Each week will focus on a specific theme, pairing complete downloads of two high interest titles for teens 13+. The fifth week starts today with A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen and Tear Down This Wall: A City, a President, and the Speech that Ended the Cold War by Romesh Ratnesar. These two titles will be available to download for free this week only (from 5/23 to 5/29) at the SYNC website. The theme for this week is “the Berlin Wall: 1961-1989: Walls aren’t new—hear the story of the 20th century’s most famous wall.”

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen audiobookWith the rise of the Berlin Wall, Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city. But one day on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Gerta concludes that her father wants her and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom? The library owns this in book, CD audiobook, eAudiobook, eBook, and Hoopla eAudiobook.

Tear Down This Wall by Romesh Ratnesar audiobookOn June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan addressed a crowd of 20,000 people in West Berlin in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. The words he delivered that afternoon would become among the most famous in presidential history. “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate,” Reagan said. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” In this riveting and fast-paced audiobook, Romesh Ratnesar provides an account of how Reagan arrived at his defining moment and what followed from it. The audio is based on interviews with numerous former Reagan administration officials and American and German eyewitnesses to the speech, as well as recently declassified State Department documents and East German records of the president’s trip. Ratnesar provides new details about the origins of Reagan’s speech and the debate within the administration about how to issue the fateful challenge to Gorbachev. Tear Down This Wall re-creates the charged atmosphere surrounding Reagan’s visit to Berlin and explores the speech’s role in bringing about the fall of the Berlin Wall less than two years later. At the heart of the story is the relationship between two giants of the late twentieth century: Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Departing from the view that Reagan “won” the Cold War, Ratnesar demonstrates that both Reagan and Gorbachev played indispensable roles in bringing about the end of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry. It was the trust that Reagan and Gorbachev built in each other that allowed them finally to overcome the suspicions that had held their predecessors back. Calling on Gorbachev to tear down the wall, in Reagan’s mind, might actually encourage him to do it. Reagan’s speech in Berlin was more than a good sound bite. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we can now see the speech as the event that marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

Sync Audiobooks: Week 4

Sync Audiobooks bannerThis summer, SYNC will be providing two free teen audiobooks each week from April 25th to July 31st. Each week will focus on a specific theme, pairing complete downloads of two high interest titles for teens 13+. The fourth week started 5/16 with Spill by Leigh Fondakowski and Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle. These two titles will be available to download for free this week only (from 5/16 to 5/23) at the SYNC website. The theme for this week is “in times of disaster: Natural or man-made disasters can change what “home” means forever.”

Spill by Leigh Fondakowski audiobookListeners follow a documentary-style play as the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill unfolds. On April 20, 2010, British Petroleum’s flagship drilling rig exploded, collapsed, and spread millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. Earlier, tension over safety, the limits of technology, and company politics had threatened to erupt among the workers when the BP brass insisted on bending regulations to speed production. Told through dramatized interviews, reminiscences, and court proceedings, this program focuses on the whirlwind of emotions faced by the rig workers and their families in the wake of the tragedy that took 11 lives and cost billions of dollars to clean up. The play acts as a cautionary tale while also pointing out that new oil drilling resumed in the gulf less than six months later.

Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle audiobookFrom award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes a new young adult novel, Meet the Sky, a story of love, letting go, and the unstoppable power of nature. It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie’s dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie’s older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all. With nothing but pain in her past, all Sophie wants is to plan for the future—keep the family business running, get accepted to veterinary school, and protect her mom and sister from another disaster. But when a hurricane forms off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and heads right toward their island, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control. After she gets separated from her family during the evacuation, Sophie finds herself trapped on the island with the last person she’d have chosen—the reckless and wild Finn Sanders, who broke her heart freshman year. As they struggle to find safety, Sophie learns that Finn has suffered his own heartbreak; but instead of playing it safe, Finn’s become the kind of guy who goes surfing in the eye of the hurricane. He may be the perfect person to remind Sophie how to embrace life again, but only if their newfound friendship can survive the storm. The library owns this in book format, eAudiobook format, and eBook format.

Sync Audiobooks: Week 3

Sync Audiobooks bannerThis summer, SYNC will be providing two free teen audiobooks each week from April 25th to July 31st. Each week will focus on a specific theme, pairing complete downloads of two high interest titles for teens 13+. The third week starts today with The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee and Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. These two titles will be available to download for free this week only (from 5/9 to 5/15) at the SYNC website. The theme for this week is “legends come to life: What do you do when ancient myths invade the here and now?”

audiobook The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. YeeOnce Genie Lo’s only concerns were college applications—that is, until the ancient Chinese Monkey King leapt upon her Silicon Valley school desk in the form of the scandalously handsome rebel Quentin Sun. Narrator Nancy Wu uses ample snark and deadpan humor as Genie balances her quest for the Ivies with Quentin’s quest to harness her newfound superpowers to defeat an army of Chinese demons. Wu is serious when Genie ponders the stereotypes of her Chinese-American culture, but entertainment is her primary goal. She humorously portrays Genie’s stereotypical Asian mother as she fawns over Quentin, thinking him part of a socially desirable family, rather than the furry-tailed rabble-rouser from another millennium that he is. Imagine mythical Chinese characters as comic superheroes and villains, and you’ll have the vibe of this campy adventure. The library owns this in book format.

audiobook The Shadow of the Fox by Julie KagwaThis YA fantasy celebrates Japanese folklore and the legend of the Kitsune. Subtle cultural influences abound in the descriptions, but what really brings the atmosphere to life are the slightly accented performances of narrators Emily Woo Zeller and Brian Nishii. While Joy Osmanski’s portrayal of main character Yumeko is sweet and earnest, making her more relatable, her American accent distracts listeners from the setting of the story in a way that the other two performers’ deliveries do not. While the simplistic dialogue and slow pace of all the narrators make the story come across as meant for a much younger audience, the plot has plenty of exciting demon-battling moments to keep listeners’ attention. The library owns this title in book and eaudiobook formats.

Sync Audiobooks: Week 2

Sync Audiobooks bannerThis summer, SYNC will be providing two free teen audiobooks each week from April 25th to July 31st. Each week will focus on a specific theme, pairing complete downloads of two high interest titles for teens 13+. The second week will start on Thursday, May 2nd with Othello by William Shakespeare and You by Charles Benoit. These two titles will be available to download for free this week only (from 5/2 to 5/9) at the SYNC website. The theme for this week is “the betrayal of drama: betray a friend, and they may become a deadly enemy.”

Othello by William Shakespeare audiobook Shakespeare’s Othello is one of his finest and most famous tragedies. This highly acclaimed performance, which ran between November 2007 and February 2008 at the Donmar Warehouse in London, features Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Moor Othello, Ewan McGregor as the scheming Iago, and Kelly Reilly as the gentle Desdemona. This recording features music written specifically for the stage production which enjoyed huge success – each performance was a sell-out. The library owns this in multiple book and ebook and eaudiobook versions.

You by Charles Benoit audiobookCharles Benoit has created a stunner of a debut novel, one of the most anticipated titles of the fall season. Told entirely in the second person, the story quickly immerses us in the world of bright, disaffected Kyle Chase, who once showed great potential but by tenth grade has become a genuine slacker. With uncanny insight, crafting what can only be called YA Noir, Benoit takes us deep inside the mind of a young man on a collision course with catastrophe. Of the print version, Publisher’s Weekly said in a starred review: “Disturbing content blends with skillful, fast-paced writing, adding a thriller spin to the novel’s vicious realism.” Now David Baker – narrator of the highly acclaimed recording of Graceling – offers a reading that captures and builds the sense of loss and dread that makes this novel both disturbing and irresistible. The library owns this title in ebook format.

Sync Audiobooks: Week 1

Sync Audiobooks bannerThis summer, SYNC will be providing two free teen audiobooks each week from April 25th to July 31st. Each week will focus on a specific theme, pairing complete downloads of two high interest titles for teens 13+. The first week will start on Thursday, April 25th with Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones and Swing by Kwame AlexanderMary Rand Hess. These two titles will be available to download for free this week only (from 4/25 to May 1st) at the SYNC website. The theme for the first week is “the tensions of friendship: friendship matters—whether you’re close to home or on the run.”

Blink & Caution audiobookBlink and Caution, both separately on the run, get caught up in a kidnapping by dint of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This gripping crime story is told in alternating points of view—second person for Blink and third person for Caution—a technique that is especially effective in the audio format. Running through Blink’s mind is the abusive voice of his stepdaddy, telling him “how it’s going to be.” MacLeod Andrews shifts tone only slightly from sneering to serious to relate Caution’s side of the scheme. Two voices, both narrated by Andrews, create a story so fraught with woe, guilt, terror, and tension that the listener can’t help rooting for the teens to escape the situation they’re in. The library owns this in ebook format as well.

Swing audiobookWith a poet’s passion, Kwame Alexander narrates his novel-in-verse about high school friends Noah and Walt. Alexander’s strong connection to his characters shines in his enthusiastic delivery and clear distinctions between the boys’ personalities. Noah, cautious and reserved, pines for a girl who sees him only as a pal; Walt, vibrant with jazz running through his veins, wants only to make the varsity baseball team. Over ice cream cones and lattes, the boys support each other’s dreams and sometimes squabble like brothers. With measured emotion, Alexander drives home the full impact of this contemporary coming-of-age story as the realities of the broader world burst Noah and Walt’s sheltered upper-middle-class bubble. Be prepared to listen to Alexander’s heartfelt performance all in one go. The library owns this title in book and CD audiobook formats.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does, or does not, say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

On September fifth, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They‘re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they‘re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure, to live a lifetime in a single day.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: Humanity has conquered all those things and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life, and they are commanded to do so in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe, a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.