Whether you’re road-tripping or just need some entertainment while you fold pool towels, these audiobooks are smart, funny, and compelling – they make the perfect soundtrack to your summer!
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid is somewhat hit or miss for me (although I’ve read every single one of her books – this one is my very favorite), and I’ll admit that initially I wasn’t particularly compelled by the cover or description of Daisy Jones and the Six. And then within 10 minutes of turning on the audiobook, I was ALL IN and basically started running at night just so I could listen to another 30 minutes. It’s the story of a rock music in the seventies, and it’s hard to remember that it’s a novel, not non-fiction. It feels THAT real. The main players are Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne. Daisy has grown up in LA, mostly unsupervised and by her early 20s, she’s getting noticed both because she’s so spectacularly gorgeous and because her voice is incredible. Together they’re a powerful combo and a producer quickly realizes that another powerful combo would be Daisy Jones and the band that’s topping the chart, The Six, lead by Billy Dunne. It’s told through interviews with Daisy and Billy and other members of the band, family members and friends. It could be wildly confusing, but somehow it just WORKS. And the audio version is incredible. Warning that this one does have some swearing and off-screen sex (on par with her other books).
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
I listened to Hattie Big Sky a decade ago and it’s still one of my favorite books. Hattie is sixteen and an orphan and her aunt, tired of caring for her, plans to send her off to be a maid. Instead, she discovers that she’s been left a homestead in Montana by an uncle who just passed away and she is determined to prove up. Proving up requires that, within the next nine months, she pay $37 in filing fees, plant 40 acres of the land, and put up several miles of fencing. It’s a serious job for a sixteen year old girl on her own, but Hattie is determined to make it happen. Set against the backdrop of World War I with a determined heroine, this book is a complete winner. The sequel, Hattie Ever After, is also excellent.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
I’m not the first person to recommend Michelle Obama’s autobiography (it’s only been topping the charts for half a year now), but when it comes to great audiobooks, it feels impossible to leave this one off. Starting in her childhood and ending shortly after her husband finishes his eight years as president, hearing her tell her story in her own words is compelling and powerful. Plus, it’s such an interesting look at the US political system, balancing career and marriage and motherhood, and life in the White House. If you haven’t read it yet, this summer is the perfect time, and, bonus, it’s long enough to keep you going for a LONG road trip.
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
Pretty much everyone would be devastated to wake up and find their leg had been amputated after a car crash, but for Jessica it’s particularly painful because she’s a runner. Now her dreams of landing a running scholarship or even just running through her neighborhood seem gone forever. And running is only part of the problem, as she adapts to maneuvering a wheelchair, her parents struggle with the enormous medical bills associated with the accident and her relationships that now all have to be recalibrated after this enormous life change. I admit that it took me a little bit to warm to the narrator on the audiobook of The Running Dream but by the end, I was SO glad I’d listened to this one instead of reading it in on paper.
CHECK OUT THE OTHER CATEGORIES ON THE 2019 SUMMER READING GUIDE:
BOOKS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Want a printable version of the Summer Reading Guide? It has all the book titles, covers and descriptions in one handy place, plus a single page with all 24 titles that you can print out and take with you to the library or bookstore or use to mark off the books as you read them! Just pop your email in the form below and it’ll come right to your inbox: