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Audacious August Staff Picks

Awaiting an audacious anecdote? August’s staff picks have an excellent selection of books for you to browse.

Playlist Tags: Off the Beaten Path season: summer audience: everyone

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Paola Santiago and the River of Tears

By Tehlor Kay Mejia
Narrated by: Frankie Corzo
Length: 10 hours 13 minutes

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents author Tehlor Kay Mejia and her thrilling fantasy adventure based on the Mexican legend of La Llorona (the Crying Woman).

Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It's all they've heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowne Read more »d...
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The List of Things That Will Not Change

By Rebecca Stead
Narrated by: Rachel L. Jacobs
Length: 4 hours 56 minutes

The List of Things That Will Not Change

“Rebecca Stead has written yet another layered novel about familial love in its myriad of forms. When her parents divorce, Bea is given a journal to write down things that will remain constant in her life. When her dad announces that he is marrying his boyfriend Jesse, Bea is excited to gain a sister. With the help of her notebook and her kind therapist, Bea is ahor.ble to work through her feelings (mostly her anger management ones). It's a quiet book that will resonate with Stead’s fans and hopefully garner new ones.”

Blue Willow Bookshop image Valerie, Blue Willow Bookshop
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A Song Below Water

A Novel

By Bethany C. Morrow
Narrated by: Andrea Laing & Jennifer Haralson
Length: 9 hours 23 minutes

A Song Below Water

“A Song Below Water was a great listen! The narrators were fantastic. I think teen readers will connect to Tavia and Effie's identity journeys. A standout YA fantasy!”

Brain Lair Books image Jessica, Brain Lair Books
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The Black Flamingo

By Dean Atta
Narrated by: Dean Atta
Length: 3 hours 40 minutes

The Black Flamingo

“Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London who goes to college and can't find a place to fit in, until he discovers The Drag Society. This story, told in poetry, is full of stunning language and the joy of finding your place in the world.”

Blue Willow Bookshop image Ann, Blue Willow Bookshop
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Don't Read the Comments

By Eric Smith
Narrated by: Richa Shukla Moorjani & Sunil Malhotra
Length: 8 hours 32 minutes

We all need a place to escape from the real world.

For Divya and Aaron, it’s the world of online gaming. While Divya trades her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay rent, Aaron plays as a way to fuel his own dreams of becoming a game developer – and as a way to disappear when his mom starts talking abou Read more »t...
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This Is My America

By Kim Johnson
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 9 hours 34 minutes

If you enjoyed The Hate U Give, then you’ll love This Is My America.

“This is My America depicts the effects of police brutality and corrupt prosecution practices in America. Although there are similar Young Adult books tackling racism and police brutality, This is My America distinguishes itself by focusing on the emotional, physical, and financial impact of mass incarceration on the Black family. Johnson shows how the KKK is not a piece of history long-gone, but is an organization continuing to hunt down and torture Americans of color. Johnson explores generational trauma and the danger of being complicit mainly from the perspective of Tracy’s Black family, but also touches on the generational trauma of being a raised to be a racist and the danger of being complicit in that role. These parallel stories of the white and Black family are thought provoking, without centering the white narrative. Along with the personal struggles explored throughout the book, the plot includes a mystery element as Tracy investigates who the real murderers are.

This book narrated by Bahni Turpin, one of my favorite narrators! Turpin brings such life to each of the characters in her narrations, and this book was no different. I would recommend this book (especially the audiobook!) to young adults and adults that can handle content including police encounters, off the page murder, off the page lynching, racism, Black trauma, hate crimes, and police shooting.”

Beausoleil Books image Endya, Beausoleil Books
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Mexican Gothic

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Narrated by: Frankie Corzo
Length: 10 hours 39 minutes

If you enjoyed The Castle of Otranto, then you’ll love Mexican Gothic.

“If what you loved about "Northanger Abbey" was its sly twist on the gothic romance, you're going to love this new setting for an old gem. Set in 1950's Mexico, it follows a capable but callous young woman who agrees to check on a cousin in exchange for tuition for a master's degree, then begins to discover what inspired the cousin's apparent descent into madness. A wealthy and controlling old man, a manipulative new husband? Yes... and also something very unpleasant to do with mushrooms. Think "The Girl With All the Gifts" meets "Stranger Things", with a clever surprise of a romance--not a Sleeping Beauty story--it's Beauty and the Beast, and the Beast is not whom you'd expect!”

The Haunted Bookshop image Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
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A Burning

A novel

By Megha Majumdar
Narrated by: Ulka Simone Mohanty, Vikas Adam, Priya Ayyar, Deepti Gupta, Soneela Nankani & Neil Shah
Length: 7 hours 21 minutes

A Burning

“Wonderfully read by a full cast, Megha Majumdar’s A Burning is especially relevant in the age of highly-politicized social media and government extremism.”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store
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Such a Fun Age

By Kiley Reid
Narrated by: Nicole Lewis
Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Such a Fun Age

“What a beautifully rich and nuanced book! Emira, a mid-twenties educated but slightly driftless woman is working 2 part time jobs still trying to find her passion. She find joy in her part time babysitting job, finding her three year old charge a delightfully odd little person who keeps her interested. But things turn complicated when she is asked to take her charge to the local grocery store late at night and is accosted by the store security guard and a "well meaning" patron. Accused of kidnapping and unable to leave Emira holds her dignity and stands up for herself as another patron films the incident. Emira wants nothing more than to put the incident behind her but those closest to her have other ideas of what is best for her. This novel packs an emotional punch, making us question our own motives and wondering if we really have our loved ones best interests at heart. A perfect book group pick for those who like to focus on character driven stories.”

Books & Company image Genavieve, Books & Company
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The Vanishing Half

A Novel

By Brit Bennett
Narrated by: Shayna Small
Length: 11 hours 33 minutes

The Vanishing Half

“This is an intriguing story, part family saga, part social commentary, about twin sisters whose lives diverged into two very different directions. Desiree and Stella grew up in Mallard, Louisiana, a place that didn't show up on any map and a community that in the 1960s was racist in a peculiar way: the population was almost exclusively very light-skinned African Americans, many of whom could pass for white. Fourteen years before the story begins, Desiree and Stella suddenly left home together to find work in New Orleans. Shortly afterwards, Stella disappeared without a trace. Desiree married, had a child, and in 1968 decided to return to Mallard to her mother's house to escape an abusive husband. Skipping ahead ten years to 1978, we meet Stella, who has also married and had a child, and now lives in California in an exclusively white upscale neighborhood where not even her husband knows about her African American blood. In a coincidence that the author makes seem believable, the twins' daughters meet, and Stella's secret is in danger of being exposed. Bennett's characters are well-developed and provide a clearly-drawn portrait of race, gender, and the ties that hold families and relationships together.”

Blue Willow Bookshop image Alice, Blue Willow Bookshop
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