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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 drowned... Read more »

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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

“This is sisterhood. This is Black mermaid magic. This is powerful and beautiful and relevant. Fantasy at its finest because it fights for something bigger. A Song Below Water had me mesmerized from the off, unable to unplug from the tapestry of mythos and social justice and current events that Morrow has so tantalizingly woven. There is nothing small about Tavia or Effie, though the world would like them to be. And there is nothing simple about their story, which courses with intrigue a wide array of equally individualistic characters (Love me some Gargy). Read this gem. Then go out and speak siren.”

Second Star to the Right image Britt, Second Star to the Right
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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 about... Read more »

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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

A Novel

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

Mexican Gothic

“Best book I have read this year. An amazing, gripping tale of a young woman in a strange old house. It's an epic ghost story mixed with some element for "Girl with all the Gifts." Compelling characters and a twist ending that will have you in the edge of your seat until the very end. 10/10 would recommend. ”

Leaves Book and Tea Shop image Tiffany, Leaves Book and Tea Shop
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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

“Majumdar’s suspenseful narrative holds a mirror up to society at large, reflecting the lies people tell themselves to rationalize sacrificing morality for personal gain. Unintended consequences from an impulsive social media post explode against a backdrop of deep economic insecurities and centuries-old prejudices. A searing debut, this novel is timely and timeless. It packs a punch way above its weight. Brilliant.”

Penguin Bookshop image Lisa Johnson, Penguin Bookshop
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Such a Fun Age

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

Such a Fun Age

“A racial comedy of manners for the digital age, Such a Fun Age is a hilarious and cringe-inducing look at white people trying to do the right thing: badly, and for all the wrong reasons. Nicole Lewis's reading is a dazzling feat: expertly code-switching between the voice Emira uses with her friends, to the voice she uses with her boss, Alix, to the voice her boss's suburban black friend, Tamara, uses with Alix, to the voice Tamara uses with Emira. I don't think I would have enjoyed this book half as much without this effortlessly nuanced narration.”

The Book Table image Rachel, The Book Table
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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 a beautifully written, stunning, and scandalous story about two identical black twin girls, one who runs away from home at age 16. And then their lives completely shift, as one continues living her life as a Black woman, and the other that tries to pass herself off as white. This novel came at just the right time, in the middle of the Black Lives Matter protests and racial unrest in the United States. Brit Bennett has done a brilliant job with her novel! It is compelling and the audiobook on Libro.fm is exceptional!”

BookBar image Marilyn, BookBar
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