Odyssey Award Update #3

I’ve been making steady progress on my Odyssey Award challenge. I only have five left to read, but several are part of a series and two are also graphic novels. I decided for the ones that are part of a series I’m going to listen through the entire series leading up to the title that won the award. I started with Artemis Fowl and will work through His Dark Materials (for The Book of Dust) and Harry Potter (for Deathly Hallows) next. For the graphic novels, I want to listen to them alongside the art so I have to figure out the best time that I have to do that.

I also listened to all of the 2022 winners and nominees! I appreciate that this year they awarded a winner for both children’s books and YA separately. Since audiobooks are more popular and usually better done than in the past, it makes sense that a picture book and full-length novel shouldn’t be up against each other for the award.

Anyways, here are a few of the Odyssey Award winners and nominees I listened to recently and enjoyed!

Bloody Jack and sequels by L.A. Meyer: For some reason, the first and second books in this series and the fourth are Odyssey Award nominees, but not book three. I decided to listen to book three anyways. The narrator, Katherine Kellgren, is amazing for this type of story. She makes it so much fun. I love pirate-y, nautical stories so these are exciting to read. My only issue is they are so long and there are so many of them (12 total!) and each one seems to end on a cliffhanger. I don’t know if I’ll continue—maybe in the future?—but I am curious what will happen next to Jacky Faber!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: I’ve read the book before, but the audiobook is so much better. Bahni Turpin does such a great job capturing Starr’s voice and life. I wish I had only listened to the audiobook of this one. Since it was so good, I decided to listen to the prequel, Concrete Rose, and Thomas’s other book, On the Come Up (which is also set in Garden Heights). Both are great as well, but I found myself most intrigued and moved by Concrete Rose, which was a complete surprise. Somebody make a TV show about Maverick’s life, please!.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I’ve also read this one before, and it’s not my favorite type of story. It’s a bit too sad and cynical for me, but the narrator, Kate Rudd, does an excellent job. There is just something about the way she talks and breathes that captures Hazel Grace’s voice so well. I enjoyed this story more as an audiobook.

Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abathi: Oh my goodness. I adored this book. It has the perfect balance of high school cringe and heartfelt moments about real issues. It reminds me of the show Never Have I Ever in the best possible way. The narrator, Mitra Jouhari, did a fantastic job with Parvin’s voice. I need more books for the upper middle school, early high school age group.

When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris: I did not expect to become so invested in this story, but I did. The narrator (Preston Butler III), the characters, the plot—it blew me away. I learned a lot about people who are different than me through this book. So good.

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley: I’ve read this book before and adored it. The audiobook only made it better. Jayne Entwistle did such a fantastic job narrating and giving personality to all the characters. Highly recommend this book either way, but the audiobook deserves this award.


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