Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors give “Earphones Awards” to the best new audio books — the listens that combine blow-you-away narrations with standout writing. BookTrib, thanks to our partnership with AudioFile, offers this month’s picks of the newest, not-to-be-missed titles. Don’t forget your earbuds!

Afterlife
by Julia Alvarez | Read by Alma Cuervo | Recorded Books

Since the recent death of her beloved husband, Antonia has been “walking a narrow path through the loss” of love and identity. Alma Cuervo’s warm, even-keeled performance guides listeners through the interwoven themes of love, loss and compassion in this beautifully wrought new novel by poet and author Julia Alvarez.


The Book of V.
by Anna Solomon | Read by Eva Kaminsky, Dara Rosenberg, Gabra Zackman | Macmillan Audio

Listeners seeking a break from today’s challenges should download this thoughtful, historical audiobook performed by three talented narrators. Anna Solomon’s story deftly interweaves the lives of three women from across the centuries: a stay-at-home mother in contemporary Brooklyn, a political wife in 1970s Washington, D.C., and the Persian Queen, Esther, in an imaginative blend of the historical and fictional, for a fascinating listen.


Clap When You Land
by Elizabeth Acevedo | Read by Elizabeth Acevedo, Melania-Luisa Marte | Harper Audio

Elizabeth Acevedo, the author and narrator of the multi-award winning The Poet X, co-narrates this highly anticipated audiobook. Acevedo is joined by Melania-Luisa Marte in an alternating dialogue between two sisters, neither of whom knows the other exists until their father’s death in a plane crash. These two voices create a beautiful duet of the girls’ raw and lingering grief, forgiveness of their beloved and imperfect father and nascent sisterhood. Fans of Acevedo, as well those new to her work, will not be disappointed.


Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies that Delivered the Opioid Epidemic
by Eric Eyre | Read by Michael David Axtell | Simon & Schuster Audio

Eric Eyre’s nose for investigative journalism and conversational writing style are enhanced by narrator Michael David Axtell’s energy, empathy and appropriate tone of outrage. Why does a pharmacy in a town of 382 people in West Virginia need nine million pain pills over a two-year period? Axtell fully inhabits Eyre’s sense of injustice and maintains suspense as he and his newspaper spend years seeking records from drug distribution companies.


If It Bleeds
by Stephen King | Read by Will Patton, Danny Burstein, Steven Weber | Simon & Schuster Audio

Stephen King’s latest audiobook has four exceptional novellas, masterfully read by three exceptional narrators. For longtime King listeners and newcomers alike, this collection is essential listening.


Little Family
by Ishmael Beah | Read by Dion Graham | Penguin Audio

Narrator Dion Graham captures listeners’ attention in this heartbreaking audiobook about five orphans in an unnamed coastal town in an unnamed African country. The various dialects, accents and quirks of the characters in Ishmael Beah’s book are so distinct that listeners will recognize each one without even having to hear their name. Don’t make plans once you hit play on this. You won’t be able to stop.


More Myself: A Journey
by Alicia Keys | Read by Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, Bono, Clive Davis, Craig Cook, DJ Walton, Jay-Z, Krucial, Leigh Blake, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Swizz Beats, Terri Augelo | Macmillan Audio

Musician Alicia Keys is confident, warm and personable as she narrates her story of becoming who she wanted rather than what others expected. In addition to her rich, inviting style, we are treated to cameo appearances by her family and friends, and experience a range of moments, from personal to professional, with phrases of instrumental music and singing scattered throughout.


Shadowplay
by Joseph O’Conner | Read by Barry McGovern, Anna Chancellor | Dreamscape

Joseph O’Connor’s graceful, insightful writing is immediately apparent thanks to Barry McGovern’s and Anna Chancellor’s outstanding performances. McGovern delivers an acting tour de force, highlighting both the dark underbelly of Victorian London as well as the frequently scratchy, often tender relationship between eccentric, egotistical, world-famous actor Henry Irving and the soon-to-be famous author Bram Stoker. Both men’s lives circle around an internationally renowned actress of the period, Ellen Terry. O’Connor’s engrossing story is wonderfully well served by the superb narration.


Strange Hotel
Written and read by Eimear McBride | Macmillan Audio

Award-winning author Eimear McBride introspectively delivers her emotionally charged novella in a stream of consciousness style, introducing listeners to an unnamed female character who checks in and out of hotels in different places around the world to run away from a past she only vaguely mentions. The narrative is complex, but this poignant story of love, loss and self-exploration will linger in listeners’ minds.


The Yellow House
by Sarah M. Broom | Read by Bahni Turpin | Audible, Inc.

Sarah Broom’s chronicle of life in a historic yet poor section of New Orleans is an audiobook that captivates the listener from its first words to its end. The author skillfully weaves stories from many of her descendants into a rich tapestry and takes listeners through the fascinating aspects of their lives. This National Book Award-winning memoir holds the listener’s attention because of Broom’s vivid prose and narrator Bahni Turpin’s flawless performance.