Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors select the best new audiobooks just for BookTrib’s readers. This month, listeners will navigate an evil Russian empire, heed the wisdom of the forest, travel to picturesque bygone eras and more. So, grab your earbuds and queue ’em up!

 Seven Days in June

by Tia Williams | Read by Mela Lee
Hachette Audio | 10.5 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Narrator Mela Lee’s extraordinary range and dramatic style allow listeners to experience every dark, humorous and heartbreaking moment of this fraught, second-chance romance. As troubled teenagers, Eva Mercy and Shane Hall shared seven life-changing days. Lee’s conversational tone lends itself well to Eva, who now hides her chronic illness and her complacency with her career behind a smile. As Shane, Lee completely transforms her voice, speaking in a deeper pitch and an emotionally charged tone that perfectly fits the troubled writer. 

 The Cellist

by Daniel Silva | Read by Edoardo Ballerini
Harper Audio | 10.25 hrs.

Narrator Edoardo Ballerini steps into big shoes to narrate the 21st audiobook in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series, previously narrated by George Guidall. Ballerini has found his own voices for the lead characters, and he excels at performing women and foreign accents. In the midst of the pandemic, Allon takes on the evil Russian empire, which is undermining democracy while blatantly robbing its own people. His weapon is a beautiful, brave and talented cellist who is working for a bank known as the Russian Laundromat. Once again, a compelling story by Silva is performed by a talented narrator, making for a totally engaging listening experience. 

 Malibu Rising

by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Read by Julia Whelan
Random House Audio | 11 hrs.

Julia Whelan passionately narrates this family drama, which focuses on a model/surfer named Nina and her estranged father, a rock legend. The story alternates between the events of a day in August 1983 that lead up to a party and flashbacks that recount how Nina and her siblings became so emotionally dependent upon each other. Whelan provides a distinct voice for each briefly glimpsed character, enhancing the rich details the author is known for, and her comic finesse is apparent. Read BookTrib’s review here.

 Island Queen

by Vanessa Riley | Read by Adjoa Andoh
Harper Audio | 20.75 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Narrator Adjoa Andoh’s versatile voice is the perfect match for this novel based on the life of Caribbean tycoon Dorothy “Doll” Kirwan Thomas. Born into slavery on Montserrat in the mid-1700s, Doll is determined to purchase freedom for herself and her family. Andoh’s portrayals of Doll’s parents, lovers, children, and racist antagonists provide a diverse sensory experience for the listener. Pursued by powerful men like the future King William IV, Doll ultimately rejects being a concubine, knowing that true power comes from freedom and fortune. Andoh’s strong interpretation of this tenacious woman is the jewel in the crown for the listener. 

 Painting the Light

by Sally Cabot Gunning | Read by Eva Kaminsky
Harper Audio | 10.5 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Shipwrecks and portraits, bicycles and women’s suffrage — all these enter into the plot of this excellent summer audiobook that transports listeners to Martha’s Vineyard, 1898. Ida Russell Pease is an artist and sheep farmer who is struggling with stifling spousal and societal expectations and coping with grief. Narrator Eva Kaminsky is an excellent performer; her voice is clear, and her pace and dialogue transitions are outstanding. Listeners will want to know what happens to Ida as she navigates significant developments in her life, and Kaminsky’s confident, multifaceted narration enhances her story from start to finish. 

 Finding the Mother Tree

Written and read by Suzanne Simard
Random House Audio | 12.25 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

This beautifully written, scientifically stunning and deeply personal audio memoir will forever alter your understanding of forests. It’s lucky for listeners that it’s also a master class in read-by-the-author audio. In silky, rich vocal tones, forestry ecologist Suzanne Simard describes growing up and working in the fecund forests of British Columbia. With the pacing and emotions of a seasoned actor, Simard takes listeners through her most impactful forestry experiments, as well as the major events in her personal life, including motherhood, divorce and surviving breast cancer.

 V For Victory

by Lissa Evans | Read by Lucy Briers
Harper Audio | 7.75 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Narrator Lucy Briers enriches this WWII story, emphasizing the lives and plights of ordinary people in London. Listeners meet Vee Sledge and her unofficial adoptee, Noel, who keep a low profile because of potential danger. Vee takes in an array of lovable eccentric lodgers who pay part of their rent by tutoring the exceptional Noel. Briers’ depiction of Air Raid Warden Winnie Crowther’s brave actions makes the horrors of the war a reality, and believable American soldiers add further dimension as they help and befriend the locals. Her portrayals of shy Noel and tentative Mr. Jepson — a boarder who brings a dose of romance and chivalry — particularly shine in this exceptional listen.

 This Side of Brightness

by Colum McCann | Read by Dion Graham
Random House Audio | 8.75 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Narrator Dion Graham’s captivating voice is a perfect fit for the epic sweep of McCann’s sprawling audiobook. The story captures the complexity of living and working in early, 20th-century New York City, where Black, Irish and Italian immigrants labor in perilous conditions, digging tunnels from Brooklyn to Manhattan. A horrifying accident occurs, impacting the lives of the workers and their families for decades. Graham handles the details of the story’s multiple characters and timelines with ease, rising to meet the emotional impact of its moments of grief, joy and heartbreak.

 Hola Papi

Written and read by John Paul Brammer
Simon & Schuster Audio | 5 hrs.

John Paul Brammer narrates his funny and honest collection of essays, and he shares painful and joyous moments with a calm, compassionate eye, relaxed pacing and a relatable delivery. Framing each story with a question, in the same way that he does in his advice column, “Hola Papi,” Brammer speaks to the listener as if they were the writer of each letter, creating a warm openness that is welcoming and reassuring. Brammer blends humor and self-reflection when discussing coming-of-age experiences, moving through trauma, the bonds of friendship and relationships, and the long and winding road to selfhood.

 Yearbook

by Seth Rogen | Read by Seth Rogen and a Full Cast
Random House Audio | 6.25 hrs.

Skillfully constructed, this audiobook gives comedian and writer Seth Rogen an opportunity to display his acting chops for listeners. He includes hilarious stories of his early stand-up appearances as a teenager. The added cast of mostly unidentified narrators, who include actors/comedians Jay Pharoah and Dan Aykroyd, along with musician Billy Idol, adds zest to the production and gives listeners a fully rounded portrait of this wild man as a teen and young man. Many will identify with the situations he describes and empathize. His life is like a good reality TV show, and hysterical to boot.


This story appears through BookTrib’s partnership with AudioFile and contains material originating from the AudioFile website.