19 Amazing Audiobooks Adapted from Graphic Novels | Multimedia Audio Reviews

Audio adaptation of visually reliant, multilayered storytelling is not quite like transforming any other genre for the ears. These 19 audio titles adapted from graphic novels rise to the challenge.

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Graphic novels are already immersive experiences on the page—a complementary melding of dynamic panels, with and without dialogue. Audio adaptation of such visually reliant, multilayered storytelling is not quite like transforming any other genre for the ears. Sizable casts are often necessary to create convincing, meaningful productions; additional background soundtracks and music must be created; the production logistics are exponentially more complex. Small wonder that only a relatively small percentage of graphic titles actually get audiobooks.

Discovering these 19, all with 2023 publication dates, was quite a challenge. But sooooo many were worth the can’t-give-up hunt and chase. Listen in, indeed!


Early Elementary

Barnes, Derrick. Like Lava in My Veins. narrated by James Fouhey. 17 min. Listening Library. Jul. 2023. $22. ISBN 9780593794593.
K-Gr 3–Prolific author-for-all-ages Barnes’s first graphic novel, Victory. Stand! Raising My Fist for Justice, made him a 2022 National Book Award Finalist. From real-life hero (and coauthor) Tommie Smith, Barnes pivots to fictional superhero Bobby Beacon who’s got a few real-life challenges to face, including those universally familiar to all kids, like anger, and those all-too-familiar for kids of color, like racism. As a new student at the Academy of Kids with Awesome Abilities, Bobby’s name already shines: “Beacons lead people and show them the way.” With the gentle help of his teacher, Bobby learns to harness his “power of light and fire”—and avoid being shipped to the Institute of Supervillains. Narrator Fouhey—fabulously versatile, especially with youthful titles—deftly adapts his voice over an impressive, complementary soundtrack featuring synthesized beats, bangs, and door slams. Fouhey even embodies Miss Brooklyn’s recommended five deep breaths—a clever reminder for all readers (even reviewers!). For maximum enjoyment (and enlightenment), pair audio with print: Shawn Martinborough’s energetic art adds details impossible to aurally showcase, including Bobby’s extensive collection of Star Wars figures and that even superheroes (like Sincere) need their inhaler. VERDICT Libraries should prepare to meet high demand in all formats. Perfect for reluctant readers.

Clanton, Ben. A Super Scary Narwhalloween. narrated by Socks Whitmore, Kirby Heyborne, Ben Clanton, Alejandra Reynoso, Sarah Skaer, Courtney Lin, Dion Graham & Adenrele Ojo. 16 min. (A Narwhal and Jelly Book: Bk. 8). Listening Library. Jul. 2023. $22. ISBN 9780593207505.
K-Gr 3–Sure, Clanton is the author here, but when he’s not initially included in the opening credits, he playfully inserts himself anyway: “With narration by Ben Clawww-ton... uhh, Clanton.” His energetic humor sets the stage for a charming, full-cast production of his latest, bestselling “Narwhal and Jelly” early graphic series. The eighth entry includes three adventurous (not too super scary, really!) shorts that celebrate empathy and friendship, jauntily interrupted by three informative interstitials that provide complementary information, from real-life sea creatures (vampire squids are not really vampires) to bats (and their guano—“That’s pooper! I mean super!”). A much-appreciated who-read-who cast list (thankfully, mostly the same since Book 1) appends the recording—revealing Clanton (again) was also Mr. Blowfish! Kiddie fave Kirby Heyborne stands out as sweet Jelly and Dion Graham extends his reach as Octopus. VERDICT Halloween might be only once a year, but sea-loving fans will want easy access to this title any time.

Watt, Melanie. The Scaredy Squirrel Collection. narrated by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. 60 min. Tundra. May 2023. $14. ISBN 9781770499485.
K-Gr 3–Watt’s hybrid graphic series gets bundled together, each volume energetically, earnestly narrated by Canadian actor Ramakrishnan (yes, Netflix’s Never Have I Ever star!) making her audiobook debut. All seven (thus far) of Watt’s sciurine adventures are here in published order: Scaredy Squirrel,Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend, Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach, Scaredy Squirrel at Night, Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party, Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping,and Scaredy Squirrel Visits the Doctor.Each gets embellished with jaunty music and enhancing background soundtracks. Technical quibble: rather than releasing the library download as a single one-hour track, producers could have enabled easier read-along listening with separate tracks for each book. Interestingly, this is not a first aural attempt: the first two books have audios narrated by veteran David de Vries whose recordings seem more complete with the additional (cleverly funny) “Here’s the story in a nutshell” introductions, cautionary notes about who should not read these books (green Martians, for one), and warnings to brush teeth or wash hands before reading; de Vries also voiced three “Scaredy” animated shorts. VERDICT Libraries might offer both versions, although the all-in-one convenience will likely be preferred.


Middle Grade

Bell, Cece. El Deafo. narrated by Sarah Tubert, Lexi Finigan, Jennifer Aquino, Fred Berman, Bailey Carr, Nicky Endres, Matt Godfrey, Avi Roque & Sanya Simmons. 2:33 hrs. Listening Library. Jun. 2023. $45. ISBN 9780593748602.
Gr 3-7–Almost a decade has passed since Bell published El Deafo, her Newbery Honor graphic memoir inspired by growing up “severely to profoundly” deaf since age four as a result of meningitis. Creating a superhero version of herself as El Deafo helped mitigate some of the challenges of being different, especially at school. Already an animated Apple series, the book now goes aural with a full cast adaptation. This utterly superb production also proves to be a transformative lesson in immersive empathy. Through a combination of thoughtful acting and meticulous technical control of volume and clarity, listeners can actually experience an approximation of being hearing-challenged, from garbled language to fading modulation. Sarah Tubert, who gets first billing as “the narrator” (so grateful for a full cast list!), is also deaf and is half of the What the Deaf?podcast duo. Kudos to the sensitive casting powers that be. VERDICT A must-have acquisition for every library.

Brallier, Max & Joshua Pruett. The Last Comics on Earth. narrated by Robbie Daymond. 1:39 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2023. $38. ISBN 9780593665695.
Gr 3-7–Jack, Quint, June, and Dirk of Brallier’s ongoing hybrid graphic-prose series “The Last Kids on Earth” (Netflix-adapted, with the ninth installment publishing this fall) get a symbiotic graphic spin-off here—because they need to make their own comic(al) series. They’ve just realized they’ve thoroughly, unbearably, run out of issues starring their favorite superhero, Z-Man: Protector of Apocalyptia. But wait! “We’ll write the next issue of the series,” June declares. They’ll create their very own superheroes to save Z-Man, last left on a cliff-hanger. Quint becomes Super Inventorist Dude Doc Baker; June is Moonstar, the Quasar Warrior (and her dog sidekick, Meepu, too!); Dirk is Savage Aloner; and Jack is Boy Lightning (who already has official merch to sell). Uhh, but what about Z-Man? Daymond’s unflagging energy is admirable, but with such a vast cast, his solo show doesn’t quite embody every character evenly—or affectingly. Without the one-color/full-color delineations (real time versus the quartet’s brave new worlds, respectively) provided on the page, audiences might struggle to distinguish who’s who and what’s what. VERDICT “Last Kids” fans will, of course, request immediate access. Newbies without series history can also enjoy as a fresh read.

Craft, Jerry. School Trip. narrated by Dereje Tarrant, Nile Bullock, Guy Lockard, Marc Thompson, Kaian Lilien, Dan Bittner, Ron Butler, Kim Mai Guest, Miles Harvey, January LaVoy, Robin Miles & a full cast. 2:41 hrs. (New Kid: Bk. 3). HarperAudio. Apr. 2023. $27.99. ISBN 9780063279124.
Gr 3-7–Audiences who enjoyed Craft’s New Kid and Class Act as audiobooks might immediately notice an important cast change—Tarrant replaces Jesus Del Orden, who voiced Jordan in the previous titles. The kids are indeed a bit older here (although they’re still in eighth grade), which means Tarrant’s deeper tones might indicate Jordan’s adolescent voice change. The rest of the most familiar cast members (yay to Bullock returning as Drew) gratefully remains the same. Listening is undoubtedly thorough entertainment; the usual Riverdale Academy Day School kids head to Paris for artistic, social, emotional enlightenment, complete with appropriate sound effects and expected accents. Listening, however enjoyable, can’t quite provide the multilayered, impressively illuminating experience that won Craft the Newbery Medal: to see the deftly enhancing images is impossible with only the ears, such as the open passports that immediately suggest the diversity of the kids’ backgrounds before the narrative even begins, or who exactly is sitting in the headmaster’s office? Indeed, Craft’s pictures do contain thousands of silent words. VERDICT For a thoroughly immersive read, choose the page and the audio.

Gibbs, Stuart. The Sea of Terror. narrated by Gibson Frazier, Lamarr Gulley, Aden Hakimi & Lameece Issaq. 2:25 hrs. (Once Upon a Tim: Bk. 3). S. & S.
Audio. May 2023. $14.99. ISBN 9781797158198.
Gr 2-5–Frazier has always been bestselling Gibbs’s voice-of-choice, either solo or in aural cahoots with others. Consistency is especially key here, as Frazier energetically returns with Gulley, Hakimi, and Issaq to enliven the third volume of “Once Upon a Tim,” Gibb’s graphic hybrid series comprised of prose, pictures, and panels. To read the volumes in order predictably provides deeper engagement, but Gibbs’s swashbuckling antics (with clever nods to Odyssean exploits) offer plenty of stand-alone thrills and chills (bargleboar snot, the Mystical Protective Amulet of Merryland, “loose”—as in decapitated—hydra heads) into which the sprightly cast infuses plenty of just plain fun. Gibbs, of course, doesn’t skimp on his edifying “IQ boosters,” using plenty of big words—defined and annotated!—such as harangue, fleece (because it has multiple meanings), ravenous, bellicosely, and that dreaded cliff-hanger, which is how he ends the book. “This is good news,” he insists, “because it means there are many more adventures for you to enjoy about [Tim] and [his] friends.” VERDICT All formats of the series (the fourth book hits November 7) are perfect for reluctant readers.

Hale, Shannon & LeUyen Pham. Best Friends. narrated by Shannon Hale, Carlotta Brentan, Helen Laser, Jeremy Carlisle Parker, Wren Hale, Mark Sanderlin, Dinah Hale & a full cast. 3:11 hrs. (Friends: Bk. 2). Macmillan Audio. Aug. 2023. $14.99. ISBN 9781250891716.
Gr 4-8–Hale and Pham’s splendid three-part “Friends” series—Real Friends (2017), Best Friends (2019), and Friends Forever (2021)—based on Hale’s middle grade experiences have hit bestseller lists and earned plenty of lauds. Thus far, only Best Friends has an audio adaptation—and yes, a stellar full cast presents a wonderfully immersive production, augmented with 1980s music and background sound effects. The result is a sensational rollercoaster ride epitomizing the ups and downs of middle grade relationships (who’s in, who’s out, who’s saying what to whom) and so much more. Although choosing aural means missing Pham’s whimsically emotive art, the recording offers something the page can’t: Hale warmly, reassuringly reads her “Hey you” author’s note in which she’s especially revealing about her own anxiety. And then listeners get to hear Hale and her twin daughters—“real-life sixth graders from current day”—in rollicking conversation about school, books, and, of course, friends. Hubby Dean even has a cameo! VERDICT Hale and Pham have already proven evergreen popularity with their printed series; libraries should expect the same demand for audio.

Sax, Sarah. Picture Day. narrated by Felisha Wong, Em Grosland, Davu Smith, Beth Hicks, Jamie K. Brown, Valerie Rose Lohman, Giordan Diaz, Mirai, Keylor Leigh & Michael Crouch. 1:07 hrs. (The Brinkley Yearbooks: Bk. 1). Listening Library. Jun. 2023. $38. ISBN 9780593614426.
Gr 4 Up–Yep, it’s another picture day. Even more predictable is Olivia’s mother’s insistence over what to wear (homemade white cardigan with yellow flowers) and how to do her hair (Mom even braids it!). But this is seventh grade and Viv—she’s done being just another Olivia—won’t let others “tell [her] who to be.” One bold move—she discards that braid on screen!—leads to many, many others. But at what cost? Her favorite influencer advises “be true to yourself and the world will notice.” Viv definitely has an audience now, but has she lost sight of her very self? The impressive cast, led by youthfully exuberant Wong, presents a rewarding performance of Sax’s solo debut. Sadly, there is no who-read-who reveal at recording’s end; since this is the fantastic first of a four-book series, “The Brinkley Yearbooks,” let’s hope the producers will provide continuity (and credits) in the volumes ahead. VERDICT Middle schoolers navigating social hierarchies will find compelling resonance here.

Soontornvat, Christina & Joanna Cacao. The Tryout. narrated by Grace Li, Vaneh Assadourian, Marcha Kiatrungrit, Ashley Austin Morris, Brian Sounalath & a full cast. 209p. Scholastic Audio. Feb. 2023. $24.99. ISBN 9781338876055.
Gr 3-7–“I never planned to write a book like this,” two-time Newbery Honoree Soontornvat reveals in her author’s note. But with steady curiosity about her small-town Texas youth, she realized she “had a story that needed to be told. And maybe somewhere out there was a young person who needed to read it.” Eager audiences can now listen to an impressive cast perform Soontornvat’s remarkable memoir (which includes that don’t-skip note), released four months after the lauded print debut. “The hardest part of writing this book was being honest about how it felt to deal with racism and my identity as an Asian American.” Biracial Thai American Christina and her Iranian American BFF Megan start seventh grade with the decision to try out for cheerleading. The challenges are many—middle school is bad enough without also being so obviously different—but Soontornvat alchemizes her difficult memories into an empathic, dazzling gift to tween audiences. VERDICT Nuanced, emotive Li leads a resonant production that further enhances Soontornvat’s already glorious story.

Tang, Betty C. Parachute Kids. narrated by Jenny Chan, Ell (Rachel Li), Kenton Chen, Sue Ann Pien, Todd Haberkorn & a full cast. 3:04 hrs. Scholastic Audio. Jun. 2023. $24.99. ISBN 9781339004556.
Gr 4 Up–Tang herself opens with a thoughtful explanation about language: “The accents used by the actors . . . are intended to convey [the] difficulty of communication for nonnative [English] speakers and are not, in any way, meant as derogatory or stereotypical depictions of the characters. Instead, the accents are used to represent the real frustrations and challenges these characters experience, while finding footing in their new home.” Feng-Ling, 10, arrives in LA in 1981 for a family vacation, but after enjoying the thrills of Disneyland and Universal Studios, her parents announce they must return to Taiwan—Baba to work to support the family, Mama because of her impending visa expiry. Feng-Ling (perky but lost by Jenny Chan), 14-year-old Ke-Gang (angry yet vulnerable via Kenton Chen), 16-year-old Jia-Xi (poised until she isn’t by Ell), are suddenly “parachute kids,” left regularly alone because an American life, their parents believe, is the “best opportunity there is” for their children. Beyond the expected language and cultural challenges, the siblings also face a phone scam, friends who are not, and must-have temptations. VERDICT Tang’s extraordinary narrative is blessed with a sensitive, agile cast, resulting in what will surely be one of 2023’s most-demanded titles.


Young Adult

Estrela, Joana. Pardalita. narrated by Irene Vazquez. 1:16 hrs. Recorded Bks. Apr. 2023. $8.99. ISBN 9798889561583.
Gr 8 Up–So much is revealed in just the first minute: Raquel (her name being the one detail withheld a bit longer) lives in a small town where “everyone is up in each other’s business.” She’s waiting for her mother after being suspended for calling a nosy school monitor a “piece of shit.” Her parents are divorced because her father is getting remarried. She remarks that Pardalita “flew past”; the intensity of that impression caused her to write Pardalita’s name “without noticing” onto the table where she waits. That dense sparseness defines Portuguese author/artist Estrela’s absorbing on-the-page hybrid of prose, free verse, black-and-white drawings without and within graphic panels. Debut narrator Vázquez (who’s also an editor for Pardalita’s U.S. publisher, Levine Querido) is Estrela’s unhurried cipher, adroitly inserting pauses to allow listeners to absorb the multilayered details of Estrela’s reveals. Vázquez is seemingly proficient/fluent in Spanish—she pronounces jacaranda with an opening “h” sound—but isn’t necessarily a Portuguese speaker (jacaranda has a j-as-in-Jack first syllable). Textless printed pages are many, necessitating additional descriptions and prompts that still dovetail seamlessly into an affecting performance. VERDICT Libraries with youthful audiences will want to acquire this sensitive adaptation.

Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Sunshine: How One Camp Taught Me About Life, Death, and Hope. narrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Jaiden Meltzer, Xavier Krosoczka, Noah Rico, Levi Armstrong, Jeanne Birdsall, Matt Braver, Cynthia Darlow, Seamus Hanlan, Sean Patrick Hopkins & a full cast. 2:16 hrs. Scholastic Audio. Jun. 2023. $20.99. ISBN 9781338775204.
Gr 7 Up–Krosoczka has a Promethean task following up Hey, Kiddo —in print, sure, but even more so his 2020 Odyssey Award-winning audio. This title is another memoir, more companion than sequel, that again affectingly balances heartbreak and joy: at 16, Krosoczka spent a week at a summer camp for children with life-threatening illnesses, where he formed life-changing bonds with teen Diego and young Eric (and Eric’s family). Krosoczka narrates as part of a 47-person cast that presents another impressive family-and-friends ensemble performance. Notable Hey Kiddo returnees include Meltzer as teen Jarrett (previously tween Jarrett), writer buddy Birdsall (yes, Penderwicks!) as grandmother Shirley, Hanlan as Derek (previously young best friend Pat) who gets to voice...no-limits flatulence. Krosoczka’s wife and three kids are aurally gathered here, most notably son Xavier as young Eric; listeners will cry listening to Eric’s memorial poem “From My Eyes.” Grab the tissues, too, for the singing performance of wrenching “Lullaby.” More upbeat are decades-later reunions—on the page and on audio—with Eric’s siblings Jason and Mary who voice their adult selves. VERDICT Hey, Kiddo fans will likely flock to this title. Libraries should have ready access in all formats.

Moreci, Michael & Hayden Sherman. Wasted Space: Volume 2. narrated by Richard Rohan, Eric Messner, Duyen Washington, Henry W. Kramer, Karen Novack, Chris Genebach, Jacob Yeh, Lolita Horne & a full cast. Vol. 2. 5:14 hrs. GraphicAudio. Feb. 2023. $19.99. ISBN 9781685088453.
Gr 9 Up–“If you don’t have volume one, what the hell?” a character quips, an hour-and-a-half from the ending. But FOMO not: GraphicAudio promises “a movie in your mind,” and it doesn’t disappoint. Rohan, who adapted the comics for audio (directed and produced, too!), returns as the sublimely snarky narrator to fill in what the characters can’t and don’t say. “What’s gone before,” a deep voice dramatically opens.” And then Rohan interrupts, “...is contained in volume one...very reasonably priced if you don’t already have it.” No wasted space here as the production jumps right in: let it be known that Billy Bane previously just about destroyed the galaxy, but is back to save it here. Billy’s actually evolved (some), values friendship, plays nicely (enough) with those who matter but not so much with his enemies (of whom there are many). The word here is cinematic, capturing thrilling dialogue over impressive sound effects bouncing from ear to ear through your captivated brain. VERDICT The printed comics were admittedly meh, but this full-blown production deserves an ovation. Libraries should consider investing in both “very reasonably priced” volumes.

Segura, Alex & Monica Gallagher. The Black Ghost: Hard Revolution. narrated by Eric Messner, Alejandro Ruiz, Dawn Ursula, Stephanie Nemeth Parker, Kelly Baskin, Marni Penning, Rayner Gabriel, Matthew Pauli, Yenni Ann & a full cast. 1:56 hrs. (The Black Ghost: Bk. 1). GraphicAudio. Apr. 2023. $10.99. ISBN 9781685088828.
Gr 9 Up–Welcome to Creighton, “a forgotten mid-Atlantic ‘burb straining to survive’” somewhere near Miami. Fictional it may be, but the GraphicAudio folks will make you believe it’s all tooooo real. Lara Dominquez is a hardcore reporter for The Creighton Couriercovering the toughest beats. She also teaches night school—and saves student Ernesto from violence one late night (he also saves her back). She’s got issues—alcohol being worse than her worst enemies—but somehow manages to stay alive to be one of the good guys. She’s been obsessed with tracking the masked vigilante Black Ghost—until she can’t. Messner, who leads the vast cast (also adapted and directs!), keeps the production fast and furious, with multilayered sound effects and all the rock-’em-sock-’em ooofs and booms to ensure a rousing experience. Who needs a screen when you’ve got this transporting “Movie in Your Mind” stuck in the ears? The second volume is available, too! VERDICT Libraries should, of course, have both entries ready to borrow. A few curse words notwithstanding, hand to older reluctant readers.

Segura, Alex & Monica Gallagher. The Black Ghost 2: Shame the Devil. narrated by Eric Messner, Alejandro Ruiz, Dawn Ursula, Stephanie Nemeth Parker, Kelly Baskin, Marni Penning, Rayner Gabriel, Matthew Pauli, Yenni Ann & a full cast. 1:53 hrs. (The Black Ghost: Bk. 2). GraphicAudio. Apr. 2023. $10.99. ISBN 9781685088842.
Gr 9 Up–Spoiler alert! Starting with the first volume for the full story is recommended. But if that’s not an immediately available option, this one opens with almost five minutes of bare-bones recap, cleverly presented as “that’s my story” to a roomful of alcoholics because Lara has finally joined AA. Vulnerability only lasts for so long: “All right, gang—share time’s over,” and Lara andErnesto (remember him?) have a lot of lifesaving work to do to make Creighton safer (enough). The ending offers hope for plenty more arggghhhs and thwacks and buzzes and dings since all the mysteries (thankfully) do not get revealed here. Messner is back to narrate, adapt, and direct—and the continuity is a striking plus as a sober Lara (Ann delivers!) takes charge of her life and teen Ernesto (Ruiz is indeed earnest—and tenacious) really starts to come into his erudite, savvy own. VERDICT Libraries will need both volumes; recommended for older reluctant readers.

Wilson, G. Willow. Ms. Marvel: A Marvel Omnibus. Vol. 1 narrated by Shanta Parasuraman, Matthew McGee, Nora Achrati, Andy Brownstein, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, Nick DePinto, Dani Stoller, Jacob Yeh & a full cast. Vol. 2 narrated by Shanta Parasuraman, David Coyne, Matthew McGee, Nora Achrati, Andy Brownstein, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, Dani Stoller, Jacob Yeh & a full cast. 3:01 hrs. Dreamscape Audio. May 2023. $29.99. ISBN 9781666637755.
Gr 8 Up–The first two volumes of Wilson’s “Ms. Marvel” series—which made headlines for Wilson for creating 16-year-old Muslim American New Jersey teen hero Kamala Khan—get mesmerizing adaptations with vibrant full casts. In No Normal, Kamala is Abu and Ammi’s perfect little girl until she sneaks out to a party, tries alcohol, and ends up saving the queen bee from drowning ( and her aggressive boyfriend) which is how Kamala finds out she’s a superhero. Figuring out, much less controlling, her powers is gonna take work. By Generation Why , Kamala’s learning more about herself (past and present). Her concerned parents send her to Sheik Abdullah hoping he’ll correct her erratic behavior, but he turns out to be surprisingly supportive. Good thing because Kamala must team up with Wolverine (her fave!) to save Jersey City’s youth from a delusional Inventor. Parasuraman, who convincingly embodies Kamala’s transformation from bewildered “Wh-what?” to the confidence of “The world comes at you fast. You gotta stay light on your feet,” headlines the stellar production. VERDICT Although Marvel owns distribution, the “Movie in Your Mind”–GraphicAudio folks get major kudos for creating a marvelous ride.


Adult Crossover

Lennnie. Advice from a Blob: How to Find Peace in this Messy, Beautiful, Chaotic Existence. narrated by Lennnie. 11 min. HarperAudio. May 2023. $27.99. ISBN 9780063329355.
The animated phenomenon known as lennnie (yep, three ns, no capitalization) is a self-described “little blob just trying to help u get through the day.” Their social media platforms are followed by millions and millions, and now their straightforward encouragement is available in print and audiobook. At just 11 minutes, sweetly voiced, gently calming lennnie’s platitudes are certainly worth multiple listens; better yet, on bad days, set it to loop. With soul-draining challenges and problems (“it really is a chaotic torrential downpour of debauchery out there . . .”) plaguing pretty much everyone—worry has no age limits!—lennnie should definitely appeal to tweens and teens: “I promise that you’re gonna be okay. REALLY TRULY ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY FINE...even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.” Life is up and down and up waves, failing means you already won because you tried in the first place, being in control 24/7 is boring, and taking a minute or more in your own bubble when you need to is a healthy must. VERDICT Such sound advice from a little blob should be readily available for all!

Goodman, Timothy. I Always Think It’s Forever: A Love Story Set in Paris as Told by an Unreliable but Earnest Narrator. narrated by Timothy Goodman. 1:55 hrs. S. & S. Audio. Jan. 2023. $9.99. ISBN 9781797154008.
Although this might sit on adult shelves, plenty of teens will find resonance here: no one age group quite loves and loses with the purity and intensity of adolescents. Sure, designer/illustrator/writer Goodman (Sharpie Art Workshop) is a couple decades older, and he has the means for international relocations, but the depth of his heartwarming-to-heartrending love story is youthfully familiar. Combining prose with his signature marker art (in print), Goodman journals his way through prioritizing his mental health, landing in Paris, learning French, and “eating all the baguettes.” Meeting, loving, and losing Aimée fuels him to also turn inward and learn to tell his own story of a difficult childhood, abusive relationships, nurturing himself as well as others, and, despite unspeakable hurt, staying open to “that big bold, corny, urgent, ridiculous, inconvenient Carrie Bradshaw kinda love.” To embody such soul-flaying vulnerability, only Goodman himself could have narrated—which he does with sincerity and calm. VERDICT Offer both print and audio to heartbroken teens for commiserating sympathy and aspirational buoyancy.

Terry Hong was LJ ’s 2016 Reviewer of the Year for Fiction and Audio.

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