AudioFile - Find your next great audiobook
Get our Newsletter
blog post image
5 Audiobooks for the New School Year

I love novels that feature schools; public school, boarding school, parochial school, or college—I read them all. Because fall fills me with fond memories of a new school year and all the promises of a fresh start, I’m often drawn to these kinds of stories in September.

I especially like novels in which the school itself (or a particular classroom) is a prominent aspect of the story, and the audiobooks featured in today’s Take 5 meet that criterion. Each one is tightly linked to a specific school or teacher and transported me back to my school days. Well, maybe not my school days, but you know what I mean.

Sharpen your pencils and shine your apples; it’s time to head off to class and make new friends.

People Like UsIn PEOPLE LIKE US by Dana Mele, teenaged Kay is sent to the prestigious Bates Academy to help her regain peace after the deaths of her brother and her best friend. She thrives in her new school, until one of her classmates is found drowned in the campus pond, and Kay herself becomes a victim of blackmail. Narrator Erin Spencer creates believable teenage voices and amps up the suspense in this fast-paced double mystery (a whodunit and a guarded secret) which also includes LBGTQ+ characters.

Because of Mr. TeruptRob Buyea’s BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT is set in a small fifth-grade classroom and follows seven students, each with a different problem (for example, shyness and bullying) as they grow and blossom under their teacher’s tutelage. The story is told from the kids’ perspectives, and Arielle DeLisle (who reads the girls’ chapters) and Mike Chamberlain (who reads the boys’ parts) make a wonderful narrative team, giving each character a distinct personality and voice. This tribute to devoted teachers is a recommended family listen.

Juniors

JUNIORS by Kaui Hart Hemmings is a multilayered story about how Lea, part Hawaiian, adjusts to moving from California in the middle of her junior year to attend (on scholarship) an elite private day school in Oahu. This coming-of-age story explores Lea’s efforts at juggling wanting to be cool with still wanting to be herself as well as the unique complex social and cultural ramifications of one’s ancestry that can underlie life in Hawaii. Narrator Jorjeana Marie perfectly captures the emotional heart of this contemporary story.

Harbor Me

HARBOR ME by Jacqueline Woodson is a full-cast audiobook about six diverse special-needs students who bond after their sixth-grade teacher gives them weekly unsupervised free time in an empty classroom. The children slowly open up to each other, sharing the burdens of their learning disabilities and home life and showing listeners how larger social issues affect even the most innocent of our citizens. The narrators strengthen our connection to and empathy for the characters. Don’t miss the insightful dialogue between Woodson and her son, which concludes the audiobook.

Arcadia FallsCarol Goodman’s ARCADIA FALLS takes place on the isolated campus of an art academy in upstate New York and focuses on the new English teacher and her daughter, who move into a rustic cottage on campus at the start of the school year. This compound murder mystery, interwoven with folk tales, strange sightings in the woods, and feminist issues, is slightly spooky, perfect for a fall listen. Jen Taylor’s vivid characterizations and good sense of pacing enliven the action while avoiding the intrusively dramatic.

Are you a fan of stories set on a school campus or in a classroom? If so, let me know your favorites so I can add them to my audiobook wish list.

Share This
More From Audiofile
blog post image
Staff Picks for Back to School
The last weeks of summer are slipping by, and even though we aren't all tied to the academic calendar, there's something about the last days of August that makes us think about
blog post image
Back to School
Six recent education audiobooks offer insights into the changing experience of school and college today, from how parents can choose the best education method for their children to
blog post image
9 Audiobooks for a New School Year
Whether you're headed to Kindergarten or middle school, starting a new school year can be scary no matter how old you are. This collection of audiobooks about heartwarming school
blog post image
Take 5 with Candace: 5 Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners
As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday this week, we are reminded not only of the reverend’s work for the civil rights movement but also that his dream has not yet
The latest audiobook reviews, right in your inbox.

Get our FREE Newsletter and discover a world of audiobooks.

envelope

AudioFile Newsletter

Let us recommend your next great audiobook!

No algorithms here!
We pick great audiobooks for you.
Sign up for our free newsletter with audiobook love from AudioFile editors.

If you are already with us, thank you! Just click X above.

×

Thank you for signing up.

×

Thanks!

Thank you for contacting us!

Our group will review and follow up within 72 hours.
Thanks for your interest!

Back Home ×