Thanks to Hachette Audio and Scholastic Audiobooks, Week 9 of this SYNC season features a pair of novels with LGBTQI+ characters written and performed with authenticity—and a generous serving of good humor.
In a change of approach from multiple narrators performing a book by a single author, actor Will Collyer is the singular talent behind the narration of FENCE: STRIKING DISTANCE, which is authored by three writers: Sarah Rees Brennan, Johanna the Mad, and graphic novelist C.S. Pacat. Collyer gives each of the four high school boys in the novel his own distinct tone and timbre, making the listening experience feel like you're hearing a full cast. The boys belong to a high school fencing team; in order to make their team a winner, they need to build trust and bonds with each other. And they do just that, along with creating and meeting the challenges of some relationship drama and a hint of budding romance in their midst.
Ever popular, equity and inclusion activist Bill Konigsberg is the author of HONESTLY BEN, the sequel to a title featured in SYNC's 2018 season. Narrator Dan Bittner delivers the second volume of the “Openly Straight” series so that we become better acquainted with the introspective side of 17-year-old Ben as he faces the rough and tumble personalities of his macho teammates and his gruff father. In this volume, Ben also faces a big internal struggle: Does he identify more closely as gay, straight, or…? Take a moment to hear what Bittner has to say about why he thinks Konigsberg tells an essential story to hear.
HONESTLY BEN can be enjoyed readily on its own, so no worries about needing to backtrack before you listen to this 2022 SYNC choice.
Looking for more teen-friendly listening for Pride? You can start here and check your local library’s recommendations, too.
Bill Konigsberg photo by Krystina Moran, Dan Bittner photo by Alden Ford, Sarah Rees Brennan photo courtesy of the publisher, Will Collyer photo by Kevin McIntyre.