At the tail of each SYNC season we reach out to participants to find out what listeners liked, how SYNC might have changed their audiobook listening, and how they shared information about this free annual program for teens. Thank you to all who helped us to gain insights on what’s working well, what you hope to hear in future seasons, and how listening is becoming a more significant part of your reading life. We would also like to take the opportunity here to thank OverDrive for hosting the delivery of these titles through their Sora app and author Elizabeth Fama for her ongoing support of this program.
Over the 16 weeks of this year’s program, participants moved 90,000 audiobooks to their personal Sora shelves, from which they can listen for many years to come. For the first time in the 13 years we have been hosting this program, 100% of listeners who used SYNC as their first-ever audiobook listening experience reported that they will continue to listen to audiobooks! Teens, librarians, educators, and other participants discovered a wide range of both genres and performance styles in this year’s program of 32 audiobooks. So, what did participants report liking best about the 2022 SYNC season?
“One book got me more interested in books involving mental health,” reported a teen listener. We are guessing this might be Francisco X. Stork’s THE MEMORY OF LIGHT, performed by Frankie Corzo and brought to the program courtesy of Scholastic. Another respondent, a school librarian, noted that this title made them seek out more books about mental health for the school’s collection.
"I used the SYNC program to find books I wouldn't otherwise, and . . . the program exposed me to many different types of stories, and I enjoyed that," wrote another teen. We, in turn, are delighted that the variation in themes, lengths, and the aforementioned genres and performance styles found a welcoming audience among young listeners.
Adults also noted their enjoyment in learning about events and people new to them: “Thanks to Andrew Maraniss and SYNC for telling Glenn’s story [Penguin Random House’s SINGLED OUT: The True Story of Glenn Burke]. I’m not much of a baseball fan but I was really intrigued by his story. As a product of 1970, I now realize just how much I don’t know about that era. It also seems fitting that I read this book during Pride Month.”
Some listeners found noteworthy the diverting entertainment the program offers, like the participant who commented on WE WERE KINGS, written by Court Stevens and performed by McKenzie Fetters for Thomas Nelson: “Holy cow! I couldn't put it down (I listened). Court Stevens, the author, constructed a mesmerizing tale of mystery, crime, and family secrets. There were moments in this text that I wanted to cry. Other times, I laughed out loud as the drama became that of a reality show. In some ways it was like watching an episode of Southern Fried Homicide.”
Those who responded to our post-program survey reported some of the activities they pursued while listening. One listened to Post Hypnotic Press’s A BRIEF HISTORY OF FASCIST LIES, written by Professor Federico Finchelstein and delivered to listeners by Edoardo Ballerini, while mowing the grass.
"I listened during my time shelving books at the library," acknowledged another teen participant.
And the next time you assume that teenager across the bus aisle is listening to music? “I used [the SYNC audiobooks] . . . to make a long commute more interesting.”
We received so many great observations about how various audiobooks in this year’s program can inspire future discussions, collection additions, and topical deep dives that we will be sharing an array of survey comments for specific titles across the next couple of months. You will find these featured (anonymously) on SYNC’s Twitter and Instagram feeds. Be sure to add your own and tag us!