Audiobooks: The Perfect Road Trip Companion

Make your next road trip fly by!

Are you planning a summer road trip? Listening to audiobooks is a fantastic way to pass the time and engross yourself in an engaging story. If you’re used to handheld books, making the transition to auditory storytelling could be an adjustment but might open up a world of possibilities. Here are all the reasons you should listen to audiobooks during your road trip. Plus, we shared a few of our recommendations!

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The Benefits of Listening to Audiobooks

Audiobooks come with unique benefits. Listening to stories makes you feel like you’re a part of the characters’ world. Audiobooks can improve literary skills and expand your vocabulary. They can help you connect with the text in a new way, emphasizing specific phrases or emotions. Plus, audiobooks improve mental health.

Selecting the Perfect Audiobook

Listening to audiobooks may enhance your reading experience. For people transitioning to an audiobook format, this is an important detail. Ask yourself a few questions that may elevate your listening experience:

  • Do you have a favorite genre? Is there a genre you’ve previously disliked that may be more enjoyable by ear? (e.g., nonfiction)
  • What are you looking for in a narrator?
  • Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which of your favorites emulates a book you’ve wanted to read?
  • Are there any accommodations you’ll need to enhance your listening experience? (e.g., audiobook speed)

Borrow Free Audiobooks from Your Local Library

A lot of audiobook subscriptions and individual recordings are expensive. Sometimes audiobooks are available on music streaming subscriptions if you already have an account, but your options may be limited. Thankfully, the library’s got you covered! You can borrow free audiobooks from your library if you plan an upcoming road trip. Using only your library card and an app called Libby, you can listen to free audiobooks no matter where you are! Check out Hoopla as well.

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For Adults

Traveling solo or with friends? You’ll reach your destination before you know it with these engrossing audiobooks!

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, Narrated by Kirt Groves

This philosophical, queer love story written by the bestselling author TJ Klune explores death, life, and all the complexities. When a Reaper comes to collect Wallace from his funeral, he realizes he’s dead, joined by an eclectic tea shop owner named Hugo. Wallace has one week before he must cross over. Will it be enough time to fulfill his final wishes before it’s too late?

With the Fire on High, Written and Narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo

Winner of the National Book Award for The Poet X, bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo narrates her novel through breathtaking prose. Following her pregnancy in her first year of high school, Emoni Santiago’s only goal is to take care of her daughter and Abuela. She can let all that go in the kitchen, where she dreams of becoming a chef after graduation. Believing her dream is pointless, Emoni realizes that the only thing keeping her from being a chef is herself.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Narrated by Frankie Corzo

The suspenseful mystery of Jane Eyre meets Lovecraftian horror in this thrilling twist on the Gothic genre. In 1950s Latin America, Mexican Gothic follows the intelligent and robust debutante Noemí after receiving a strange letter from her newlywed cousin. She visits a strange mansion in the Mexican countryside known as the High Place in response. What she discovers about this mysterious mansion will haunt her for the rest of her days — if she can escape!

For the Whole Family

Need something to pass the time for your upcoming family road trip? Children and young adult literature can be entertaining for adults too! Here are a few audiobook suggestions that the entire family will enjoy.

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga, Narrated by Vaneh Assadourian

Written entirely in verse, this novel for young readers tells the story of a girl named Jude who must leave her hometown in Syria to move to the United States. At first, Jude isn’t quite sure what to make of her new home in Cincinnati. However, as time goes on, Jude is met with surprises that help her feel more at home. This affirming story validates the emotions of losing and finding a home. But most importantly, it validates the journey of finding yourself.

For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama J. Lockington, Narrated by Imani Parks

Based on the semi-autobiographical experiences of author Mariama J. Lockington, this novel tells the story of Makeda June Kirkland, an 11-year-old adopted Black girl. Although she loves them very much, Makeda’s adoptive family is white. When they move from Maryland to their new home in New Mexico, Makeda finds herself feeling more alone than ever. Through it all, Makeda constantly asks herself a thought-provoking question: what would it be like if I grew up with a family that looks like me?

Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan

Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Renée Watson and poet Ellen Hagan come together to tell the story of two artistic and empowered best friends. Jasmine and Chelsea are frustrated with attitudes toward women at their school, so they decide to form a Women’s Rights Club. Using their love of writing and activism, they post their work online, where they quickly go viral. Unfortunately, with every supporter comes trolls. When escalations rise in real life, their principal shuts down their club. Refusing to be silenced, the two friends work together to amplify their voices.