About a month ago, I got an email from Shepherd Books, a Goodreads-alternative website (we all want a Goodreads-alternative website, right?) that lets authors create a list of five recommended books on any topic that they think their readers will enjoy.
I didn’t have to think for more than five seconds about my topic of choice. It’s middle grade horror audiobooks.
I am amazed by how strong my opinions are on this subject, given that my only published book isn’t middle grade, but here we are. I like spooky kidlit. My kids, unsurprisingly, also like spooky kidlit. Earlier this year, we started listening to spooky audiobooks on the drive to school or to Cub Scout camp.
It was a revelation.
I’ve always known that a narrator can make or break an audiobook, but I never realized how much harder it is to find an excellent middle grade narrator than an excellent adult narrator–and that goes double for horror. We found readers who told grisly ghost stories as though they were reading to preschoolers at circle time, with high-pitched voices and ludicrous emoting. We encountered readers who seemed terrified that they would scar their young listeners for life if they did scary voices or allowed their protagonists to show too much fear, so they read the stories in a lifeless monotone.
And then we found readers who brought the material to life.
I’ve compiled a list of the five best audiobooks we’ve found so far at Shepherd Books. Do check it out!