This time last year, I wrote about how perfectly suited SYNC is for readers during a global pandemic. While some pandemic restrictions have eased, depending on your location, lives remain disrupted with limited access to library materials. All of which continues to make SYNC the absolutely perfect way to do summer reading. The ease of access combined with the carefully curated list of titles for teen readers and beyond make the SYNC summer reading program a slam-dunk. And did I mention it’s FREE? Librarians, please take notice! Sponsored by AudioFile Magazine in partnership with OverDrive Education, SYNC returns on April 29th and runs through August 4th for a total of 14 weeks. Each week, two thematically paired downloadable audiobooks will be available to participants. Teens, librarians, book club leaders, and educators can register for free at AudiobookSYNC. That’s also the spot to sign up for email or text alerts when new titles are released each week. The titles are available to borrow for one week but once borrowed, will be accessible to the registered user indefinitely through OverDrive’s Sora app so participants can re-listen to their titles whenever they want. The titles were selected to appeal to a wide range of interests with a fantastic collection of authors and narrators, including Bahni Turpin, Emily Woo Zeller, Francisco X. Stork, and Monica Hesse. For the full list of titles and narrators, visit the SYNC website

If you’re new to audiobooks and would like to learn more before SYNC begins, NoveList is a good place to start! We have information on over 97,000 audiobook titles in NoveList Plus, including professional reviews, sound samples, and AudioFile sound reviews. (NoveList power-user tip: to see all the audiobook titles in NoveList Plus, type “RT 5” into the search box.) After doing a search, click the “Audiobooks” tab to see the list of audiobooks returned. We also have audiobook Recommended Reads Lists for all reading levels. If you prefer to browse, visit our Audiobooks page by clicking the “Browse Audiobooks” link on the bottom of the NoveList homepage or “Audiobooks” from the “Browse By” menu at the top. This page features a carousel of reviewed titles, new and forthcoming titles, links for browsing, and all the Recommended Reads lists. 

In addition to our print appeal language, which includes categories for Storyline, Pace, Tone, Writing style, Character, and Illustration, NoveList librarians have also developed an appeal language specifically for audiobooks called “Audio Characteristics.” These terms describe the narrator’s performance and voice quality such as distinctly voiced, emotionally connected, comedic, gravelly, resonant, and many others. See how we’ve applied our audio characteristics to some of the SYNC titles being given away this summer: 

Come on in edited by Adi Alsaid, narrated by Amielynn Abellera, Jonathan Todd Ross, Katherine Littrell, Leila Buck, Maria Liatis, and Sneha Mathan 

  • Multiple narrators 
  • Emotionally connected 
  • Well-characterized 
  • Distinctly voiced 

Illegal (Disappeared 2) by Francisco X. Stork, narrated by Roxana Ortega and Christian Barillas  

  • Multiple narrators 
  • Character accents 
  • Well-characterized 
  • Intense 

Monkey by Wu Ch’êng-ên, translated by Arthur Waley, narrated by Kenneth Williams  

  • Gravelly 
  • Character accents 
  • Theatrical 
  • Immersive 
  • Animated 

Of Beetles and Angels by Mawi Asgedom, narrated by Mawi Asgedom  

  • Sincere 
  • Read by the author 

The Body Snatcher and Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson, narrated by Roy McMillan  

  • Chilling 
  • Gravelly 
  • Musically enhanced 
  • Distinctly voiced 

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout, narrated by Lauren Fortgang  

  • Clear 
  • Wry 
  • Animated 
  • Immersive 

And last but not least, be sure to check out the fabulous SYNC promotional templates available through LibraryAware.  Just search "SYNC" for templates and customize them with your library-specific information, and they’re ready to go!   

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Renee Young is a Metadata Librarian at NoveList. She is currently listening to The Prodigal Son by Gregg Hurwitz and narrated by Scott Brick.