Awards & Recognition THE GIRL BEFORE, January’s #1 Library Read, is as Chilling as the Winter Wind

With the winter cold finally seeping into the weather, it’s only fitting that January’s LibraryReads #1 pick is as chilling as it is outside. Along the lines of favorite psychological thrillers like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, THE GIRL BEFORE will leave patrons shivering as they listen. There are also four other amazing titles that have made this month’s list, so tell your patrons to bundle up, because these LibraryReads make great listens.

Find out why these LibraryReads make great listens with the audiobooks below and view the full list of January LibraryReads picks here. Check out our LibraryReads Make Great Listens collection to see all of our BOT LibraryReads picks (since the program began).


THE GIRL BEFOREfavorite_libraryreads
By JP Delaney
Read by Emilia Fox, Finty Williams and Lise Aagaard Knudsen


LibraryReads review: ““A page turner that is sure to be a hit. Each chapter alternates between two time periods. Back “then,” there is Emma, looking for the perfect flat. Her agent suggests One Folgate Street, built by architect Edward Monkford. In present day, Jane, a single thirty-something also ends up on Folgate Street. Both women learn the sinister history of the property and readers won’t know who to trust as Delaney’s debut clutches you by the throat and won’t let you go.” —Kara Kohn, Plainfield Public Library District, Plainfield, IL

Why try the audio? With the same psychological suspense of blockbusters and beloved audio bestsellers like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, this is the thriller everyone will be talking about this year. Instantly “The Book” of the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, THE GIRL BEFORE sparked fevered auctions from one corner of the globe to the next. Rights are currently auctioned in 35 markets with media buzz already building. Universal Pictures also snatched up movie rights for this, with Ron Howard to direct. And with three phenomenal narrators to bring the story to life, the audiobook puts listeners right in the middle of this gripping suspense.

“Dazzling, startling, and above all cunning–a pitch-perfect thriller.”— Lee Child, author of Night School

“Riveting!…Twisty, turny, and with an ending not to be missed!”—Lisa Gardner , author of Right Behind You

By Katherine Arden
Read by Kathleen Gati


LibraryReads review: “We journey to 14th century Russia where the old ways still hold sway in the outlying villages and spirits and magical creatures are real. When Vasya’s stepmother and the new village priest try to end the pagan offerings, it us up to Vasya to stop the Bear from awakening. Can she find the strength to accept who she really is and protect her family and village? This magical story captivated me and pulled me fully into that world. The last third and the pulse-pounding finish had me on the edge of my seat.”—Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cuyahoga, OH

Why try the audio?: Just 24 years old, author Katherine Arden has lived in Texas, Vermont, Hawaii, Paris, and Moscow, where she first fell in love with the Russian literature that inspired this novel. With charm and skill beyond her years, Katherine is an incredibly impressive new talent, and a writer to watch. And pro-narrator Kathleen Gati’s impeccable accents and storytelling skills will captivate listeners.

“Stunning…. will enchant readers from the first page…an earthy, beautifully written love letter to Russian folklore, with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Utterly bewitching . . . In a lush narrative with the cadence of a fairy tale, Arden weaves an immersive, earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters.” — Booklist, starred review

“Radiant…a darkly magical fairy tale for adults…[but] not just for those who love magic.” — Library Journal

“A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”—Naomi Novik, author of Uprooted

“An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . A Russian setting adds unfamiliar spice to the story of a young woman who does not rebel against the limits of her role in her culture so much as transcend them. The Bear and the Nightingale is a beautifully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.” — Robin Hobb, author of Assassin’s Fate

“Haunting and lyrical, The Bear and the Nightingale tugs at the heart and quickens the pulse. I can’t wait for Katherine Arden’s next book.” — Terry Brooks, author of The Druid of Shannara

“Enthralling and enchanting–I couldn’t put it down. This is a wondrous book!” —Tamora Pierce, author of Mastiff

By Will Schwalbe
Read by Jeff Harding


LibraryReads review: “‘Every book changes your life. So I like to ask: How is this book changing mine?’ Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club, focuses on a personal collection of books that changed his life. Each book he selects provides a lesson, a reminder as to how to live his life. Readers will remember favorite books, find new books to try, and lessons to think about. Schwalbe’s book is warm, charming, and very personal. It’s a book for all avid readers.”— Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Evansville, IN

Why try the audio?: A book for true book lovers who have undoubtedly long TBR lists, the audiobook can help them fit more reading into their day! The End of Your Life Book Club spent nine weeks on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, as well as Los Angeles Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today lists. It was also a bestseller across audio formats and was named to Best of the Year lists by Entertainment Weekly, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Audio Praise for Will Schwalbe:
“…Present[s] one of the most compelling arguments for the joy of reading: the power of the written word to inspire, instruct, comfort, and unite. This story, which listeners will want to keep and pass on, is well narrated…”—Library Journal, starred review for The End of Your Life Book Club

“The audiobook is a tribute to a life lived serving others, as well as a testament to the value of reading in fostering understanding and bringing people closer to one another.”—AudioFile, for The End of Your Life Book Club

By Brunonia Barry
Read by Ann Marie Lee


LibraryReads review: “Barry takes her readers back to Salem with a mesmerizing tale filled with familiar characters from her previous works and new ones as well. Towner Whitney and John Rafferty come to the aid of Callie Cahill as they attempt to piece together the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder of her mother while trying to keep herself from becoming a victim as well. This is a beautifully written story, full of twists and turns. Fans of The Lace Reader will love The Fifth Petal, though the book stands on its own and can be recommended to all readers.” —Marianne Colton, Lockport Public Library, Lockport, NY

Why try the audio?: With a starred review from Booklist, and a unique blend of history, fantasy, and mystery, this is a crowd-pleasing pick that book club listeners will embrace. Expect high-holds and make sure the audio download is available to please eager fans.

Advance Praise for THE FIFTH PETAL:

“The superlative Barry creates a vividly eerie, time-bending landscape that stretches back and forth between the Salem witch trials, the Goddess Murders, and the present-day mystery ….. This spooky, multilayered medley of mysteries is sure to be a bestseller.”—Booklist starred Review

“Banshees, lost memories, and secret pasts each play a significant role in this novel; enthusiasts of the author’s earlier work and readers interested in the history of witchcraft and the occult will enjoy this return visit to Salem.”—Library Journal

“Barry’s Salem is alive with rich history, and with a unique and colorful cast of characters. A mesmerizing take on the ways the past affects and influences the present.”— Jennifer McMahon, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Sister

“Written with pens dipped in magic and chills…Brunonia Barry weaves miracles.”–Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of Accidents of Marriage

By Lindsey Lee Johnson
Read by Cassandra Campbell


LibraryReads review: “Not for the faint of heart, Johnson’s first book is a beautifully crafted work that delves into the perils of teen-dom in a wealthy, insulated California neighborhood. The story opens with the suicide of an outcast middle-school boy. Fast forward to high school, where seemingly minor struggles of both teens and adults expose themselves to be deeply ominous, leaving few untouched by the ensuing tragedies. As the plot slowly builds, the intricate web of relationships that intertwine the lives of characters and the events that they experience become apparent, ultimately returning full circle.”—Amy Christiansen, Jefferson County Public Library, Wheat Ridge, CO

Why try the audio?: The blistering honesty and gasp-out-loud drama in this audiobook is
too good not to share—book clubs won’t be able to resist and may even want to play a clip at their book club meeting. Plus, the audiobook tackles such discussion-worthy topical themes as cyber-bullying, teen suicide, sexuality, blurry relationships between students and teachers, test cheating, college pressures, helicopter parents, drug use, and under-age drinking.


“A deftly composed mosaic of adolescence in the modern age, frightening and compelling in its honesty…A terrific debut.”—Julia Pierpont, New York Times bestselling author of Among the Ten Thousand Things

“Sharp and assured prose…A phenomenal first book, a compassionate Less than Zero for the digital age.”—Anthony Doerr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All the Light We Cannot See

See all ten January’s LibraryReads 2016 picks on the LibraryReads site.

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