Read on to discover the best audio books for teens to listen to with their parents:
Lean in close, friends. Today I am sharing one of my favourite tips for getting your teen or tween to talk to you.
Listen to audio books together.
Sounds weird, but bear with me.
Talking to Teens can be Hard!
Some days my 12-year-old would prefer me not to exist. Well, that’s not strictly true. I’m needed to cook her meals and take her places. But if I could exist while also being silent and invisible, that would be great.
The fact is EVEN more true if I dare to mention anything mortifying about any sort of “ISSUE”.
“Eww, Mum! Gross!”
“God, you’re so embarrassing.”
“I can’t talk about this to YOU.”
This is Where Audio Books Come In
As parents we know how important it is to keep those channels of communication open. Whether it’s bullying, sex, alcohol or peer pressure, I want Flea to know it’s okay for us to talk about those things.
There are loads of books for teen girls that cover these topics. But a book is a solitary activity. So it’s hard for me to keep tabs on the content of Flea’s reading. Given the fact that some YA books can be pretty dark, I like to keep tabs. (BTW – we’ve previously shared a selection of more cheerful books for teens here)
Audio books allow us to listen to the book together. That 20-minute drive to hockey practice or the cinema is perfect for listening to a couple of chapters.
I’ve found that when we’re in the car, listening together, it’s completely natural to chat about what’s happening in the story.
The issues faced by characters in the best audio books for teens are exactly the issues I’d like Flea to talk to me about. So we wind up talking about drugs, and school, and boys, and sexuality.
Top Tips for Audio Books to Share with Teens
Finding the best audio books for teens isn’t always easy. Many of the top titles aren’t available in audio form, although a check across iTunes, Amazon and Audible will give you plenty of options.
Below I’ve shared some of our favourite audio books for teens. They are all suitable for girls aged 12+, assuming you don’t mind mild references to sex, drugs and swearing. Personally, I take the position I’m much happier Flea being introduced to those ideas when I’m there to comment, than not.
But if you want something with a slightly younger feel, then I recommend the audio books from Meg Cabot. We’ve listened to 6 or 7, and they’ve all been fun, light reads. How to Be Popular, Avalon High and Teen Idol were all suitable for girls aged 9+. Flea also enjoyed the fairly family-friendly Vampire Diaries audio books, and the audio books of the YA series Fallen.
Best Audio Books to Share with your Teen
Here are just a few of my recommendations for the best audio books for teens, along with an idea of topics covered in each.
Looking for Alaska, John Green
This is a really good story about making friends in a new school, along with light mentions of smoking and drinking. The story takes a turn with a death half-way through, and the characters must solve the mystery of how someone died.
Along the way, there are plot points about keeping secrets, mental health and drink driving. This is a great audio book for teen girls or boys.
Autoboyography, Christina Lauren
Tanner is talked into taking a creative writing class by his best friend, and finds himself falling for the class TA, Sebastian. Only one problem – Tanner hasn’t come out as bisexual at school; and Sebastian is Mormon.
This audio book led to conversations about the experience of LGBTQ kids coming out, and lots of conversations around faith, and what happens when what you want is in opposition to your faith, or your family’s wishes.
Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli
You might have seen the movie adaptation of this book but if not, it’s a sweet romance about a guy called Simon who has an online relationship with a mysterious guy from his school. Although both are gay, neither of them are out – and they don’t know each other’s real identities.
Along with being a great story, this audio book prompted lots of conversations with my 12 year old about WHO Simon’s mystery man could be. We argued about whether it was someone great, or someone messing with his head. Because – duh – someone you chat to online could be just about anyone!
The Summer I Turned Pretty, Jenny Han
This audio book for teens (the first in a trilogy) is MADE for listening to on summer holidays. It’s a relatable, often hilarious tale about a girl who returns to her family’s summer holiday home. Only this year she finds that the two guys she hangs out with have suddenly realised she’s a girl.
For Flea, this book prompted lots of conversations about WHO makes the best boyfriend, and what “Belly” should have done in various awkward boy-related, flirting-type situations.
Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell
Sometimes an audio book adaptation is even better than the book, and I think that’s the case with Eleanor and Park. Eleanor is an unconventional, socially awkward girl from the wrong side of town. Park is the half-Korean misfit who shares a seat on the school bus. The two slowly bond over comic books and music, and a love story ensues.
We found this book sparked some really good conversations about kids with difficult family lives, and particularly about school bullying (Eleanor is bullied by the girls at school for her clothes and appearance).
Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon
A girl who suffers from a mysterious illness that means she has to be kept in her house, sealed away from the outside world. Then a new boy moves in next door. It’s a love story, with some fairly dramatic twists along the way.
Flea really enjoyed this audio book, and the way the story presented the balance a parent has to strike between protecting and stifling their child, generated lots of conversation.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this round-up of the best audio books for teens. If we’ve inspired you to listen to an audio book with your kids, let me know which are your favourites in the comments!