Read on to discover the best audio books for teens to listen to with their parents:
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As a parent to a teen, I know first hand it can be a worrying time. There are so many things our teens need to deal with these days, and it can be hard to start conversations so your teen feels comfortable talking to you about drugs, sex or other tricky topics.
One of my favourite techniques to a) support my teen and b) start conversations is though audio books.
Audio books are IDEAL for teens because they’re convenient, and they can help make use of otherwise dead time. With my daughter, we’ll listen to audio books on long car drives to hockey, or Flea will play one when she goes for a run.
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Why audio books are perfect for teens
When we listen to audio books together, it’s a great opportunity to avoid the (frankly) horrifying possibility of me starting a conversation about any sort of ‘ISSUE’.
“Eww, Mum! Gross!”
“God, you’re so embarrassing.”
“I can’t talk about this to YOU.”
There are loads of books for teen girls that cover these topics. But what’s great about listening to an audio book, it’s something we can do together. 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 issues that otherwise I’d never get the chance to discuss with her so openly.
The best audio books for teens
Today I’ms sharing some of our favourite audio books for teens. They are all suitable for kids 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.
Looking for Alaska, John Green
Looking for Alaska is a really good story about a shy young man who makes friends with the outcasts as his new Southern US boarding school. There are pranks, inspiring teachers and a mysterious girl that our hero is passionately in love with. The story takes a turn with a death half-way through, and the characters must solve the mystery of how their friend died.
It’s a book that’s funny in many places, sad in a few places and very heartwarming. It’s also a great story to inspire teens to get reading more widely.
Autoboyography, Christina Lauren
Autoboyography tells the story of Tanner, who 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.
In some ways this is a classic story of a “crush” in school and will feel familiar to teens, but it’s refreshing to have the additional spin of an LGBTQ hero, and discussion of religion and the view on sexuality. 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 teen 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! That’s great for any teen to be aware of.
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. Read the audio book before the film comes out next year.
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!