The Best Audiobooks 2021: 2022 Audie Awards Winners

The Best Audiobooks 2021: 2022 Audie Awards Winners

The Audie Awards are awarded by the Audio Publishers Association to the best audiobooks of the year across multiple genres. This year, the best audiobooks 2021 list features some of our favorites!

The Audie Awards are held in the spring of each year, honoring the audiobooks released in the year prior.

We’ve tried to lay out the list in an easy-to-read format. We’ve highlighted the winner of each genre, but also put the images of nominees below so you can click them to learn more.

*The best audiobooks 2021 post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you.

Table of Contents

2021 Audiobook of the Year

Porject Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Genre: Sci-Fi

Plot: A man wakes up with no memory, only to find himself on a spaceship with 2 dead crewmates. He’s been sent on a mission to save humanity and the planet, but can’t remember even that. As his memory slowly returns, he needs to figure out all the pieces of the scientific mystery alone. This thrilling interstellar book is narrated by Ray Porter and won the 2022 Audie Awards coveted Best Audiobook of the Year title.

New Release Books

Best Books of 2021: 31 Books to Obsess Over

Looking for more amazing 2021 books? Check out this list!

2021 Audiobook of the Year Finalists

Best Audiobooks 2021: Audio Drama

sherlock holmes seamstress

Sherlock Holmes: The Seamstress of Peckham Rye by Jonathan Barnes

Genre: Historical Mystery

Plot: This full-cast audiobook is perfect for mystery lovers. Holmes and Watson are in flux, awaiting Watson’s upcoming marriage, but a murder and a secret code bring the men back together.

It is currently unavailable for purchase.

2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Audio Drama

Best Audiobooks 2021: Autobiographies & Memoirs

Somebodys daughter

Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

Genre: Non-Fiction

Plot: Ashley Ford’s memoir is about her difficult relationship with her mother and her wish to know her father. But her father is in prison and Ashley doesn’t know why, so she turns to drugs and unscrupulous company for comfort. Her search for answers leads to her life turning upside down.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Memoir

Love Non-Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Non-Fiction Books.

Best Audiobooks 2021: Best Female Narrator

The Parted Earth

The Parted Earth by Anjali Enjeti

Genre: Literary Fiction

Plot: Over the course of 70 years, this debut novel potrays three generations impacted by the partition of Pakistan and India.

This dual timeline narrative also takes place in Atlanta when a granddaughter is search for anwers from her grandmother and what happened to her 70 years prior when she was forced to leave India.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Female Narrator

Best Audiobooks 2021: Best Male Narrator

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Water of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Genre: Ya Fiction

Plot: Narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda, this is the follow-up to the award-winner, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. They fell in love in the first book and now they are determined to stay in love even if the world seems to challenge their relationship at every turn.

When Ari faces a shocking loss, he and Dante will be forced to fight for a life filled with truth, joy, and love.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Male Narrator

Best Audiobooks 2021: Business & Personal Development

Machiavelli for women

Machiavelli for Women by Stacey Vanek Smith

Genre: Non-Fiction

Plot: This business book takes an in-depth look at why the glass ceiling is still a factor when it comes to women in the workforce. It uses The Prince as a playbook to apply Renaissance politics to modern life and help women harness their power.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Business & Personal Development

Best Audiobooks 2021: Fantasy

rhythm of war

Rhythm of War by Brandon Sander

Genre: Fantasy

Plot: This is the fourth book in the Stormlight Archive series. After forming a coalition of human resistance against the enemy invasion, Dalinar Kholin and his Knights Radiant have spent a year fighting a protracted, brutal war. Neither side has gained an advantage, and the threat of a betrayal by Dalinar’s crafty ally Taravangian looms over every strategic move. 

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Fantasy

Love Fantasy Books? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Fantasy for Adults and the Ultimate List of YA fantasy!

Best Audiobooks 2021: Fiction

Opal Nev

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton

This is the closest of the books like Daisy Jones and The Six. It’s told in an interview format and is about a band from the 70s. The comparison makes sense… and yet…

This 70s book is wonderful in its own right! No comparison is needed. It looks at sexism and racism in the music industry during this time period and is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. It is a total must-read. This is one of the full cast audiobooks that we included in our Ultimate List of Feel-Good Books to Brighten your Day

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Fiction

contemporary fiction header

Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction Novels to Love in 2024

For more contemporary fiction books like these, check out our ultimate list for dozens of recommendations.

Best Audiobooks 2021: History/Biography

Clanlands and other Books like Outlander

Clanlands by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish (forward by Diana Gabaldon)

This hysterical book is part history and part comedy. Stars of the Outlander TV series, Sam Heughan (who plays Jamie Fraser) and Graham McTavish (AKA Dougal MacKenzie) go on a road trip with each other.

Along the way, they tell funny stories and experience Scotland’s rich heritage. I laughed out loud multiple times at their antics, and then promptly watched their show Men in Kilts on Starz.

If you are a fan of the Outlander series (television series), you must read this pick in books like Outlander. This is a feel-good nonfiction pick from books about Scotland. It is a perfect place to start if you are looking for nonfiction books for beginners.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: History/Biography

Best Audiobooks 2021: Literary Fiction & Classics

All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Genre: Classics

Plot: Delve into the magical, unforgettable world of James Herriot, the world’s most beloved veterinarian, and his menagerie of heartwarming, funny, and tragic animal patients.

James Herriot’s memoirs have sold 80 million copies worldwide, and continue to delight and entertain listeners and readers of all ages.  

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Literary Fiction & Classics

Best Audiobooks 2021: Middle Grade

Playing the cards youre dealt

Playing the Cards You’re Dealt by Varian Johnson

Genre: Middle Grade

Plot: The story of 10-year-old Ant Joplin and his dream of winning the spades tournament everyone else in his family has won before him. As he teams up with the new girl in the class, he also starts to find out about family secrets he knew nothing about.

For more middle grade books, check out our list of books for 10-year-old, 11-year-old, 12-year-old, or 13-year-old readers.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Middle Grade

Best Audiobooks 2021: Multi-Voice Performance


Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt

Genre: Western

Plot: “An all-out women-driven, queer, transgender, multiracial takeover of the Old West . . . and that’s exactly what Melissa Lenhardt delivers in her unapologetically badass western, Heresy.” – New York Times

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Multi-Voice Performance

Best Audiobooks 2021: Mystery

Later by Stephen King

Later by Stephen King

Genre: Mystery

Plot: Jamie Conklin has an unnatural ability to see and learn what others can’t. His mom wants him to keep it secret until an NYPD detective needs his help to catch a killer threatening to strike from beyond the grave.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Mystery

Are mysteries your favorite genre? We created The Ultimate List of Mysteries carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.

Best Audiobooks 2021: Narration by Author

a promised land

A Promised Land By Barack Obama

Genre: Mystery

Plot: Barack Obama’s latest memoir covers his political campaign and his years as the 44th United States president. He also talks about bipartisan politics and the way the political landscape of America is changing.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Narration by Author

Best Audiobooks 2021: Non-Fiction

the joy of sweat

The Joy of Sweat by Sarah Everts

Genre: Non-Fiction

Plot: If you are a fitness junkie then this must-read! It’s all about the science of sweat from why it’s salty to why we produce it when we are stressed. In addition, Everts explores traditions around sweat from all over the world.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Non-Fiction

Best Audiobooks 2021: Romance

Reel by kennedy ryan

Reel by Kennedy Ryan

Genre: Romance

Plot: The first book in the Hollywood Renaissance series is the love story between Canon Holt a famous film director and Neevah Saint, a former broadway understudy new to Hollywood. Will her new life and love interest make her a star or ruin everything?

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Romance

ultimate list of romance

Ultimate List of Romances

If you love all things romance, then this is the list for you! This is carefully divided by sub-genres like second-chance romance books, romcoms, and more.

Best Audiobooks 2021: Thriller/Suspense

local woman missing

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Genre: Thriller

Plot: 3 people go missing, rocking a community to its core. The case eventually goes cold…until 11 years later when one of them comes back. Everyone wants to know what happened to her.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Thriller/Suspense

Best Audiobooks 2021: Young Adult

Be Dazzled

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

Genre: Young Adult

Plot: Raffy loves to create and this year he wants to make a mark at the cosplay competition hoping it will lead to art school. But Raffy’s ex-boyfriend is his main competitor. He’s determined to beat him and have the perfect comeback!

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Young Adult

Best Audiobooks 2021: Young Listeners

i and i

I and I Bob Marley by Tony Medina

Genre: Chapter Books

Plot: This story is a tribute to Bob Marley in rhyme. It’s geared toward 8 to 11-year-olds. The picture book is originally from 2013 but was recently turned into an audiobook narrated by Jamie Lincoln Smith.

More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: Young Listeners

Are any of the best audiobooks of 2021 going to end up on your TBR?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.