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.
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2021 Audiobook of the Year
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.
Looking for more amazing 2021 books? Check out this list!
2021 Audiobook of the Year Finalists
Best Audiobooks 2021: Audio Drama
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
For more contemporary fiction books like these, check out our ultimate list for dozens of recommendations.
Best Audiobooks 2021: History/Biography
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 on television, you must read this pick in books like Outlander. This is a feelgood non-fiction pick from books about Scotland.
More 2022 Audie Awards Finalists: History/Biography
Best Audiobooks 2021: Literary Fiction & 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
If you love all things romance, then this is the list for you! We have this list carefully divided by sub-genre.
Best Audiobooks 2021: Thriller/Suspense
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
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
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.