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Welcome to our curated list of the best audiobooks of 2021. As avid book lovers, we have listened to countless titles and are excited to share our top picks with you. These audiobooks stood out from the rest with their compelling storytelling and engaging narration, making them essential listens for anyone who appreciates the art of audiobook storytelling.

From standout 2021 audiobooks in the mystery and suspense genre to heartwarming romance titles, we have a diverse selection of memorable audio stories to recommend. So sit back, relax, and discover your next favorite audiobook with us.

Thrilling Mystery and Suspense Audiobooks

If you’re looking for audiobooks that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you won’t want to miss these 2021 audiobook essentials. We’ve curated a list of memorable audio stories that blend heart-pounding suspense, thrilling plot twists, and unforgettable characters.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Set in a secluded hotel in the Swiss Alps, this atmospheric thriller follows detective Elin Warner as she tries to solve a murder case while dealing with her own personal demons. The eerie setting and complex characters make The Sanatorium a standout audiobook of the year.

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

From the bestselling author of The Silent Patient comes a new gripping mystery. The Maidens follows therapist Mariana as she tries to unravel the secrets behind a series of murders at Cambridge University. With expert pacing and a shocking conclusion, this audiobook is a must-listen for fans of psychological thrillers.

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

This taut and harrowing audiobook tells the story of a woman held captive on a remote farm in England. As she escapes and tries to outrun her captor, tension builds to a heart-stopping climax. The Last Thing to Burn is a masterclass in suspenseful storytelling.

Title Author Narrator
The Sanatorium Sarah Pearse Elizabeth Knowelden
The Maidens Alex Michaelides Louise Brealey
The Last Thing to Burn Will Dean Sarah Lam

These audiobooks are just a taste of the memorable audio stories available in the mystery and suspense genre. Listen to our recommendations and discover why these titles truly stand out as 2021 audiobook essentials.

Captivating Fiction Audiobooks

Our selection of the best audiobooks of 2021 would not be complete without an impressive lineup of captivating fiction audiobooks. These memorable audio stories transport listeners to different worlds, explore the depths of human emotions, and are brought to life with incredible narration that enhances the storytelling experience.

One standout title is The Push by Ashley Audrain, which follows the story of a mother struggling with the challenging dynamics of motherhood. The haunting story and the skillful narration make for an intense listening experience that is hard to forget.

Another must-listen is Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, a poignant and thought-provoking novel about the relationship between an Artificial Friend named Klara and her human companion. The narration by Sura Siu is a standout, adding depth and emotion to an already powerful story.

Title Author Narrator
The Four Winds Kristin Hannah Julia Whelan
A Court of Silver Flames Sarah J. Maas Stina Nielsen
The Sanatorium Sarah Pearse Elizabeth Knowelden

Other notable fiction titles include Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, The Rose Code by Kate Quinn, and The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. Each of these titles has their unique charm and allure, making them essential listens for fans of the genre.

These best audiobooks of 2021 offer the perfect escape for book lovers seeking captivating stories and memorable audio experiences. Let us know which audiobook is your favorite so far.

Inspirational Non-Fiction Audiobooks

If you’re looking for an enriching and insightful listening experience, look no further than our curated selection of inspirational non-fiction audiobooks. In this list of 2021 audiobook essentials, we’ve gathered the best of audiobook storytelling in the realm of personal growth, self-help, and biographies. These titles offer valuable lessons and perspectives for listeners seeking personal and spiritual growth.

1. Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant

In this thought-provoking book, organizational psychologist Adam Grant challenges listeners to rethink their beliefs and assumptions, encouraging them to embrace a more open-minded approach to learning and growth. With his signature blend of engaging storytelling and rigorous research, Grant offers practical tips and tools for developing intellectual humility and embracing the power of rethinking.

2. Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson

Best-selling author Jenny Lawson shares her personal journey with mental health struggles in this humorous and heartfelt memoir. With her trademark wit and honesty, Lawson offers a candid and relatable account of living with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

3. Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner

In this moving memoir, musician Michelle Zauner reflects on her experiences growing up as a Korean-American in Oregon, her relationship with her mother, and her journey to reconnect with her Korean heritage. Through poignant storytelling and vivid imagery, Zauner offers a touching exploration of grief, identity, and family.

4. The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Walter Isaacson tells the fascinating story of Jennifer Doudna, the scientist behind the revolutionary CRISPR gene-editing technology. Through meticulous research and captivating storytelling, Isaacson offers a thrilling look into the groundbreaking discoveries and ethical dilemmas of modern genetic engineering.

Title Author Narrator
Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know Adam Grant Adam Grant
Broken (in the Best Possible Way) Jenny Lawson Jenny Lawson
Crying in H Mart: A Memoir Michelle Zauner Michelle Zauner
The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race Walter Isaacson Katrina Link

These inspirational non-fiction audiobooks are just a taste of the best of audiobook storytelling available in 2021. Whether you’re looking for personal growth, real-life inspiration, or fascinating scientific discoveries, these titles are sure to enlighten and engage. So plug in your headphones, press play, and let these memorable audio stories inspire you.

Thought-Provoking Sci-Fi and Fantasy Audiobooks

If you’re a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, these standout audiobooks from 2021 are a must-listen. From epic sagas to mind-bending thrillers, these titles showcase the best of audiobook storytelling. Get ready to embark on a journey of imagination and adventure with these memorable audio stories.

1. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

In this gripping sci-fi tale, an astronaut wakes up alone on a spaceship with no memory of how he got there. Slowly, he pieces together the information and realizes that the fate of humanity rests on his mission. The narrative is brought to life by the talented Ray Porter, making it a truly unforgettable listen.

2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

This enchanting fantasy novel tells the story of a young woman who makes a deal with the devil to live forever but is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. The beautiful prose is matched by the captivating performance of narrator Julia Whelan, making it a standout audiobook of 2021.

3. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

In this thought-provoking urban fantasy, New York City becomes a living, breathing entity that must fight against an ancient evil threatening its existence. The imaginative world-building and diverse cast of characters are expertly portrayed by Robin Miles, making it a must-listen for any sci-fi and fantasy fan.

Heartwarming Romance Audiobooks

If you’re in the mood for some heartwarming love stories, check out our selection of the best romance audiobooks of 2021. These titles are perfect for anyone looking for a feel-good escape from reality. From charming meet-cutes to emotional journeys, these stories offer a range of romantic tales to suit any taste.

2021 Audiobook Essentials

  • “People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry: A delightful second-chance romance that follows two best friends who have been in love for years but afraid to admit it. Narrated by Julia Whelan and Michael Crouch, this story will make you laugh, cry and swoon.
  • “The Spanish Love Deception” by Elena Armas: A passion-filled steamy romance set in Madrid, Spain, and narrated by Megan Tusing and Tim Paige. If you’re a fan of enemies-to-lovers and fake relationships, this one is for you.
  • “The Soulmate Equation” by Christina Lauren: A sweet, heartwarming love story about a single mom who participates in a DNA-based matchmaking service that pairs her with a perfect stranger. Narrated by Patti Murin and Stephen Dexter, this audiobook is sure to make you believe in love.

Best of Audiobook Storytelling

These romance audiobooks not only have captivating stories, but they also feature talented narrators who bring the characters to life. You’ll get lost in the narrators’ voices and feel like you’re part of the story.

Title Narrator(s)
“The Intimacy Experiment” by Rosie Danan Emily Woo Zeller and Shane East
“The Guncle” by Stephen Rowley George Newbern
“Love at First” by Kate Clayborn Lauren Ezzo and Garret Lang

If you’re looking for a break from the real world and want to immerse yourself in some heartwarming romance, these audiobooks are the perfect choice. They offer beautiful stories and engaging characters that will leave you with a smile on your face, and remind you that love is always worth pursuing.

Heartwarming Romance Audiobooks

Historical Fiction Audiobooks

If you’re a fan of history and love getting lost in a good story, look no further than these standout 2021 audiobooks. From vividly reimagined eras to captivating character studies, these titles transport listeners to fascinating moments in time and offer unforgettable insights into the past.

Title Author Narrator
The Four Winds Kristin Hannah Julia Whelan
The Rose Code Kate Quinn Saskia Maarleveld
The Cold Millions Jess Walter Edoardo Ballerini

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Set during the Great Depression, this epic novel follows a fiercely independent woman named Elsa as she navigates the harsh realities of poverty and displacement. Julia Whelan’s powerful narration brings to life the sweeping landscapes and emotional complexities of Hannah’s beautiful prose.

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

In this gripping historical thriller, three female codebreakers at Bletchley Park during World War II unravel a deadly mystery that threatens their lives and the course of the war itself. Saskia Maarleveld’s dynamic narration adds an extra layer of tension and intrigue to Quinn’s expertly plotted tale.

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter

This poignant historical novel tells the story of two brothers struggling to survive in the harsh realities of early 20th-century America, amidst labor strikes and political upheaval. Edoardo Ballerini’s evocative narration captures the emotional resonance of Walter’s masterful storytelling.

Gripping True Crime Audiobooks

If you’re a fan of true crime, you won’t want to miss out on these memorable audio stories. From chilling investigations to shocking revelations, these audiobooks are sure to captivate and enthrall you. Here are some of our top picks for the best of audiobook storytelling in this genre.

Title Author Narrator
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark Michelle McNamara Gabra Zackman, Gillian Flynn, Patton Oswalt
American Predator Maureen Callahan Amy Landon
Evil Has a Name Paul Holes, Jim Clemente, Peter McDonnell Paul Holes, Jim Clemente, Peter McDonnell
The Stranger Beside Me Ann Rule Lorelei King
Hell in the Heartland Jax Miller Hillary Huber

These gripping true crime audiobooks are expertly narrated and offer a deep dive into some of the most shocking cases in history. Listen in awe as the stories unravel and the details of the investigations are revealed. These audiobooks are truly some of the most memorable audio stories of 2021.

Engaging Young Adult Audiobooks

Young adult literature is a genre that continues to gain popularity, and there was no shortage of great YA audiobooks in 2021. These standout audiobooks are perfect for any young adult reader looking for an immersive and engaging story. Here are our top picks for 2021 audiobook essentials:

Title Author Narrator
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Suzanne Collins Santino Fontana
Concrete Rose Angie Thomas Dion Graham
One of Us Is Next Karen M. McManus Brittany Pressley, Kirby Heyborne, and Various
Firekeeper’s Daughter Angeline Boulley Isabella Star LaBlanc
Legendborn Tracy Deonn Joniece Abbott-Pratt

These audiobooks are sure to keep young adults engaged from start to finish with their captivating stories and talented narrators. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling mystery or a heartwarming coming-of-age tale, there’s a standout 2021 audiobook for everyone in the young adult genre.

Biographies and Memoirs

If you’re a fan of learning about the lives of extraordinary people or seeking inspiration from personal reflections, you won’t want to miss our top picks for biographies and memoirs of 2021. These memorable audio stories offer an insightful look into the lives of remarkable individuals, from inspiring journeys to personal struggles and triumphs.

Book Title Author Narrator
Becoming Duchess Goldblatt Anon Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi
Empire of Pain Patrick Radden Keefe Patrick Radden Keefe
Crying in H Mart Michelle Zauner Michelle Zauner
The Code Breaker Walter Isaacson Katrina Rogers
The Body Keeps the Score Bessel van der Kolk Sean Pratt

Our 2021 audiobook essentials had something for everyone, with captivating titles that offer valuable insights and perspectives for all listeners. Don’t miss out on these must-listen audiobooks that showcase the memorable audio stories of remarkable people.


As we wrap up our article, we hope you have found this list of the top audiobooks of 2021 helpful in discovering your next favorite listen. These standout titles cover a wide range of genres and offer memorable audio stories that will keep you entertained for hours on end.

Looking back at the year in review, it’s clear that audiobooks have continued to grow in popularity, with listeners seeking out engaging titles that truly capture their attention. As a listener’s choice for 2021, these audiobooks have proven to be the cream of the crop and are definitely worth a listen.

Whether you’re a fan of fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, sci-fi, history, true crime, young adult literature, or biographies, there is an audiobook out there that will captivate you. So, why not dive into the world of audiobooks and discover your next favorite story?

Thank you for joining us on this journey through the best audiobooks of 2021. We can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store for the world of audio storytelling!

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