What We're Listening To: Olivia's December Picks
December 14, 2023

What We’re Listening To: Olivia’s December Picks

Penguin with Headphones By Olivia Blackmer

Hi everyone! I’m Olivia, an intern from the Penguin Young Readers publicity and marketing team, and an English major at Boston University. I’ve been an audiobook fan ever since Dan and Phil released their Amazing Book is Not On Fire in 2015 (ouch), and it’s only gone uphill from there! I have waaay too many crafting hobbies, and right now I’m relying on my audiobooks to get me through crocheting pom pom hats for my entire family .

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Before you ask: yes, I’ve read Evelyn Hugo. And Daisy Jones and the Six. And Malibu Rising. Taylor Jenkins Reid and I are close (metaphorically , she has no idea who I am). I started Carrie Soto is Back because I was in a listening slump, and Taylor’s audiobooks always blow me away. If you’ve had the pleasure of reading Malibu Rising, you might remember Carrie Soto as the cold-hearted mistress of… a particular character (no spoilers here). When we meet her again in Carrie Soto is Back, she is the reigning champion of women’s tennis… but not for long.

When a young upstart threatens to beat her record for most tennis-y tennis , she bursts out of retirement to take her down. With a bum knee, a vicious reputation, and a deep fear of being loved, will Carrie be able to maintain her title, or will she lose everything in the process? I didn’t know anything about tennis going in (did “most tennis-y tennis” tip you off?) and Taylor still had me on the edge of my seat during the match sequences. I loved watching Carrie’s development from innocent kid to merciless champion to semi-functional adult, and the slow-burn romance was everything! I would highly recommend giving this a listen, though be warned: you may be jump scared by British TV music halfway through.

Ideal Listening Location: The gym. However much my workout sucked, Carrie’s always sucked more .

The Apartment House on Poppy Hill by Nina LaCour

At a little over an hour, this listen was the quickest 5 stars I’ve ever given! I’m typically not a huge Middle Grade reader, but I saw an ad for this one in Publisher’s Weekly, and I had to try it!

The book tells the story of a little girl who lives in an apartment house with her two moms and plethora of strange neighbors, and the various misadventures she has with them. In one of my favorite scenes, our protagonist runs through all of the special tricks you need to get the apartments to function, much to the dismay of her new neighbors! As someone who lives in a busted apartment with no fire alarms and ghosts in the lights I very much appreciate the romanticization of the lifestyle. The characters were charming and the stories were adorable, and I can see myself returning to this one again and again. I hear the physical book is illustrated, so I might have to pick that one up too!

Ideal Listening Location: On hold with your landlord, trying to get them to address the ghost situation .

The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess by Chappell Roan

You might have seen her gorgeous red hair bouncing around your For You Page, or maybe you’ve caught a snippet of her cinematic music videos floating around online (Casual is visually STUNNING). Chappell Roan is the queer sex-positive dance machine we all need to get us through the winter. The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess tells the story of a young woman finding herself in her queerness, and her earnestness shines through in every song. I was lucky enough to see her on tour in October, and she was a powerhouse! My must-listens are Red Wine Supernova (catch that music video if you have time), Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl, and Kaleidoscope.

Ideal Listening Location: Strutting through your commute.

My on deck:

We’re getting into the Holiday season, and I’m PUMPED! I’m hoping to listen to a lot of holiday stuff next month, but I’ll give myself a good variety in case I’m feeling Grinch-y.

All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox

This is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbach by Tabitha Carvan

West Heart Kill by Dann McDorman