Do you spend a lot of your time traveling, commuting, or running from place to place? These 30 best fiction audiobooks are the perfect way of devouring a story on the go, so you don’t have to sacrifice reading for your busy timetable.
Many people have favored audiobooks over physical books for numerous reasons. If you’re living in a small area and need all the storage space you can get, having books lying around isn’t going to help. Audiobooks are all in one place and are portable too, making them the perfect travel companion.
Audiobook revenue steadily grows each year and since 2020, the U.S. audiobook market has seen a surge in users. This is undoubtedly down to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced bookstores to shut and therefore prohibited people from buying physical books.
Although sites like Amazon still sold physical books, the lower price of audiobooks persuaded many readers to choose the audio option, many of whom didn’t turn back. According to Statistica, 45% of the U.S. population uses audiobooks regularly, a number that is slowly increasing year after year.
Although there’s nothing quite like turning the pages of a physical book, audiobooks help to increase reading speed, reading accuracy, comprehension skills, and even teaches pronunciation in many cases.
If you haven’t already tried audiobooks, why not try them out? There’s a vast selection of books available, covering all genres, themes, and time periods. If you’re lucky, you may also find a book read by one of your favorite celebrities, which can make the experience more fun and enjoyable.
If you’re a fiction fan and you’re interested in audiobooks, stay tuned to learn about the 30 best fiction audiobooks available.
The 30 Best Fiction Audiobooks
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Reid Jenkins
Written by one of the most popular up-and-coming authors of her generation, Daisy Jones & The Six follows an iconic 1970s rock band as they experience the reality of drugs, sex, and ‘rock ‘n’ roll’.
Daisy is an adolescent in 1960s LA. Her life predominantly concerns fake IDs, sex with rock stars, drugs, and dreaming of making it as a singer. She begins to gain some attention for her voice, as does another band, The Six, who are heading out on tour. When Daisy and Billy, the lead singer of The Six, cross paths their combined musical talent really gets the ball rolling.
This novel is semi-fiction, following a real 1970s band through their success and downfall. It’s mysterious, scandalous, and filled to the brim with fun and excitement. This audiobook sounds more like a play, as each character is voiced by a different person and has been climbing the audiobook ratings ever since its release.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Clap When You Land is a novel-in-verse, making it one of the most enjoyable books to listen to. The narrative is rhythmical and flowing and captures imagery in a really unique way.
This is an emotive, thought-provoking read that tackles themes of love, forgiveness, loss, relationships, and grief. It follows sisters Camino and Yahaira Rios, who lose their father in a plane crash. One lives in the Dominican Republic, the other in New York City, and separated by thousands of miles, the two must lean on each other and grieve.
But as their father’s secrets begin emerging, the two will not only learn more about their beloved Papi but more about themselves.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This has been labeled as one of the best and most innovative, genre-bending books of the year by countless organizations and authorities.
Mexican Gothic is set in 1950s Mexico and follows Noemí as she trades bustling city life for a secluded, eerie house after receiving a mysterious letter from her cousin. There, she finds suspicious family members and must investigate each person and every circumstance to uncover the truth behind the family history and wealth, before it works its way into her life.
This is a captivating period drama that encompasses supernaturalism, mystery, and secrecy. Immersive and rich with intrigue, this one is a brilliant listen for any reader looking to dive into the past or a scandalous mystery.
One, Two, Three by Lauren Frankel
Listening to a narrator is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the small town of Bourne, an idyllic place with not a lot going on. The Mitchell triplets are well-known within the Bourne community – Mirabel is known for her intelligence, Monday is the town’s bookseller, and Mab just wants to get out.
17 years ago, the water in Bourne turned green and the town was the center of national news. This mystery soon faded and the Mitchell mother never obtained justice. When new details resurface, the sisters must group together to uncover old secrets and solve the mystery for good.
Brought to life by 3 unmatched narrators, One, Two, Three is emotive, daring, and unpredictable. Perfect for anyone seeking a little thrill.
Circe by Madeleine Miller
This number 1 best-seller in the historical fiction category has captivated millions of fans worldwide with its fascinating, honest, and resilient female protagonist. If you’ve read Song of Achilles, Miller’s other best-selling novel, you know you’re in for a treat with this one.
Circe is set within the realms of the gods and follows the daughter of Helios. Unlike her brilliant siblings, Circe doesn’t fit in and after living in the shadow of others throughout her entire childhood, Circe proves herself using witchcraft.
Threatened by her new powers, Zeus exiles Circe to her own island and there she must face her own trials, regain her independence, nurture her powers, and defeat the prejudice stacked against her.
Listening to this novel is one of the best ways to enjoy this story. The narrators bring the beautiful ancient setting to life and emphasize Circe’s feminist will. Powerful, immersive, and eloquently written, Circe is definitely one to add to your reading list.
The Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings is one of the most well-known and widely enjoyed fantasy stories ever written and if you’ve read the books or watched the films, you know this story isn’t one to miss.
This trilogy follows a group of fantastical creatures including elves, dwarves, hobbits, wizards, and men that embark on a mighty quest to destroy the most powerful ring of all time.
One of the best ways of enjoying this epic is by audio. Tolkien’s writing is notoriously descriptive and while his plot lines are action-packed and his characters are complex and endearing, some readers struggle to make it through every word.
Listening to a narrator can help you process every word, allowing you to enjoy every moment of Tolkien’s storytelling. The audiobooks combine the descriptive detail that comes with the books with the immersive imagery seen on screen – why not get the best of both worlds?
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
If you’re not into tense mysteries, action-packed thrillers, or full-blown fantasy, not to worry! Act Your Age, Eve Brown is a light-hearted rom-com that follows Eve Brown, a certified mess who finally lost the respect of her parents.
Eve must prove herself as the independent, strong woman she is but in order to do that she’ll have to cross paths with Jacob, a control freak who just lost the ability to take control. With a broken arm and an understaffed B&B to run, Jacob needs a miracle and Eve may just be the person to provide it. But when distracted by love, will Eve be efficient? Or will she live up to her reputation?
This is a funny, romantic, honest story of womanhood and growth. Brought to life by excellent storytellers, this book is guaranteed to be relatable for many.
Luster by Raven Leilani
Luster is a fairly recent release and follows Edie, a girl with all the wrong priorities. She sleeps her way across the office and gets herself fired pretty quickly and then to top it off, she gets evicted, too. Edie is then forced to move in with her married boyfriend, Eric, and must endure the awkwardness of living under his familial roof.
This book constructs a character who tackles sexual desire, racism, unemployment, and individuality. It’s a raw, open, thought-provoking account of a black woman navigating early womanhood and the narration helps to capture the characterization perfectly.
Be aware that this book contains graphic descriptions of sex and will not be appropriate for readers under the age of 16.
How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu
This moving, futuristic book blends psychology, science fiction, and drama. How High We Go in the Dark is set in 2030 and follows an archaeologist, riddled with personal traumas, who arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his daughter, who recently died.
There, he, alongside a team of researchers, finds the preserved remains of a young girl, who died from an ancient plague. This virus gets unleashed, forcing humanity to rapidly adapt in order to survive. This disaster sets the scene for numerous subplots, all of which center around relationships, determination, compassion, and spirituality.
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Dirk Maggs
This mind-blowing science-fiction epic is narrated by a star-studded cast that helps to bring the novel to life. The cast includes big names such as James McAvoy, Regé-Jean Page, Kristen Schaal, Wil Wheaton, and the author himself, Neil Gaiman, as the narrator. Listening to these brilliant actors bring the story to life is reason enough to buy the audiobook, but The Sandman also has a gripping storyline too.
This book is split into acts and is set in a mysterious fantasy world filled with intriguing characters. The story starts in 1916, as Morpheus, the King of Dreams, alongside one of the 7 members of Endless, is imprisoned during a ritual. Having spent 105 years in captivity, Morpheus breaks free to help his kingdom regain order. This may sound mind-boggling, but it’s a story worthy of all the positive recognition.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
This story captivated the attention of millions across the world following its release. The story tells of two identical, racially ambiguous twins who lead very different lives. One ‘passes’ for white, marries a white man, and lives an affluent, wealthy life, choosing to disregard her black heritage and her turbulent past. Whereas, the other twin marries a black man and lives as a black woman.
The Vanishing Half is the intriguing, insightful story of racial passing, which shines a light on the differences between black and white lifestyles. Exploring themes of heritage, belonging, aspiration, and deceit, Bennett creates a timeless story of identity that spans generations from the American 1950s to the 1990s.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Narrated by the iconic voice of Tom Hanks, The Dutch House is a powerful novel that discusses childhood, relationships, inheritance, and forgiveness.
Beginning at the end of World War II, the novel follows Cyril, who invests in real estate and thrusts his family into wealth and affluence. The novel spans over 50 years and interestingly details the good and bad of inheriting wealth.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
This one needs no introduction, but the Harry Potter books have taken the audiobook scene by storm. Narrated by Jim Dale, this series has been widely popular among many fans of both the books and films.
Using the audiobook versions, many film fans who weren’t keen on reading have now been able to experience Rowling’s wider wizarding world for themselves. The books contain so much more detail than any of the films, including new characters, new relationships, and even new magical concepts that didn’t make the cut on-screen.
Be sure to check out these audiobooks for a more in-depth wizarding experience and get to know your favorite places and characters in more detail – you won’t regret it!
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
The Thursday Murder Club was hugely popular when it was first published during the pandemic in 2020. It follows a group of unlikely detectives as they solve mysteries across their local area.
The group is soon thrown into the deep end after finding a dead body with a mysterious photo attached. While investigating, more and more bodies are found and the group must find the killer before it’s too late.
Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes
Humor, individuality, and warmth are what you can expect from this feel-good story. Someone Else’s Shoes follows Nisha Cantor, an avid traveler with a very fortunate lifestyle. But when her husband files for divorce and Nisha is cut off, her previous wealthy lifestyle seems out of reach.
Following a bag mix-up, Nisha is not the only one contemplating her life. Sam Kemp accidentally picks up Nisha’s gym bag and after trying on the contents, decides she needs a new life.
Moyes creates a fantastic story of identity and change. Perfect for anyone dealing with their own life changes or struggling to find a sense of belonging.
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Thanks to TikTok and several other social media platforms, It Ends With Us has become one of the most popular books, especially among teens. The story follows Lily, who has finally got her life together. She moved to Boston, has started her own business and a new relationship may be on the horizon with a handsome neurosurgeon called Ryle.
Ryle is a complex character, with a ‘no-dating’ rule that Lily finds perplexing. As Lily dives deeper into Ryle’s past and psychology, she starts reminiscing about her own first love, Atlas Corrigan.
But when Atlas mysteriously crops up in Lily’s life again, her new life is put on the line and she must stop her past from affecting her bright future.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Labeled as one of the most intense, gripping, multidimensional epic fantasies, A Game of Thrones is not one to skip. In a fantasy land divided into kingdoms, secrecy, conflicts, forbidden romances, arranged marriages, egotistical leaders, and dragons are commonplace.
This plot is so multifaceted, there’s no good place to start. But what we can say is that the story is definitely worth it. With captivating characters, unpredictable deaths, battles, intriguing relationships, and so much more, this story has everything and is the perfect choice if you’re not sure what to delve into.
The HBO series did a brilliant job of bringing these books to life, but the books are jam-packed with detail, character developments, and vivid descriptions and worth the read/listen if you want a more in-depth insight.
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
O’Farrell’s newest book, The Marriage Portrait has grabbed the attention of many readers, both new and existing fans of her intriguing historical reimaginings.
This book is set in the 1550s in Florence, so it’s overflowing with expressive descriptions of the romanticized, Italian renaissance. The story follows Lucrezia, daughter of the grand duke, who lives the high life in the palazzo, spending her time exploring artifacts, treasures, and artwork.
But when her older sister passes away, the spotlight quickly finds Lucrezia, who now has an eager duke asking for her hand in place of her sister. Conflicted by youth, individuality, and duty, Lucrezia must adopt a new life, having barely explored her old one.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This #1 New York Times best-selling book shot into the limelight with a helping hand from social media. Owens proves herself as an impeccable storyteller in this intriguing book, a talent that is energized by brilliant narrators.
Where the Crawdads Sing is set in the late 1960s in an eerily quiet town on the North Carolina coastline. The story centers around Kya Clark, a mysterious girl who spends all her time with nature in the marshes. When Chase Andrews is found dead in 1969, Kya instantly becomes suspect number one. The investigation will prove that Kya is not who she seems, and so begins an exquisite story of nature, belonging, identity, and individuality.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
This low-fantasy novel will have you laughing out loud, deep in thought, and reaching for the tissues. Kawaguchi is known for his poetic narration and in this brilliant tale that tackles time travel, relationships, and tough decisions, he really outdoes himself.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold follows many characters who are curious about the supposed time-traveling cafe, located in the backstreets of bustling Tokyo. The coffee provided here gives you the opportunity to travel back in time and revisit dead loved ones and undo regrets, but there’s one catch – you must return before the coffee gets cold.
Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson
This excellent book has topped the audiobook charts numerous times since its release last year. Set in 1926, London is regaining its liveliness following the turbulence of World War I. Clubs, gangsters, and dancing girls, are just a handful of what to expect from a night out in 1920s London, and one woman is known to dominate the scene – Nellie Coker, ambitious, ruthless, and loyal to her children.
Shrines of Gaiety focuses on the juxtaposition of a woman, and a nation, suffering intense grief while also trying to make a lively comeback. Nellie has built a life for herself, but the remnants of the war still hang over her. Grief is the least of it – Nellie has new enemies and a dark side to the glitz and glamor that she promotes is becoming increasingly obvious.
Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent
This intense psychological thriller will keep you guessing until the very end. Strange Sally Diamond follows a woman who is thrown into the spotlight following the death of her father. Elements of Sally’s past begin creeping up and she’s forced to explore the past she can’t remember.
Sally is conflicted, not sure whether to start a new life or delve into her past. But curiosity gets the better of her. She must find out who this mysterious man is, tracking her from the other side of the globe – and why does he call her Mary?
Gripping, multifaceted, and immersive when listening through audio, there’s a reason why Strange Sally Diamond continuously creeps up in the audiobook rankings.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This is one of the most famous dystopian stories ever written and while its setting is far from reality, the story will make you question the current pillars of your society.
The Handmaid’s Tale is set in what was once the U.S. but is now known as the Republic of Gilead. This society is inherently misogynistic and uses women as mere tools of reproduction. Following one Handmaid, Offred, this story dives into what life is like from the eyes of the oppressed and tells a gripping story of secrecy, fertility, and regulation.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This story is psychologically driven but incorporates themes of mystery, scandal, and romance. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo tells the intriguing story of Evelyn Hugo who, after living a long life of glitz and glamor, is finally ready to tell her truth.
Monique is challenged with writing her biography but what starts as a story of romance and prestige, soon turns into a tragic, complex, and unexpected tale. This is the ultimate untrustworthy narration and is perfect for gossip lovers.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Elizabeth Zott is an extraordinary chemist working in a male-dominated domain in the 1960s. She must navigate a system tailored only to her colleagues and prove herself using only her own scientific drive.
Lessons in Chemistry is funny, thought-provoking, and eye-opening, shedding light on the multidimensionality of womanhood. Pursuing a career in science and single motherhood, Elizabeth must find a way to manage both and in doing so, may just lead the way for all women.
Mythos by Stephen Fry
You’ll probably see this highly-rated book floating around all the best-selling charts but there’s a reason why. Mythos is a brilliant book for readers of any age and is insightful, educational, and hilarious.
This book is the perfect way to start or end a busy day, or pass the time traveling or commuting. Stephen Fry writes and narrates a fantastic account of Greek mythology, honing in on the adventures of gods and goddesses and recounting vivid landscapes that will immerse you in the ancient world.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
This thought-provoking read is moving, emotional, romantic, and captivating. It follows Natasha and Daniel who struggle with their own battles and find peace with each other. The story centers around fate and destiny and merges complex characters through an empowering relationship, capable of changing perspective.
The Sun is Also a Star is an award-winning book that works brilliantly as an audiobook. The story is told by multiple narrators and is guaranteed to stay with you.
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
This famous book is even more terrifying to listen to. The Exorcist sent shock waves through readers and viewers alike, telling a chilling story of demonic possession.
It is not for the faint-hearted and has been labeled as the scariest book ever written, which makes it the ideal audiobook for horror lovers.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Heartbreaking, riveting, and necessary are three of the words used to describe this book. The Hate U Give follows 16-year-old Starr who watches her unarmed best friend, Khalil, get shot by a police officer.
His death captures the attention of many worldwide and soon, people start labeling Khalil as a dangerous drug dealer and gangster, without even knowing him. As the only witness, Starr must shed light on what happened that night and seek justice before this happens to someone else.
This story is topical and highly important in light of current affairs. Thomas does a fantastic job of illuminating the heartbreak and prejudice that surrounds common cases like this.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Known as an iconic piece of black literature, Morrison’s Beloved is a heart-wrenching tale of grief, suffering, and the echoes of slavery.
Sethe escaped slavery but remains trapped by the ghost of her baby and the horrendous memories that will never leave her. This story captivates the emotion and trauma that come attached to slavery and loss and remains an influential and essential read.
Just because you’re busy or you struggle to read physical books doesn’t mean you should miss out on some of the best stories out there. Audiobooks are a brilliant way of immersing yourself in new worlds and delving into intriguing characters. With fantastic narrators who bring these stories to life, there’s no better way to enjoy a good fictional book.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are audiobooks cheaper than paperbacks?
In some cases, yes, in others, unfortunately not. It really depends on the book and the demand.
What’s the best thing about audiobooks?
Audiobooks allow you to consume your favorite stories on the go, perfect for travelers, commuters, or multi-taskers.
What’s the worst thing about audiobooks?
Having a narrator read you the book, means you can’t control the pace or the voice. Many have criticized the speed of reading, while others have said that the narrator’s voice has put them off. You can’t please everyone!
Is reading a physical book better for your brain?
It’s certainly better for your reading skills, so if you’re looking for kid’s books, it may be an idea to start with physical books or at least mix it up. But for fully-developed brains, there are minimal negatives to audiobooks. In fact, studies have found that audiobooks stimulate the brain and improve memory skills.
Are all books read by one narrator?
No, many books are read by numerous narrators, which helps to keep listeners engaged and is a bonus if you don’t like the narrator’s voice.