If you’ve been around here for a minute, you would know that I love audiobooks. My favorite kinds of audiobooks are full-cast audiobooks.
What Is a Full-Cast Audiobook?
Technically, a full-cast audiobook is one where each narrating character’s perspective is read by a different narrator. Full-cast audiobooks are perfect for books with multiple narrators or perspectives. They’re also commonly used for graphic novel narrations (which can be a lot of fun).
For this list, I’ve curated the best full-cast audiobooks for kids (of all ages) and adults. If you’re new to audiobooks, these are great to start with because they’re fun — almost like an audio drama! Many of them even have sound effects like keyboard tapping, swishing waves, and phone dings.
Where to Buy Audiobooks
I use several audiobook services to keep up with all my listening.
- Hoopla: For US readers, you can use Hoopla to listen to audiobooks from your library.
- Scribd: This is the cheapest audiobook service. It offers unlimited access to multiple audiobooks for less than $10. You can get two months free when you use my sign-up link.
- Libro.fm: If you prefer to buy audiobooks from Indie bookstores, Libro.fm is the way forward. I love this audiobook service. They always have all the new releases and you can shop without a subscription — although it’s cheaper with one.
- Audible: This is my least favorite. Too pricey to receive only one credit monthly. See my comparison of Audible and Scribd.
The Best Full-Cast Audiobooks for Kids and Adults
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Full-Cast Audiobooks for Kids
Here are my favorite full-cast audiobooks for kids:
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea
Published: October 4, 2016
Narwhal and Jelly is a great graphic novel for younger readers. This graphic novel is so fun to listen to — it felt like a short audio Disney movie. Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties, and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.
The First Helping (Lunch Lady Books 1 & 2)
Published: February 22, 2022
This is another beloved young graphic novel about a lunch lady who fights crime in her spare time. This one has fun sound effects in addition to a true full-cast audio.
Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth
Published: September 1, 2015
This funny, delightful superhero graphic novel is absolutely charming on audio. The full-cast audio features the best of the best narrators including Kathleen McInerny and Bahni Turpin. Play this on a family road trip for an immersive listening experience.
Operation Frog Effect
Published: February 26, 2019
Everyone makes mistakes. But what happens when your mistake hurts someone else? Told in eight perspectives, Operation Frog Effect celebrates standing up and standing together and tells the unforgettable story of how eight very different kids take responsibility for their actions and unite for a cause they all believe in. This one also has Bahni Turpin and Kathleen McInerny!
Published: September 25, 2014
This book is so angsty but relatable as six eighth graders struggle to understand and process their fractured glimpses into one another’s lives as they find new ways to disconnect, but also to connect, in Rachel Vail’s richest and most searching book. The audiobook and varied cast of narrators bring it beautifully to life.
Well, That Was Awkward
Published: February 28, 2017
This is a Cyrano De Begerac-esque retelling which follows four middle-schoolers: Gracie, A.J, Sienna, and Emmet. I was hesitant to do audio because at least 20% of the book is in text messages — those can make for confusing audiobook experiences. But the audio is really good — there’s actually a “ding” sound heralding all text conversations, which makes it easier to keep up. Like Vail’s other books, this digs deep into middle school drama.
Save Me a Seat
Published: May 10, 2016
I experienced this classic on audio and loved it. For a dual-perspective story, it helps a lot that there are two narrators. Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they’re both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL. Joe’s lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. Ravi’s family just moved to America from India, and he’s finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in.
Joe and Ravi don’t think they have anything in common — but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.
Published: April 4, 2023
This was the first graphic novel I listened to on audio and while it was different and I missed the pictures, it was totally absorbing and I didn’t miss any part of the story. My memories of it actually feel more vivid that if I’d read it. Jordan and the gang take a trip to Paris for adventure, hijinks, and cultural immersion.
Just Roll with It (A Graphic Novel)
Published: December 14, 2021
I listened to part of this one and it’s a solid graphic novel with a great full-cast audiobook. Maggie just wants to get through her first year of middle school. But between finding the best after-school clubs, trying to make friends, and avoiding the rumored monster on school grounds, she’s having a tough time…so she might need a little help from her twenty-sided dice. But what happens if Maggie rolls the wrong number?
The Princess Academy Series: Book #1
Published: July 1, 2005
Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village.
The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess. Soon Miri finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires.
When Stars Are Scattered
Published: April 14, 2020
Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.
The Next Great Paulie Fink
Published: April 16, 2019
I just finished this one, which lends itself perfectly to the audio format since it’s written in part as interviews. When a new student arrives at a middle school, she discovers that the class can’t stop talking about a former classmate. As she tries to learn more about him, she and the other kids learn a lot about themselves, the many layers of a person, and how to be kinder to others. This one took a while to get into but once I did, it was fantastic.
What Happened to Rachel Riley?
Published: January 10, 2023
When Anna Hunt moves from Chicago to Wisconsin for her mother’s new job, she soon realizes that something’s off about her new eighth-grade class. One student, Rachel Riley, who was once popular is now treated as a social pariah. So when their English teacher assigns them an un-essay — which is an exploration of a topic in any other format besides an essay — Anna decides to investigate the question: What happened to Rachel Riley? Of course, the teacher rejects Anna’s topic despite her lawyer mom’s protests. But with some hesitant help from Rachel and some other schoolmates, Anna pieces together the mystery. Excellent on audio.
The Lost War
Published: December 13, 2022
It’s 2020, and Matthew is sick of being inside with the pandemic raging outside. While reluctantly helping his great-grandmother sort through her belongings, he finds a picture of two girls. As she shares her experience during the Ukrainian famine, the story alternates between three narrators: Matthew, Helena, and Mila. A powerful, unforgettable account of historical events.
The One Thing You’d Save
Published: March 16, 2021
When a teacher asks her class what one thing they would save in an emergency, some students know the answer right away. Others come to their decisions more slowly. And some change their minds when they hear their classmates’ responses. A lively dialog ignites as the students discover unexpected facets of one another—and themselves.
Published: June 13, 2023
In The Braid Girls, Maggie’s summer is off to a rocky start when her parents announce that she has a half-sister—a daughter her father never knew about until now. Callie’s presence throws off soft-spoken Maggie’s dynamic with her outspoken best friend Daija, even more when Callie joins their hair-braiding business.
Half Moon Summer
Published: June 6, 2023
Drew and Mia were born on the same day, but their lives have taken different paths. When Mia returns to the town where Drew still lives, both kids start training for a half-marathon together for different reasons. Mia, to solve her family’s housing issues; Drew, for his dad, who’s received a crushing diagnosis. Written in alternating verse and prose chapters, this book is incredibly moving.
One of Us Is Lying
Published: May 30, 2017
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.One ends up dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? This popular YA thriller makes for an absorbing full-cast audiobook.
Published: August 25, 2020
Would you defend the indefensible?
That’s what seniors Logan March and Cade Crawford are asked to do when a favorite teacher instructs a group of students to argue for the Final Solution–the Nazi plan for the genocide of the Jewish people.
Logan and Cade decide they must take a stand, and soon their actions draw the attention of the student body, the administration, and the community at large. But not everyone feels as Logan and Cade do–after all, isn’t a school debate just a school debate? It’s not long before the situation explodes, and acrimony and anger result.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Published: February 4, 2020
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder follows British teen Pippa Fitz-Amobi who’s decided to do her senior capstone project on a local murder case that was closed 5 years ago. Five years ago, high schooler Andie Bell went missing and her boyfriend Sal Singh sent his father a text admitting to the crime, after which he was found in what seemed like an apparent suicide.
But Pip doesn’t buy it. With the help of Sal’s younger brother, Ravi, she investigates the events surrounding Andie’s disappearance and Sal’s murder. But the culprit won’t let her find the truth so easily. Can Pippa hack the crime? This one felt a lot like the Serial podcast — I loved it!
Excellent Full-Cast Audiobooks for Adults
Here are some grown-up full-cast audiobooks worth listening to:
Published: May 02, 2023
This book is about an Indian-American family with recently divorced parents and two kids experiencing rough patches.
I loved this one. Maybe it was the full cast audiobook but this story came to life so beautifully for me. The musings about growing older, reflecting on life’s mistakes, second chances, parent-child relationships and the mystery of others’ inner lives resonated so well with me. It’s also such a funny book—especially on audio!
Tender, funny, reflective, and true-to-life.
Daisy Jones and the Six
Published: March 5, 2019
If you struggled to get into this book because of the interview format, the audiobook will be a dream for you! It’s about a famous fictional band in the 70s that broke up at the peak of the career. Now, in the documentary-style story, they explain what really happened.
Published: March 5, 2019
They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
Published: March 30, 2021
I haven’t read this one yet but I’ve heard it’s great for fans of Daisy Jones and the full-cast narration is stellar. It’s also about the rise of a rock duo in the 1970s, their sensational breakup, and the dark secrets unearthed when they try to reunite decades later for one last tour.
Trust (Pulitzer Prize Winner)
Published: May 3, 2022
Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth—all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the center of Bonds, a successful 1937 novel that all of New York seems to have read. Yet there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
Published: July 28, 2015
I really, really liked this one about characters in the midwest food scene and how their stories interlink. I love finding an author whose writing I know I will always enjoy. The storytelling and structure of this book are insanely clever, and the characters are beautifully drawn. The food writing is gorgeous, and this is so obviously an ode to the Great Midwest.
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations
Published: March 26, 2019
Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love.
This is on my TBR! I loved this author’s debut and I can’t wait for this one that’s all about a female friendship spanning decades.
There they are: 25+ of the best full cast audiobooks for kids and adults! Which ones have you listened to? Which ones did I miss?