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Contemporary fiction audiobooks are some of the best choices for fast-paced, easy listening.
These modern fiction audiobooks offer compelling stories, easy-to-follow writing (perfect if your mind tends to wander a bit when listening!), and excellent characters and relationships.
This type of audiobook might also be called “commercial fiction,” which is a genre that is perfect for my audiobook listening style.
The stories tend to be more plot-driven (as opposed to the character-driven stories of literary fiction), so they’ll keep you listening–and maybe even willing to tackle one more chore or a bit more of the workout you’re doing while listening!
Next time you’re ready to hit “play” on a great book, try some of my top fiction audiobooks below.
14 of the Best Fiction Audiobooks
School librarian Sam has started fresh after leaving behind her previous job–and an unrequited crush. When that crush shows up as her school’s new principal, she sees no option but to leave. But Duncan is not the happy, charismatic man she remembered. When he starts running the school like a prison, she knows she has to stay and push back. This is an easy contemporary audiobook listen with a light romance and a community of vibrant characters.
Leena, a 20-something overachiever, is good at her job. But she’s also burned out, and her boss has forced her to take a 2-month break. She goes to her grandmother Eileen’s house, and they find that Eileen could also use a little shake-up.
So Leena stays in Eileen’s small English town, while Eileen goes to Leena’s London flat. Adventures, quirky characters, and a little romance ensues for both. Put this in the lighthearted, charming, and delightfully cozy-read category–and on your contemporary fiction audiobook reading list.
Charlie lands the job as eccentric actress Kathi Kannon’s assistant by chance. He starts as a fan–and an employee desperate to keep his job. He soon becomes essential and as she depends on him more, he wonders where he starts and she ends–and whether he can save her from herself.
This was a fun audiobook listen, filled with snark and Hollywood absurdities. It’s fiction, but a great choice if you love a good tell-all (the author is Carrie Fisher’s former assistant, though he makes clear this is not a memoir).
Three siblings separated as children find each other as teens and explore the many meanings of family. Grace and Maya were both adopted, but Joaquin remained in foster care and struggles to accept that he could still have a chance at a family.
The tone and pace of this were perfect for listening: the issues are heavy, but because these are teens, it is sprinkled with levity and charm–these are characters you’ll root for and this is one of my top fiction audiobooks.
Anvar and Safwa are both Muslims who follow different paths to California. Anvar has the freedom to live as he chooses–but not without cost–while Safwa illegally immigrates with two violent and controlling men. When their paths cross, the outcome rocks their lives and their community. An excellent modern fiction audiobook with just the right touch of humor to the serious examinations of identity, immigration, religion, and violence.
In this entertaining family drama, big changes pepper one year in the life of an extended family of siblings and cousins, complicated by a massive women’s march led by one of the mothers (a feminist icon). It’s all a bit of a mess, but it’s an enjoyable one. If you can sort out the many characters and go along for their one-year ride, this family drama is an entertaining fiction audiobook listen.
When Sarah meets Emilie, their connection is instant. But both have complicated pasts that make it difficult to fall into a relationship. As they ebb and flow toward and away from one another, they start to understand how they might fit together. This was a lovely story, with complex, sensitive characters and relationships and wonderful narration.
Lucy and Gabe are brought together in the chaos of 9/11 and then fall in love a year later. But what brought them together also separates them, when Gabe heads to the Middle East as a photojournalist. The two follow different paths that sometimes intersect over the years, even as Lucy gets married and has children. This novel is Lucy reflecting on their years together and apart before she makes one final decision. An emotional listen–especially with the backdrop of 9/11 and all that came after.
Teens Ann and Poppy are excited to welcome their adoptive brother, Michael, to the family’s summer home on Cape Cod. After his mother’s death, Michael was thrilled to join the Gordon family. But one disastrous summer pulls Michael from the family for 15 years, when their parents’ death reunites the three at the summer home. Bitterness and secrets from the past remain, and they are left to untangle what happened then and how to move forward–as a family or not.
When Astrid witnesses a bus accident resulting in an acquaintance’s death, she realizes that she needs to come clean to her kids about a few things–namely, her relationship with a woman. But between each of the kids’ own struggles and Astrid’s 13-year-old granddaughter moving in after a bullying incident, there’s more than enough dysfunction to go around.
Wonderful complexity, alternating narratives, and a fast pace made this dysfunctional family story an enjoyable listen.
While cleaning out her beloved late aunt’s home, Laurie finds an intriguing carved wood duck. She is told it has no value–but then it disappears. She knows there’s a story behind the duck, and she is determined to get it back. This homecoming story is a bit of rom-com, complete with funny capers, but unique in that Laurie loves being single and is reluctant to give up the independent life she enjoys. It’s interesting to see how that’s navigated, and it’s not what you might expect.
Missy Carmichael is lonely and full of regret. At 79, she spends her days alone in her big old house in England, nursing sherry and past hurts and missing her kids and grandson. When Sylvie and Angela, along with Angela’s young son, push their way into Missy’s life, she is both hesitant and hopeful. And when a dog is brought into the mix, she gets more than she bargained for.
This is heartwarming and delightful on audio; Angela’s raw bluntness alongside Missy’s genteel fussiness occasionally made me laugh out loud.
After living a quiet life alone with his cat and working as a postman, Albert Entwistle is told to retire. He realizes he’s about to lose the only way he connects with others. Albert starts trying to make friends and decides he’s ready to share who he really is–and find George, the love of his life who he lost years before.
Albert is a lovely character and forms many delightful friendships; while sad, I loved listening to his journey to connection and acceptance.
Ronke, Simi, and Boo are three Anglo-Nigerian best friends living in London. Ronke hopes her current boyfriend is “the one” (but her friends have doubts). Boo has what Ronke wants but feels restless and lost. Simi is stylish and successful but feels like a fraud. Glamorous Isobel seems like good addition to their group–until cracks begin to form in their friendships. Great characters and friendships start this novel, and then I couldn’t stop listening as the subtle manipulation slowly escalated.
What are your favorite contemporary, fast-paced audiobooks?