Fiction lovers tend to agree that Julia Whelan is one of the best audiobook readers working today. So it’s fitting that she narrates one of the best novels of 2023 so far. Whelan is pitch-perfect in Rebecca Makkai’s riveting I Have Some Questions for You (Penguin Audio, 14 hours and 4 minutes), a powerful novel about misogyny, murder, and the ramifications of the #MeToo era.

Whelan portrays Bodie Kane, a Los Angeles podcaster who returns to teach a course at Granby, her old boarding school in New Hampshire. Back in the 1990s, Bodie’s roommate was found dead in the pool, and a Black trainer was convicted of killing her. But when a student starts a podcast about how Thalia’s killer was wrongly convicted, Bodie finds herself revisiting her time at Granby, recalling aggressions and bullying, and viewing her past with fresh concern.

Whelan adds a subtle urgency to Bodie’s roiling emotions when she needs to and delivers a cool reserve whenever Bodie tries to hide behind a veneer of professionalism. Bodie has deep regrets that her careless observations and prejudices may have helped convict an innocent man, and she thinks she knows who killed Thalia. But remorse and hindsight won’t prevent her from making questionable moral choices.

This novel is a pleasure to read, too, but Whelan’s performance elevates an already excellent story.

Voicing three sisters and their mother and making them sound distinct is no easy task, but author Claire Jiménez succeeds brilliantly in the reading of her terrific debut novel, What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez? (Hachette Audio, 5 hours and 59 minutes).

Novelists aren’t always adept at performing their own work, but Jiménez turns out to be a fine choice for this funny yet heartbreaking story about a Puerto Rican family from Staten Island. She brings depth and nuance to Jessica and Nina Ramirez, their mother, Dolores, and their lost sister, Ruthy, who disappeared from a bus stop when she was 13.

Twelve years later, Jessica spots a familiar-looking redhead called Ruby on the raunchy reality show Catfight. She looks and acts like Ruthy. Could this be their missing sister?

A hilarious family road trip ensues, and Jiménez proves worthy of her own material. She’s not only a solid narrator, but also a skillful storyteller who can balance comedy and tragedy.

Curtis Sittenfeld’s new novel is an engaging, comic reminder that love is not only blind, but also harder than it should be (because we can’t stop getting in our own way). In Romantic Comedy (Random House Audio, 9 hours and 5 minutes), protagonist Sally Milz knows her writing gig at The Night Owls, an SNL-style late-night comedy show, is her one true love, especially her sketches that skewer the gender wars.

But when pop star Noah Brewster arrives for a week as the show’s host and musical guest, she finds herself attracted to him even though she’s sure he’s far too famous and handsome to pay attention to a mere writer of average attractiveness.

Kristen Sieh, another prolific narrator, nails Sally’s quandary and self-doubt with wry intonations and good humor. She expertly navigates a series of emails that anchor the book’s middle section and prevents them from slowing the slow-burn love affair too much.

Connie Ogle is a writer in Florida.