One of the year’s biggest novels shows what tracks with book reviewers.

Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” reimagines the metaphorical escape route, creating a literal underground railroad that 19th-century slaves could use. The novel not only works on different levels, its plot moves along like a dangerous adventure as the heroine travels to diverse cities. Although set in the past, its issues speak to contemporary readers.

This year, his novel is among the 50 favorite books of the year chosen by Post-Dispatch reviewers. We also include five favorite audiobooks and best books chosen by local booksellers.

All of them take readers on a journey, whether by train, plane or the imagination.

Check the A&E section Dec. 18 for more books: coffee-table selections and new children's titles.

Harper Barnes, Tim Bross, Cliff Froehlich, Repps Hudson, Harry Levins, Sarah Bryan Miller, Judith Newmark, Tim O’Neil, Gail Pennington, Kelsey Ronan, Amanda St. Amand, Dale Singer and wire services.

Andrew Nguyen is a developer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.