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Alex Book Award
The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year's publishing.
Alex Book Award - 2021 Winners
Black Sun by
A group of priests, sailors, and travelers converge in the holy city of Tova in preparation for the annual winter solstice celebration, which coincides with a solar eclipse in this epic fantasy adventure.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by
Buttoned-up and by-the-book Linus is sent to investigate a classified orphanage on a strange island by Extremely Upper Management.
The Impossible First by
Colin O’Brady recounts his experience as the first to traverse Antarctica solo and unassisted. He endures whiteouts, subzero temperatures, and starvation while pulling a 365-pound supply sled.
Kent State: four dead in Ohio by
In 1970 the Ohio National Guard opened fire on Kent State students protesting the Vietnam War, killing four and wounding nine. This chilling graphic novel follows the lives of the students, politicians, guardsmen, and law enforcement revealing a volatile situation ending in heartbreaking tragedy.
The Kids Are Gonna Ask by
A few years after losing their mother, the McClair twins use podcasting to search for their biological father.
The Only Good Indians by
Told through the backdrop of cultural tradition versus modern expectations, this horror story follows four Native American men as a decision from their past comes back to haunt them.
Plain Bad Heroines by
This gothic horror novel follows the lives of queer women throughout history. Our heroines learn about a mysterious curse connected to Brookhaunts School for Girls as they explore their own identities.
Riot Baby by
Ella has unexplained powers. She worries about her younger brother Kev, born during the LA riots and later incarcerated simply for being black.
Solutions and Other Problems by
In this graphic memoir, Allie Brosh uses simple, expressive illustrations and wit to grapple with difficult and challenging topics, such as grief, loneliness, and self-love, even if you’re a weirdo.
We Ride upon Sticks by
The 1989 Danvers High School Field Hockey team is sick of losing. Could their town’s gritty history surrounding the Salem Witch Trials and a notebook featuring Emilio Estevez change their luck and their lives?
Alex Book Award - 2020 Winners
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by
In a dystopian future, where the world’s population is believed to be only in the thousands, Griz lives on an isolated island. When a charismatic stranger arrives and absconds with one of the family’s beloved dogs, the 16-year-old embarks on a quest to get her back.
Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by
A crew of 10 astronauts, 6 of whom are teens, set off on a 23-year journey to begin settling an uninhabited planet known as Terra-Two. This character-driven sci-fi novel will draw teens into its orbit with interpersonal conflict.
In 1965, 15-year-old Ana Cancion leaves the Dominican Republic married to a man twice her age and eventually discovers her own voice in Washington Heights, New York. Though historical fiction, this powerful immigrant story is increasingly relevant today.
Gender Queer: a Memoir by
Kobabe’s path to understanding eir gender and sexuality comes into beautiful focus in this graphic memoir, expressively illustrated with retro colors and simple lines. Readers will recognize a kindred spirit in Kobabe and/or gain insight into what it’s like to identify outside of the cisgender/heterosexual "norm."
High School by
Critically acclaimed indie rock duo Tegan and Sara Quin lay bare their teenage experiences, the oscillating euphoria and scintillation of first love, the jarring process of finding one's identity, and early forays into making music in this gorgeous dual memoir.
In Waves by
In this beautiful graphic memoir, perfectly cast in muted beach tones, Dungo interweaves his story of first love with his girlfriend’s passion for surfing, her heroism in the face of cancer, and a primer on the history of surfing.
Roger and Dodger are twins, created in a lab in order to bestow their creator with the power to shape reality—but only if they don’t figure out how to manifest that power for themselves first.
The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) by
Idealistic Elwood and cynical Turner form an unlikely bond at Nickel Academy, a corrupt 1960s reform school, as they endure the abuse meted out by the sadistic warden. Their heart-wrenching story of physical and mental survival is based on the real-life experiences of children at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys.
Red, White and Royal Blue by
In this quirky political rom-com, First Son Alex fakes a friendship with longtime rival Prince Henry of Britain when an incendiary photo of them is leaked to the tabloids. A genuine romance blossoms between the two, but it must be kept secret for the sake of Alex’s mother’s presidential reelection campaign.
The Swallows by
The arrival of a new teacher with a complicated past ignites a student rebellion against Stonebridge Academy’s misogynistic culture, which has gone unchecked for years.
Alex Book Award - 2019 Winners
The Black God's Drums by
Creeper has her sights on leaving the streets of New Orleans and starting a new adventure on an airship. But first she will need to partner with the reluctant Captain Ann-Marie to save a kidnapped Haitian scientist and stop the use of a dangerous weapon. Wildly original with spy nuns and sky pirates, this steampunk alternate history is a winning adventure.
The Book of Essie by
Essie, the youngest family member of Evangelical television reality stars, is pregnant and refuses to name the father. The showrunners--and her parents--decide the best solution is for Essie to marry quickly with lots of hype to increase ratings. Celebrity, scandal, and reality TV make for a wicked, compulsively readable combination.
Spurned by her fellow gods for her lack of beauty and power, minor goddess Circe seeks out mortals instead and finds in herself a new ability: witchcraft, and the power to transform men into monsters. Coming of age over the span of a thousand years, Circe--and the reader--must find safe harbor in this ongoing epic of gods and men.
Raised in an extremist family and barely homeschooled, Tara Westover decides that education is more important than family. Breaking ties, forging new relationships, and unlearning much of what she’s grown up "knowing" prove to be nearly insurmountable. This stirring memoir shows that ignorance is not bliss, and that knowledge is power.
*Book on Learning Ally
The Girl Who Smiled Beads by
In 1994, six-year-old Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister flee the Rwandan Genocide and spend the next six years surviving refugee camps before arriving in America. This is Clemantine’s story--that of a survivor, a refugee, and an immigrant who defies stereotype time and time again.
In 1992 Boston, David Greenfield hates being one of the few white kids in his middle school where even his former best friend bullies him. He connects with a boy from the projects, but competition cause a rift in their blossoming friendship. A timely historical fiction, “Green” explores race, class, minority status, and the daily injustices of middle school life.
Home after Dark by
After his mother abandons them, his father uproots thirteen-year-old Russell Pruitt to a rundown town in 1950s California. Russell tries to fit in while navigating a landscape of homophobic bullies and a serial animal killer. David Small’s storytelling and lush illustrations capture all the uncertainties of adolescence in this coming of age story.
How Long 'til Black Future Month? by
Author N.K. Jemison is a master worldbuilder, and this collection of short stories is a weird, wild, and original reimagining of both the past and the future, celebrating resistance and action and speaking truth to power.
Lawn Boy by
Publication Date: 2018-04-03
Twenty-something Mike Muñoz is passionate about the art of landscaping--a fresh cut lawn and a creative topiary. Caught between taking care of his mother and brother and trying to strike out on his own, Mike is not-so-patiently waiting for a lucky break. His struggle is familiar and heartbreaking, and it’s impossible not to root for him as he chases the elusive American Dream.
Spinning Silver by
Miryem has earned a reputation for turning silver into gold, but soon her talent gains unwanted attention from a cold, cruel fae king. Now Miryem finds herself trapped in a bargain that will change her life and the lives of those around her in this magical, multilayered fairy tale.
Alex Book Award - 2018 Winners
All Systems Red by
Stuck on a distant planet with an exploratory crew, a Security Robot kills time watching soaps. After a group of scientists is killed, the robot (now calling itself “Murderbot”) must figure out how to save its crew from a similar fate.
The Clockwork Dynasty by
Automata Elena and Peter are "born" in Peter the Great's Russia… or are they? Can they really live in the power-hungry world of humans? And can they find the "breath of life" before it is too late?
Down among the Sticks and Bones by
In this dark fable, twins Jillian and Jacqueline venture to a dangerous world where they must choose one of two paths. As they discover their true selves, they find that love and adventure are among the most hazardous things.
Electric Arches by
Wielding words and images like lasers, and bending genres to her will, Ewing’s poetry and prose tells stories both personal and universal. With humor and gravitas, this collection spotlights the joy, cruelty, and struggle of life.
A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by
This gripping account follows Doaa Al Zamel's journey to Egypt and her harrowing days at sea as she leaves her war-torn home for the promise of a better life in Europe.
Already grieving for her dying father, Sunday plans to release a computer virus that memorializes his words and laugh. But she begins to realize that to fully understand him, she needs to embrace his relationships with other family members.
In the snowy recesses of northern Canada, a down-and-out former hockey player must confront his past when his long-lost sister returns to town battling demons of her own. Can they save each other? Or will violence swallow them both?
She Rides Shotgun by
Polly, an 11-year-old girl with “gunfighter eyes,” her teddy bear, and her estranged father suddenly find themselves struggling for survival in a world ruled by gangs. Fast-paced and thrilling, this will get even reluctant readers' hearts racing.
Things We Have in Common by
Yasmin wants to be close to the most beautiful girl in her school, but surely a freak like her has no chance. Unless, that is, she can save her from the man who was staring at her from the woods.
An Unkindness of Magicians by
The Wheel is turning and Sydney is determined to have fate spin her way. Meanwhile, magic is faltering and there are people who will do whatever it takes to save it.