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Alex Award Winners / Teen Reads

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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. The Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002.

The award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Edwards pioneered young adult library services and worked for many years at the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore. Her work is described in her book Fair Garden and the Swarm of Beasts, and over the years she has served as an inspiration to many librarians who serve young adults. The Alex Awards are named after Edwards, who was called "Alex" by her friends.

'Humans of New York: Stories' by Brandon Stanton

"Humans of New York: Stories" by Brandon Stanton

Teen Book In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project -to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the blog Humans of New York. In the first three years, his audience steadily grew from a few hundred to over one million. In 2013, his book Humans of New York, based on that blog, was published and immediately catapulted to the top of the NY Time ...

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'Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits' by David Wong

"Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits" by David Wong

Teen Book Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements.An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move.Mysterious, smooth-talking power players who lurk behind the scenes.A young woman from the trailer park.And her very smelly cat.Together, they will decide the future of mankind.Get ready for a world in which anyone can have the powers of a god or the fame of a pop ...

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'Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League' by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

"Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League" by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Teen Book An undocumented immigrant’s journey from a New York City homeless shelter to the top of his Princeton classDan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy, he came here legally with his family. Together they left Santo Domingo behind, but life in New York City was harder than they imagined. Their visas lapsed, and Dan-el’s father returned home. But Dan-el’s courageous mother was determined to make a better l ...

Read more reviews of "Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League" at »

'Sacred Heart' by Liz Suburbia

"Sacred Heart" by Liz Suburbia

Teen Book There’s an absence of authority in the town of Alexandria, and the teens are trying to keep their makeshift society together until their parents return. But students keep dying mysteriously, local band The Crotchmen rock the nights away, freshmen palm readers and seers have lines out the door, and Ben Schiller has had it up to HERE with her sister Empathy’s disappearing act. It’s a punk summer vacation that might not make it to fall. ...

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'Between the World and Me' by Ta-Nehisi Coates

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Adult Book ★★★★★ In this letter to his adolescent son, Coates reflects upon what it means to grow up and live in the United States while inhabiting a black body. It is a combination of history, social commentary, and memoir as Coates explains to his son the complexities of his own journey to adulthood and explores the larger context of the history of race in the United States. It is expertly crafted, insightful, and moving. If you appreciate books that all ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Between the World and Me" at »

'Girl at War' by Sara Nović

"Girl at War" by Sara Nović

Teen Book ★★★★★ Ana passes as a typical college student in New York City, where her friends do not know that her American parents are adoptive parents or that English is not her native tongue. In reality, she is a survivor of the Yugoslav civil war of the early 1990s who fled the country at the age of ten. After she testifies before a UN committee on children in combat, her long-suppressed memories and nightmares return. Shifting between past and present, ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Girl at War" at »

'The Unraveling of Mercy Louis' by Keija Parssinen

"The Unraveling of Mercy Louis" by Keija Parssinen

Teen Book In Port Sabine, the air is thick with oil, superstition reigns, and dreams hang on making a winning play. All eyes are on Mercy Louis, the star of the championship girls’ basketball team. Mercy seems destined for greatness, but the road out of town is riddled with obstacles. There is her grandmother Evelia, a strict evangelical who has visions of an imminent Rapture and sees herself as the keeper of Mercy’s virtue. And then there are the cryp ...

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'Bones & All' by Camille DeAngelis

"Bones & All" by Camille DeAngelis

Teen Book Maren Yearly doesn’t just break hearts, she devours them. Since she was a baby, Maren has had what you might call "an issue" with affection. Anytime someone cares for her too much, she can’t seem to stop herself from eating them. Abandoned by her mother at the age of 16, Maren goes looking for the father she has never known, but finds more than she bargained for along the way. Faced with love, fellow eaters, and enemie ...

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'Half the World (Shattered Sea, #2)' by Joe Abercrombie

"Half the World (Shattered Sea, #2)" by Joe Abercrombie

Teen Book Thorn Bathu was born to fight. But when she kills a boy in the training square she finds herself named a murderer.Fate places her life in the hands of the deep-cunning Father Yarvi as he sets out to cross half the world in search of allies against the ruthless High King. Beside her is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill. A failure in her eyes and his own, the voyage is his last chance at redemption.But warriors can be ...

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'All Involved' by Ryan Gattis

"All Involved" by Ryan Gattis

Teen Book In 1991, a black man named Rodney King was severely beaten by multiple white police officers after a high-speed car chase that ended in a suburb of Los Angeles, an event that might have escaped the eyes of the American public had a witness not videotaped it from his balcony. The officers were taken to court, but eventually acquitted, and thus spawned the 1992 Los Angeles Riots: six days of looting, arson, assault, and murder that spread from Sout ...

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'The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice' by Zak Ebrahim

"The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice" by Zak Ebrahim

Teen Book An extraordinary story, never before told: The intimate, behind-the-scenes life of an American boy raised by his terrorist father—the man who planned the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.What is it like to grow up with a terrorist in your home? Zak Ebrahim was only seven years old when, on November 5th, 1990, his father El-Sayyid Nosair shot and killed the leader of the Jewish Defense League. While in prison, Nosair helped plan the b ...

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'Everything I Never Told You' by Celeste Ng

"Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng

Adult Book Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumb ...

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'Bellweather Rhapsody' by Kate Racculia

"Bellweather Rhapsody" by Kate Racculia

Teen Book Fifteen years ago, a murder-suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it, Minnie Graves. Now hundreds of high school musicians have gathered at the Bellweather for the annual Statewide festival; Minnie has returned to face her demons; and a blizzard is threatening to trap them all inside. When a young prodigy disappears from infamous room 712, the search for her entwines an eccentric cast of ...

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'All the Light We Cannot See' by Anthony Doerr

"All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr

Adult Book ★★★★★ "All the Light We Cannot See" is a non-linear narrative centered on the stories of two children coming of age in WWII Europe. Marie-Laure, blind from the age of six, lives in Paris with her father, who is the principal locksmith for the National Museum of Natural History. At the age of 12, Marie-Laure and her father flee Paris as the Nazis advance. They find refuge at the home of her great uncle, a reclusive WWI veteran suffering from PTSD ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "All the Light We Cannot See" at »

'The Martian' by Andy Weir

"The Martian" by Andy Weir

Adult Book ★★★★★ I just had to write a quick review of “The Martian” by Andy Weir after recently seeing that they have made it into a movie to be released soon! The book has everything that a science fiction reader could ask for. It’s a story of a man getting stranded on Mars, which we all know is not a very human friendly place to be. He must survive for a long period of time until the next ship can come back to get him. But wait, they think he is d ...

Reviewed by David G. Read more reviews of "The Martian" at »

'Bingo's Run' by James A. Levine

"Bingo's Run" by James A. Levine

Teen Book Meet Bingo, the greatest drug runner in the slums of Kibera, Nairobi, and maybe the world. A teenage grifter, often mistaken for a younger boy, he faithfully serves Wolf, the drug lord of Kibera. Bingo spends his days throwing rocks at Krazi Hari, the prophet of Kibera’s garbage mound, “lipping” safari tourists of their cash, and hanging out with his best friend, Slo-George, a taciturn fellow whose girth is a mystery to Bingo in a place whe ...

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'Help for the Haunted' by John Searles

"Help for the Haunted" by John Searles

Teen Book It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of ...

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'Brewster' by Mark Slouka

"Brewster" by Mark Slouka

Teen Book A powerful story about an unforgettable friendship between two teenage boys and their hopes for escape from a dead-end town.The year is 1968. The world is changing, and sixteen-year-old Jon Mosher is determined to change with it. Racked by guilt over his older brother’s childhood death and stuck in the dead-end town of Brewster, New York, he turns his rage into victories running track. Meanwhile, Ray Cappicciano, a ...

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'Golden Boy' by Abigail Tarttelin

"Golden Boy" by Abigail Tarttelin

Teen Book The Walker family is good at keeping secrets from the world. They are even better at keeping them from each other. Max Walker is a golden boy, with a secret that the world may not be ready for. This novel is a riveting tale of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity, and a coming-of-age story like no other. ...

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'The Lives of Tao (Tao, #1)' by Wesley Chu

"The Lives of Tao (Tao, #1)" by Wesley Chu

Teen Book When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it. He wasn’t. He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a ...

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'Relish: My Life in the Kitchen' by Lucy Knisley

"Relish: My Life in the Kitchen" by Lucy Knisley

Teen Book A vibrant, food-themed memoir from beloved indie cartoonist Lucy Knisley.Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated rec ...

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'The Universe Versus Alex Woods' by Gavin Extence

"The Universe Versus Alex Woods" by Gavin Extence

Teen Book A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn't had the easiest childhood. But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count. So when, aged seventeen, Alex is ...

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'Lexicon' by Max Barry

"Lexicon" by Max Barry

Teen Book At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren't taught history, geography, or mathematics--at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate ...

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'Mother, Mother' by Koren Zailckas

"Mother, Mother" by Koren Zailckas

Teen Book Josephine Hurst has her family under control. With two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband and a historical landmark home, her life is picture perfect. She has everything she wants; all she has to do is keep it that way. But living in this matriarch’s determinedly cheerful, yet subtly controlling domain hasn’t been easy for her family, and when her oldest daughter, Rose, runs off with a mysterious boyf ...

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'The Sea of Tranquility' by Katja Millay

"The Sea of Tranquility" by Katja Millay

Teen Book I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school witho ...

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25 | Based on the Goodreads API.