Alex Award

Adult Books for Teen Readers

The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. 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. The Alex Awards are named after Edwards, who was called “Alex” by her friends.

Award Web Site: Alex Award

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Author: Madeline Miller
2019 Alex Award - Selection

Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

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Author: Tara Westover
2019 Alex Award - Selection

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

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Author: Sam Graham-Felsen
2019 Alex Award - Selection

Struggling with bullying in his largely segregated, working-class neighborhood in 1992 Boston, Dave, a white boy at a mostly black middle school, befriends a youth who lives in public housing and who confounds Dave's assumptions about black culture before their bond is tested by girls, family secrets and national violence.

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Author: David Small
2019 Alex Award - Selection

Thirteen-year-old Russell Pruitt, abandoned by his mother, follows his father to dilapidated 1950s Marshfield, California where he is forced to fend for himself against a ring of malicious bullies.

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Author: N. K. Jemisin
2019 Alex Award - Selection

Spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story "The City Born Great," a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis's soul.

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Author: Jonathan Evison
2019 Alex Award - Selection

Mike Muñoz is a young Mexican American not too many years out of high school--and just fired from his latest gig as a lawn boy on a landscaping crew. Though he tries time and again to get his foot on the first rung of that ladder to success, he can't seem to get a break. But then things start to change for Mike, and after a raucous, jarring, and challenging trip, he finds he can finally see the future and his place in it.

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Author: Naomi Novik
2019 Alex Award - Selection

A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale from the bestselling author of Uprooted, called "a very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic" by The New York Times Book Review. Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has left his family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed, and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again. For words have power, and the fate of a kingdom will be forever altered by the challenge she is issued.

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Author: P. Djèlí Clark
2019 Alex Award - Selection

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air--in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie's trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God's Drums. But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations. Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God's Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.

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Author: Meghan MacLean Weir
2019 Alex Award - Selection

A captivating novel of family, fame, and religion that tells the story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family's hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow their entire world apart. 

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Author: Clemantine Wamariya
2019 Alex Award - Selection

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. It was 1994, and in 100 days more than 800,000 people would be murdered in Rwanda and millions more displaced. Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, ran and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries searching for safety. They did not know whether their parents were alive. At age twelve, Clemantine and Claire were granted asylum in the United States. Raw, urgent, yet disarmingly beautiful, this book captures the true costs and aftershocks of war: what is forever lost, what can be repaired, thefragility and importance of memory. A riveting story of dislocation, survival.

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Author: Melissa Fleming
2018 Alex Award - Selection

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. 

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Author: Martha Wells
2018 Alex Award - Selection

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.

Author: Kat Howard
2018 Alex Award - Selection

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. 

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Author: Seanan McGuire
2018 Alex Award - Selection

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. 

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Author: Eve Ewing
2018 Alex Award - Selection

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.