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.
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher
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 Temi Oh
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.
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
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 Maia Kobabe
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 Sara Quin and Tegan Quin
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 AJ Dungo
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.
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
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 by Colson Whitehead
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 & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
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 Lisa Lutz
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.