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: Charlie Fletcher
2020 Alex Award - Selection

When a beloved family dog is stolen, her young owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of a dystopian world to bring her back.                                                                                                                           

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Author: Temi Oh
2020 Alex Award - Selection

When an Earth-like planet is discovered, a team of six teens, along with three veteran astronauts, embark on a twenty-year trip to set up a planet for human colonization--but find that space is more deadly than they ever could have imagined.                                                                                                                           

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Author: Angie Cruz
2020 Alex Award - Selection

In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Cruz's Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.                                                                                                                           

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Author: Maia Kobabe
2020 Alex Award - Selection

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity--what it means and how to think about it--for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere. 

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Author: Tegan Quin
2020 Alex Award - Selection

High School is the revelatory and unique coming-of-age story of Sara and Tegan Quin, identical twins from Calgary, Alberta, who grew up at the height of grunge and rave culture in the nineties, well before they became the celebrated musicians and global LGBTQ icons we know today. While grappling with their identity and sexuality, often alone, they also faced academic meltdown, their parents' divorce, and the looming pressure of what might come after high school. Written in alternating chapters from both Tegan's and Sara's points of view, the book is a raw account of the drugs, alcohol, love, music, and friendship they explored in their formative years.

A transcendent story of first loves and first songs, High School captures the tangle of discordant and parallel memories of two sisters who grew up in distinct ways even as they lived just down the hall from each another. This is the origin story of Tegan and Sara.

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Author: A. J. Dungo
2020 Alex Award - Selection

Surfer and illustrator AJ Dungo remembers his late partner, her battle with cancer, and their shared love of surfing that brought them strength throughout their time together. With his passion for surfing uniting many narratives, he intertwines his own story with those of some of the great heroes of surf in a rare work of nonfiction that is as moving as it is fascinating.                                                                                                                           

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Author: Seanan McGuire
2020 Alex Award - Selection

Roger and Dodger are twins. Roger is skilled in words and languages. Dodger is skilled at math. They aren't exactly human, though don't realize it. They aren't exactly gods, either. Not yet. Though Reed created them, he is not their father. But he has a plan: to raise them to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own. Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn't attained.                                                                                                                           

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Author: Casey McQuiston
2020 Alex Award - Selection

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius--his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with an actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?                                                                                                                           

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Author: Colson Whitehead
2020 Alex Award - Selection

In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

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Author: Lisa Lutz
2020 Alex Award - Selection

A teacher at a New England prep school ignites a gender war--with deadly consequences--in this dark and provocative novel by the bestselling author of The Passenger

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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.