2015 YALSA Alex Awards

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.

lightAll the light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

Available in Print, Ebook, Downloadable Audiobook, and CD Audiobook.

“Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris and is blind by age six. Her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, so she can memorize it and navigate the real streets. When the Germans occupy Paris, they flee to Saint-Malo on the coast. In Germany, Werner grows up enchanted by a crude radio he finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, which wins him a place with the Hitler Youth. Werner travels throughout Europe, and finally to Saint-Malo, where his meets Marie Laure.”

bellBellweather Rhapsody, by Kate Racculia

Available in Print and EBook.

A young music prodigy goes missing from a hotel room that was the site of an infamous murder-suicide fifteen years earlier, renewing trauma for a bridesmaid who witnessed the first crime and rallying an eccentric cast of characters during a snowstorm that traps everyone on the grounds.

 

 

bingoBingo’s Run, by James Levine

Available in Print, Downloadable Audiobook, and EBook.

A tale set against the backdrop of Kenya’s poverty-stricken slums and luxury resorts follows the experiences of a young drug runner who makes deliveries to a reclusive artist before his witness of murder leads to his adoption by a woman who tests his sense of morality.

 

 

confessionsConfessions, by Kanae Minato

Available in Print.

“After calling off her engagement in wake of a tragic revelation, Yūko Moriguchi had nothing to live for except her only child, four-year-old Manami. Now, following an accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yūko has given up and tendered her resignation. But first she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that upends everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a maniacal plot for revenge. Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you’ll never see coming, Confessions explores the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in danger”–Page 4 of cover.

everythingEverything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng

Available in Print, Downloadable Audiobook, EBook, and Large Print.

Lydia, the middle and favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill dreams they were unable to pursue – in Marilyn’s case that her daughter becomes a doctor, in James’s that she is popular with a busy social life. When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the balancing act that has kept the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.

LockLock In, by John Scalzi

Available in Print and EBook.

“Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis inhistory. And one percent find themselves “locked in“–fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. One per cent doesn’t seem like a lot. But in the United States, that’s 1.7 million people “locked in“…including the President’s wife and daughter. Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, “The Agora,” in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can “ride” these people and use their bodies as if they were their own. This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse….John Scalzi’s Lock In is a novel of our near future, from one of the most popular authors in modern science fiction”– Provided by publisher.

martianThe Martian, by Andy Weir

Available in Print and EBook.

“Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old ‘human error’ are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?” — from publisher’s web site.

sonThe Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice, by Zak Ebrahim

Available in Print, Downloadable Audiobook and EBook.

“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-Sayed Nosair shot and killed the leader of the Jewish Defense League. While in prison, Nosair helped plan the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. In one of his infamous video messages, Osama bin Laden urged the world to “Remember El-Sayed Nosair.” In The Terrorists Son, Ebrahim dispels the myth that terrorism is a foregone conclusion for people trained to hate. Based on his own remarkable journey, he shows that hate is always a choice and so is tolerance. Though Ebrahim was subjected to a violent, intolerant ideology throughout his childhood, he did not become radicalized. Terrorist groups tap into certain vulnerabilities that are usually circumstantial poverty, oppression, disenfranchisement, lack of resources and options. Ebrahim shows how those same vulnerabilities can create great strengths, leading people to form great reserves of empathy and tolerance. He believes that, because we all have a deep capacity for empathy, humans have the choice-and can find the will-to reject negative ideology.”–Provided by publisher.

deadThose Who Wish Me Dead, by Michael Koryta

Available in Print, CD Audiobook, Downloadable Audiobook. and EBook.

“When 13-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he’s plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare. The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains. The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind” — from publisher’s web site.

wolfWolf in the White Van, by John Darnielle

Available in Print, EBook, CD Audiobook, and Downloadable Audiobook.

Isolated by a disfiguring injury, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of Trace Italian– a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail– Sean guides players from around the world. Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called to account for it.

Want to see who previous winners of the Alex Awards were? Click here!

Teen Top Ten Nominees

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YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association’s) has released the nominees for the 2014 Teens’ Top Ten. The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country.
Check out some of the nominees. (View the complete listing of nominees here!)

 

Sky on Fire

 

Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

A group of survivors, originally trapped together in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, has split in two — one group heading to Denver airport on a repaired school bus, the other remaining in the Sanctuary trying to rebuild the community they lost. But the world outside is dark and filled with dangerous chemicals that turn people into bloodthirsty monsters.

 

 

Teardrop

 

Teardrop by Lauren Kate

Since Eureka’s mother drowned, she wishes she were dead too, but after discovering that an ancient book is more than a story Eureka begins to believe that Ander is right about her being involved in strange things–and in grave danger.

 

 

 

 

Splintered

 

Splintered by A.G. Howard

A descendant of the inspiration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, sixteen-year-old Alyssa Gardner fears she is mentally ill like her mother until she finds that Wonderland is real and, if she passes a series of tests to fix Alice’s mistakes, she may save her family from their curse.

 

 

 

The Testing

 

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Sixteen-year-old Malencia (Cia) Vale is chosen to participate in The Testing to attend the University; however, Cia is fearful when she figures out her friends who do not pass The Testing are disappearing.

 

 

 

 

The Eye of Minds

 

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Michael is a skilled internet gamer in a world of advanced technology. When a cyber-terrorist begins to threaten players, Michael is called upon to seek him and his secret’s out.

 

Which ones would YOU vote for? Would you recommend these to your friends? Let us know in the comments below.

–sent by Michelle Frost

Top 10 Best Fiction

Head’s up, Readers! We’ve got more top ten lists for you to check out. This week, we bring you YALSA’s (Young Adult Library Services Assoication’s) 2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults.

 

Andrews, Jesse Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Socially invisible Greg becomes friends with Rachel, who has leukemia. When she stops her treatments, everything changes.

 

 

Bray, Libba The Diviners
The Diviners

It’s in the 1920’s and Evie is from Ohio, but New York is a whole different experience. Throw in some occult murders for a mystery and Evie and her uncle are on an interesting adventure. If they can survive.

 

Hartman, Rachel Seraphina
Seraphina

A decades long peace has existed between humans and mathematical dragons that fold themselves into human form. A plot is unraveling that end the peace, but can Seraphina discover who is behind it in time?

 

Kontis, Alethea Enchanted
Enchanted

Sunday the Princess kisses the magical frog. But who really is this prince? And why does her family despise him so?

 

 

Levithan, David Every Day
Every Day

What would your life be like if you woke up in a different body every day? Boy? Girl? And every day, you are still in love with the same girl. A love story like no other.

 

McCormick, Patricia Never Fall Down
Never Fall Down

Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is the story off how Arn is changed in one day from a regular kid, living day to day, selling ice cream with his brother to just another body working in a labor camp in Cambodia.

 

Quick, Matthew Boy 21
Boy 21

Finley plays basketball, it’s the only solid thing in his life. Wearing the number 21 keeps him sane. Among all of the other craziness, in walks Russ. Who doesn’t answer to his name, only “Boy 21”, the number of his former basketball jersey.

 

Saenz, Benjamin Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Two problem teens. At least that’s what the adults say. One has a brother in prison, the other is a oddball smart-aleck. Swimming is the thing that brings them together and helps them grow.

 

Stiefvater, Maggie The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys

First in a series, Blue is a girl with no psychic ability. Since she’s born in a family where that’s the norm, this is a problem. But when she finds out that people who are near her “See” more clearly, several interesting developments begin. Including a prophecy that her first love’s kiss will kill.

 

Wein, Elizabeth Code Name Verity
Code Name Verity

In 1943, a British spy plane crashes in France. Captured by Nazis, the passenger “Verity” is forced to weave a written and intricate confession of how her and her pilot friend met and became friends in an effort to survive.

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Would you recommend these to your friends? Let us know in the comments below.

–sent by Michael Perry

 

Cast Your Vote!

Are you looking for a good teen book to read? Check out the 2011 nominations for the Teens Top 10 on the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) website (www.ala.org/teenstopten[this link is history]). There are twenty-five books on the list and from August 15th through September 15th you can cast your vote for the Top Ten of 2011. These books were selected by teens across the country. YALSA wants to know what YOU like! Last year there were over 8,000 votes cast and the winner was Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. All these titles can be found in the collection at Indianapolis Public Library.

Here are the nominees:

Drought

 

Bachorz, Pam Drought

 

 

 

I Am J

 

Beam, Cris I Am J

 

 

 

You Killed Wesley Payne

 

Beaudoin, Sean You Killed Wesley Payne

 

 

Zombies vs. Unicorns

 

Black, Holly and Justine Larbalestier Zombies vs. Unicorns

 

 

 The Lost Gate

 

Card, Orson Scott The Lost Gate
The Clockwork Angel

 

Clare, Cassandra The Clockwork Angel

 

 

Mockingjay

 

Collins, Suzanne Mockingjay

 

 

Love, Inc

 

Collins, Yvonne Love, Inc

 

 

Matched

 

Condie, Ally Matched
Nightshade

 

Cremer, Andrea Nightshade

 

 

Crescendo

 

Fitzpatrick, BeccaCrescendo

 

 

Lies

 

Grant, Michael Lies

 

 

Demonglass

 

Hawkins, Rachel Demonglass

 

 

Hex Hall

 

Hakwins, Rachel Hex Hall

 

 

The Iron King

 

Kagawa, Julie The Iron King

 

 

I Am Number Four

 

Lore, PittacusI Am Number Four
Red Moon Rising

 

Moore, Peter Red Moon Rising
The Sky is Everywhere

 

Nelson, Jandy The Sky is Everywhere
Before I Fall

 

Oliver, Lauren Before I Fall
The False Princess

 

O’Neal, Ellis The False Princess

 

 

Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel

 

Patterson, James Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel
Sisters Red

Pearce, Jackson Sisters Red
Blessed

 

Smith, Cynthia Leitich Blessed
Behemoth

 

Westerfeld, Scott Behemoth
Paranormalcy

 

White, Kiersten Paranormalcy

Teens´ Top Ten 2010

Heist SocietyEver wondered how books get on a list?  Ever wanted to put in your choices and see if they make the list?  Here’s your chance!  YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) has the Teens’ Top Ten.  It’s a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country, including one here in Indianapolis and another in Fort Wayne. 
Strange AngelsNominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year. Readers ages twelve to eighteen will vote online between Aug. 23 and Sept. 17; the winners will be announced in a webcast featuring WWE Superstars and Divas during Teen Read Week.  More than 11,000 teens voted in the 2009 Teens’ Top Ten, be one of the thousands in this year’s vote!

Click here to find out more about the program and to vote.

Here are YALSA’s nominees with their write-ups and, in a few cases, reviews that appeared on this blog.

Abbott, Ellen Jensen. Watersmeet Abisina is born into a colony of religious fanatics, where she is persecuted for her appearance, kept alive only because her mother is the healer. But when a new leader arrives, he rids the colony of the outcasts. Abisina escapes and is rescued by some dwarves, who help her journey to Watersmeet to find her father.

 

Wintergirls

 Anderson, Laurie Halse. Wintergirls

Lia sees her eating disorder as a way to avoid so much: her stepmother’s pressure to be a role model for her new stepsister, her parents’ divorce, her mother constantly hounding over her daughter’s eating habits whenever she finds the time in the rest of her life. But most importantly, she sees it as a means to escape the death of her best friend, the one she ignored the day she died from the same disease Lia is fighting herself.

 Teen Scene’s review   

 

Hate List

 

Brown, Jennifer. Hate List

Valerie and her boyfriend Nick are constantly picked on by other kids at Garvin High. They write a Hate List, and Nick participates in a Columbine type killing. Valerie survives and has to live with the consequences.

 Teen Scene’s review  

 

  Heist Society

 

Carter, Ally. Heist Society 

Katarina is trying to get out of the family thievery business. When her father is suspected of stealing a priceless art collection from an Italian mobster, she has to steal them back to save his life—and she has no idea where they are.   

 

  

Fire

 

Cashore, Kristin. Fire

Fire is a monster, quite literally. She is extraordinarily beautiful and can control the minds of humans. Soon she gets sucked into the kingdom’s political turmoil and encounters everything from cold princes to brightly colored bunny rabbits. 

 

 

   

City of Glass

 

Clare, Cassandra. City of Glass
Clary must dig deep within herself to complete the journey into the unfamiliar in the name of family and love. Clary goes to the City of Glass to try to save her mother — even though it may mean her own death. 

 

 

 

 

The Roar

 Clayton, Emma. The Roar 

Mika’s world appears to be based purely on mystery and lies, though he seems to be the only one who senses it. After his sister vanishes and a new government program that targets children rises, Mika decides that the only hope of finding his sister may be in beating the government at their own game.  

 

  

Catching Fire

 Collins, Suzanne. Catching Fire 

In the sequel to The Hunger Games, Katniss is faced with the challenges of being a victor of the Games, from keeping up the image of a romantic relationship with Peeta to trying to prevent any rioting in the other districts. But when the Capitol announces a twist that will affect Katniss forever, will she be able to survive re-entering the world of the Games? 

  

Along for the Ride

 

Dessen, Sarah. Along for the Ride

College-bound Auden lets academics drive her entire life until she moves to a beach town for the summer to live with her father, stepmother, and newborn half-sister. Slowly she learns to break out of her shell as she makes friends with the locals and falls for a trick bike rider.  

 

  

Incarceron

 Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron 

In a distant future, all the world’s criminals are dumped in a vast, living prison called Incarceron, with live forests and mechanical animals, climate-controlled weather, and everlasting dark walls that stretch to nowhere. Seventeen-year-old Finn believes he should not be there and must rely on help from the outside to escape.  

  

hush, hush

 

Fitzpatrick, Becca. hush, hush 

Nora ends up sitting next to Patch in biology. Patch is a scary guy, a fallen angel, and he is shrouded in mystery. But he has a knack for getting under Nora’s skin. Many people seem to be out to get her and she is slowly starting to realize she is falling for Patch, even if he is trying to kill her.  

  

 

If I Stay

 Forman, Gayle. If I Stay 

After a drive with her family, Mia wakes up to find the car in pieces and the bodies of her family by the side of the road. She is in a coma, but she can see everything happening around her, almost as if she was a ghost. With her family gone, Mia has to decide if she should stay among the living or if she should pass on.  

 

Beautiful Creatures

 Garcia, Kami and Margaret Stohl. Beautiful Creatures

Lena isn’t like the other girls in Gatlin, South Carolina. She’s as different from them as a person can get. She is a Caster. Ethan wants to be different. He hates life in Gatlin. So when he runs into Lena, almost literally, something just clicks. Can an ancient curse, a shut-in uncle, and certain doom keep them apart? 

 Teen Scene’s review     

 

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd

 

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd Edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci. 

Anyone who has ever been labeled or proclaimed themselves to be “geeks” will fall to the floor laughing and fall in love with the many different short stories and illustrations by some of the top young adult authors.  

 

  

Dragonfly

 Golding, Julia. Dragonfly 

A princess from a country formed on rules is being forced to marry a prince from a different country who just likes to live life. They dislike each other on sight— and then they are kidnapped. Can they travel back home, through enemy territory, without strangling each other?  

 

  

The Reformed Vampire Support Group

 Jinks, Catherine. The Reformed Vampire Support Group

Grumpy vampire Nina is in a support group so that she doesn’t prey on humans. But things start to look grimmer than ever when one of the vampires in the support group shows up dead. Will Nina be able to get to the bottom of this crime before another vampire is attacked?  

  

I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President

 Lieb, Josh. I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President

A young boy (who happens to be an evil genius) wants to be student body president to attract his father/arch-nemesis’ attention. After using his almost unlimited resources, he thinks he has the election in the bag, when suddenly everything goes wrong that no amount of money can fix. 

   

Twenty Boy Summer

 

Ockler, Sarah. Twenty Boy Summer 

Anna joins her best friend Frankie’s family for a beach vacation in California. Frankie and Anna make a bet to attract 20 boys in 20 days. Anna struggles with a painful secret and falls in love with Sam — and isn’t sure she can finish their bet. 

 

  

Witch and Wizard

 

Patterson, James. Witch and Wizard 

Siblings Whit and Wisty are suddenly pronounced a witch and a wizard by their oppressive government. They are sent to prison, where they learn to use their powers with hopes to escape. 

 

  

 

By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead

 Peters, Julie Anne. By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead

Daelyn Rice is determined to succeed in killing herself this time. Using a website for “completers,” she reveals a history of bullying and torment that started in kindergarten. One day, though, a boy sits with her as she is waiting to be picked up from school. While she makes it known that she wants to be alone, he won’t give up on her.

   

Bloodhound

 

Pierce, Tamora. Bloodhound

Beka has grown and needs to take on new assignments. When her old partner gets hurt, she is sent out on a new type of mission. Finding love and a culprit can be complicated in a big city—but nothing is too hard for the Terrier!

 

 

  

Strange Angels

 

St. Crow, Lili. Strange Angels 

Dru’s family kills mythical creatures. After a catastrophe befalls her parents, she wants revenge. To find out what happened to her family, she’ll need to learn to trust others. 

 

 

 

  

 

Shiver

 Stiefvater, Maggie. Shiver

Ever since being saved by a wolf as a child, Grace has been fascinated with the wolves around her Minnesota home. But the wolves are becoming restless and need Grace’s help to save them. One of the wolves takes human form and falls in love with Grace — but as the weather grows colder, he’ll turn back into a wolf, likely forever. Soon, he must make a life or death decision to stay with the one he loves.  

  

Tanigawa, Nagaru. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Haruhi Suzumia is a high-school student who is bored by normal humans. She wants something supernatural to happen, so she starts a club with a boy named Kyon. Little does she know that everyone that signs up from her club is either a Time Traveler, Alien, or Esper.  

 

Leviathan

 

Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan

The prince of Austria-Hungary is on the run, his parents murdered. Deryn Sharp is a girl who pretends to be a boy to live out her dream. One chooses to go on an adventure; the other is forced into it. The pair are on opposite sides but must work together to escape from German troops.

 Teen Scene’s review 

  

City of Fire

 Yep, Laurence. City of Fire

Twelve-year-old Scirye vows to avenge her sister’s death and reclaim a stolen treasure for her people by taking on the villainous dragon Badik and the strange Dr. Roland. She and her companions travel to a Hawaiian island created by magic, where a goddess helps them in their quest to stop Dr. Roland from achieving a great power. 

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