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.
“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.”
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.
Bingo’s Run, by James Levine
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.
Confessions, 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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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 Terrorist‘s 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.
“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.
Wolf in the White Van, by John Darnielle
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!