Scottsdale Public Library logo

YALSA's Alex Award Winners

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.



Black Sun

by Rebecca Roanhorse
ISBN: 9781534437678

A god will return when the earth and sky converge under the black sun In the holy city of Tova... The winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world. Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man's mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain. Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.

2021 Alex Award Winner

The House in the Cerulean Sea

by TJ Klune
ISBN: 9781250217288

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret. Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they're likely to bring about the end of days. But the children aren't the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

2021 Alex Award Winner

The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice - Crossing Antarctica Alone

by Colin O’Brady
ISBN: 9781982133115

Colin O'Brady's awe-inspiring memoir spans his triumphant recovery from a tragic accident to his gripping 932-mile solo crossing of Antarctica.

2021 Alex Award Winner

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio

by Derf Backderf
ISBN: 9781419734847

On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard gunned down unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University. In a deadly barrage of 67 shots, 4 students were killed and 9 shot and wounded. It was the day America turned guns on its own children - a shocking event burned into our national memory. A few days prior, 10-year-old Derf Backderf saw those same Guardsmen patrolling his nearby hometown, sent in by the governor to crush a trucker strike. Using the journalism skills he employed on 'My Friend Dahmer' and 'Trashed', Backderf has conducted extensive interviews and research to explore the lives of these four young people and the events of those four days in May, when the country seemed on the brink of tearing apart. 'Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio', which will be published in time for the 50th anniversary of the tragedy, is a moving and troubling story about the bitter price of dissent--as relevant today as it was in 1970.

2021 Alex Award Winner

The Kids Are Gonna Ask

by Gretchen Anthony
ISBN: 9780778308744

The death of Thomas and Savannah McClair's mother turns their world upside down. Raised to be fiercely curious by their grandmother Maggie, the twins become determined to learn the identity of their biological father. And when their mission goes viral, an eccentric producer offers them a dream platform: a fully sponsored podcast called The Kids Are Gonna Ask. To discover the truth, Thomas and Savannah begin interviewing people from their mother's past and are shocked when the podcast ignites in popularity. As the attention mounts, they get caught in a national debate they never asked for - but nothing compares to the mayhem that ensues when they find him.

2021 Alex Award Winner

The Only Good Indians

by Stephen Graham Jones
ISBN: 9781982136451

Peter Straub's Ghost Story meets Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies in this American Indian horror story of revenge on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation, who were childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives, against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier by killing them, their families, and friends.

2021 Alex Award Winner

Plain Bad Heroines

by Emily M. Danforth
ISBN: 9780062942852

In the early 1900's, Brookhants students Flo and Clara fell madly in love, brought together by their obsession for a scandalous memoir. A few months later they were found dead in the woods, after a horrific wasp attack, the book lying next to their intertwined bodies. Three more grisly deaths followed before the school was forced to close.

2021 Alex Award Winner

Riot Baby

by Tochi Onyebuchi
ISBN: 9781250214751

Riot Baby bursts at the seams of story with so much fire, passion and power that in the end it turns what we call a narrative into something different altogether."-Marlon James Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative and an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience. Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella-through visits both mundane and supernatural-tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.

2021 Alex Award Winner

Solutions and Other Problems

by Allie Brosh
ISBN: 9781982156947

Solutions and Other Problems includes humorous stories from Allie Brosh?s childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity of modern life.

2021 Alex Award Winner

We Ride Upon Sticks

by Quan Barry
ISBN: 9781524748098

From the author of the widely acclaimed She Weeps Each Time You're Born--a new novel, at once comic and moving, set in 1989 Danvers, Massachusetts, where a high school field hockey team discovers that the witchcraft of their Salem forebears may be the key to a winning season.

2021 Alex Award Winner

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.

2020 Alex Award Winner

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.

2020 Alex Award Winner


by Angie Cruz
ISBN: 9781529304886

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.

2020 Alex Award Winner

Gender Queer: A Memoir

by Maia Kobabe
ISBN: 9781549304002

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."

2020 Alex Award Winner

High School

by Sara Quin and Tegan Quin
ISBN: 9781982112677

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.

2020 Alex Award Winner

In Waves

by AJ Dungo
ISBN: 9782203192393

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.

2020 Alex Award Winner


by Seanan McGuire
ISBN: 9781250234209

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.

2020 Alex Award Winner

The Nickel Boys

by Colson Whitehead
ISBN: 9780708899427

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.

2020 Alex Award Winner

Red, White & Royal Blue

by Casey McQuiston
ISBN: 9788381693080

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.

2020 Alex Award Winner

The Swallows

by Lisa Lutz
ISBN: 9781785656279

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.

2020 Alex Award Winner

The Black God’s Drums

by P. Djèlí Clark
ISBN: 9781250294715

Creeper has her sights on leaving the streets of New Orleans and starting a new adventure on an airship. But first she will need to partner with the reluctant Captain Ann-Marie to save a kidnapped Haitian scientist and stop the use of a dangerous weapon. Wildly original with spy nuns and sky pirates, this steampunk alternate history is a winning adventure.

2019 Alex Award Winner

The Book of Essie

by Meghan MacLean Weir
ISBN: 9780525520313

Essie, the youngest family member of Evangelical television reality stars, is pregnant and refuses to name the father. The showrunners--and her parents--decide the best solution is for Essie to marry quickly with lots of hype to increase ratings. Celebrity, scandal, and reality TV make for a wicked, compulsively readable combination.

2019 Alex Award Winner


by Madeline Miller; Jorge Cano Cuenca; Celia Recarey Rendo
ISBN: 9788491814122

Spurned by her fellow gods for her lack of beauty and power, minor goddess Circe seeks out mortals instead and finds in herself a new ability: witchcraft, and the power to transform men into monsters. Coming of age over the span of a thousand years, Circe--and the reader--must find safe harbor in this ongoing epic of gods and men.

2019 Alex Award Winner

Educated: A Memoir

by Tara Westover
ISBN: 9781443452472

Raised in an extremist family and barely homeschooled, Tara Westover decides that education is more important than family. Breaking ties, forging new relationships, and unlearning much of what she’s grown up "knowing" prove to be nearly insurmountable. This stirring memoir shows that ignorance is not bliss, and that knowledge is power.

2019 Alex Award Winner

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
ISBN: 9781786090508

In 1994, six-year-old Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister flee the Rwandan Genocide and spend the next six years surviving refugee camps before arriving in America. This is Clemantine’s story--that of a survivor, a refugee, and an immigrant who defies stereotype time and time again.

2019 Alex Award Winner


by Sam Graham-Felsen
ISBN: 9780399591143

In 1992 Boston, David Greenfield hates being one of the few white kids in his middle school where even his former best friend bullies him. He connects with a boy from the projects, but competition cause a rift in their blossoming friendship. A timely historical fiction, “Green” explores race, class, minority status, and the daily injustices of middle school life.

2019 Alex Award Winner

Home After Dark

by David Small
ISBN: 9780771079337

After his mother abandons them, his father uproots thirteen-year-old Russell Pruitt to a rundown town in 1950s California. Russell tries to fit in while navigating a landscape of homophobic bullies and a serial animal killer. David Small’s storytelling and lush illustrations capture all the uncertainties of adolescence in this coming of age story.

2019 Alex Award Winner

How Long 'Til Black Future Month?

by N. K. Jemisin
ISBN: 9781432866082

Author N.K. Jemison is a master worldbuilder, and this collection of short stories is a weird, wild, and original reimagining of both the past and the future, celebrating resistance and action and speaking truth to power.

2019 Alex Award Winner

Lawn Boy

by Jonathan Evison
ISBN: 9781616209230

Twenty-something Mike Muñoz is passionate about the art of landscaping--a fresh cut lawn and a creative topiary. Caught between taking care of his mother and brother and trying to strike out on his own, Mike is not-so-patiently waiting for a lucky break. His struggle is familiar and heartbreaking, and it’s impossible not to root for him as he chases the elusive American Dream.

2019 Alex Award Winner

Spinning Silver

by Naomi Novik
ISBN: 9781509899043

Miryem has earned a reputation for turning silver into gold, but soon her talent gains unwanted attention from a cold, cruel fae king. Now Miryem finds herself trapped in a bargain that will change her life and the lives of those around her in this magical, multilayered fairy tale.

2019 Alex Award Winner

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

by Melissa Fleming
ISBN: 9781250105998

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.

2018 Alex Award Winner

All Systems Red

by Martha Wells
ISBN: 9780765397539

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.

2018 Alex Award Winner

An Unkindness of Magicians

by Kat Howard
ISBN: 9781481451192

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.

2018 Alex Award Winner

The Clockwork Dynasty

by Daniel H. Wilson
ISBN: 9780385541787

Automata Elena and Peter are "born" in Peter the Great's Russia… or are they? Can they really live in the power-hungry world of humans? And can they find the "breath of life" before it is too late?

2018 Alex Award Winner

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

by Seanan McGuire
ISBN: 9780765392039

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.

2018 Alex Award Winner

Electric Arches

by Eve L. Ewing
ISBN: 9781608468560

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.

2018 Alex Award Winner


by Joey Comeau
ISBN: 9781770414075

Already grieving for her dying father, Sunday plans to release a computer virus that memorializes his words and laugh. But she begins to realize that to fully understand him, she needs to embrace his relationships with other family members.

2018 Alex Award Winner


by Jeff Lemire
ISBN: 139781501160998

In the snowy recesses of northern Canada, a down-and-out former hockey player must confront his past when his long-lost sister returns to town battling demons of her own. Can they save each other? Or will violence swallow them both?

2018 Alex Award Winner

She Rides Shotgun

by Jordan Harper
ISBN: 9780062394408

Polly, an 11-year-old girl with “gunfighter eyes,” her teddy bear, and her estranged father suddenly find themselves struggling for survival in a world ruled by gangs. Fast-paced and thrilling, this will get even reluctant readers' hearts racing.

2018 Alex Award Winner

Things We Have in Common

by Tasha Kavanagh
ISBN: 9780778326854

Yasmin wants to be close to the most beautiful girl in her school, but surely a freak like her has no chance. Unless, that is, she can save her from the man who was staring at her from the woods.

2018 Alex Award Winner


by Holly Jennings
ISBN: 9781101988763

Virtual gaming: Kali's team is competing to win, not to die.

2017 Alex Award Winner

Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded

by Hannah Hart
ISBN: 9780062457516

Candid and thoughtful, Hart’s memoir details her difficult childhood and rise to internet fame.

2017 Alex Award Winner

Die Young with Me: A Memoir

by Rob Rufus
ISBN: 9781501142611

A story of punk rock, first love, cancer and the incredible power of music to get us through the hardest times in our lives. Rufus details his brave fight for his life in this tender and contemplative memoir.

2017 Alex Award Winner

Every Heart a Doorway

by Seanan McGuire
ISBN: 9780765385505

Sometimes kids disappear. Sometimes they come back. And when they come back, they need a place to go. At the Home for Wayward Children, everybody has a story, and some stories have better ending than others.

2017 Alex Award Winner

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided

by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford
ISBN: 9781627795272

After Diane Guerrero returned home from school one day to find her family deported, the 14-year-old went on to combat self-injury and suicidal thoughts, finish her education, and to become a successful actress and citizenship activist.

2017 Alex Award Winner

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko

by Scott Stambach
ISBN: 9781250081865

He has no arms or legs. She has blood that is betraying her. They are the smartest people in the children’s hospital and the only ones who understand, and they take “star-crossed lovers” to a whole new level.

2017 Alex Award Winner

The Queen of Blood

by Sarah Beth Durst
ISBN: 9780062413345

Daleina is determined to keep her family safe from vengeance-seeking spirits, placing her in the crossfire of an insecure queen and powerful spirits.

2017 Alex Award Winner

The Regional Office is Under Attack!

by Manuel Gonzales
ISBN: 9781594632419

Fraught with explosive action, female assassins, teenage crushes, and even a cyborg, this fast-paced, dynamic story of revenge explores what happens to a group of woman hell-bent on defending the world from evil forces.

2017 Alex Award Winner

Romeo and/or Juliet: A Choosable-Path Adventure

by Ryan North
ISBN: 9781101983300

Take the lead in this choose-your-own-adventure graphic novel. Fantastic, dense illustrations draw you into a Romeo and Juliet retelling like none other you’ve ever experienced. Romance isn’t dead and in the end, maybe Romeo and Juliet aren’t either.

2017 Alex Award Winner

The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpilla

by Matt Simon
ISBN: 9780143128687

Simon explores the benefits of evolution, in these odd yet compelling stories that range from creatures adapting to find food to having sex.

2017 Alex Award Winner

All Involved

by Ryan Gattis
ISBN: 9780062378798

At 3:15 p.m. on April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted two Los Angeles Police Department officers charged with using excessive force to subdue civilian Rodney King, and failed to reach a verdict on the same charges involving a third officer. Less than two hours later, the city of LA, a powder keg of racial tension, exploded in violence as people took to the streets in a terrifying orgy of rioting that lasted six days.

2016 Alex Award Winner

Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates
ISBN: 9780812993547

For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him -- most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. What were they afraid of?

2016 Alex Award Winner

Bones & All

by Camille DeAngelis
ISBN: 9781250046505

Maren Yearly doesn't just break hearts, she devours them. Since she was a baby, Maren has had serious trouble accepting affection. Any time someone gets too close to her, she's overcome by the desire to eat them. Abandoned by her mother the day after her sixteenth birthday, Maren goes looking for the father she has never known, but finds much more than she bargained for along the way. Faced with a world of fellow eaters, potential enemies, and the prospect of love, Maren realizes she isn't only looking for her father, she is looking for herself. The real question is, will she like who she finds?

2016 Alex Award Winner

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits

by David Wong
ISBN: 9781250040190

Get ready for a world in which anyone can have the powers of a god or the fame of a pop star, in which human achievement soars to new heights while its depravity plunges to the blackest depths. A world in which at least one cat smells like a seafood shop's Dumpster on a hot summer day. This is the world in which Zoey Ashe finds herself, navigating a futuristic city in which one can find elements of the fantastic,

2016 Alex Award Winner

Girl at War

by Sara Novic
ISBN: 9780812996340

When her happy life in 1991 Croatia is shattered by civil war, ten-year-old Ana Juric is embroiled in a world of guerilla warfare and child soldiers before making a daring escape to America, where years later she struggles to hide her past.

2016 Alex Award Winner

Half the World

by Joe Abercrombie
ISBN: 9780804178426

New York Times bestselling author Joe Abercrombie's thrilling new series continues in the follow-up to Half a King, which George R. R. Martin hailed as "a fast-paced tale of betrayal and revenge that grabbed me from page 1 and refused to let go." Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War. Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named a murderer by the very man.

2016 Alex Award Winner

Humans of New York: Stories

by Brandon Stanton
ISBN: 9781250058904

In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project -- to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the blog Humans of New York. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of New York, the dialogue he's had with them has increasingly become as in-depth, intriguing and moving as the photos themselves.

2016 Alex Award Winner

Sacred Heart

by Liz Suburbia
ISBN: 9781606998410

The children of Alexandria are just trying to live like normal teens, and Ben Schiller is no exception. But her relationship with her best friend is changing, her sister is hiding a dark secret, and tragedy looms. Also: where are all the parents?

2016 Alex Award Winner

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League

by Dan-el Padilla Peralta
ISBN: 9781594206528

Throughout his youth, Dan-el navigated...two worlds: the rough streets of East Harlem, where he lived with his brother and his mother and tried to make friends, and the ultra-elite halls of a Manhattan private school, where he could immerse himself in a world of books and where he soon rose to the top of his class.

2016 Alex Award Winner

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis

by Keija Parssinen
ISBN: 9780062319098

In Port Sabine, the air is thick with oil, superstition reigns, and dreams hang on making a winning play. All eyes are on Mercy Louis, the star of the championship girls' basketball team. Mercy seems destined for greatness, but the road out of town is riddled with obstacles. There is her grandmother, Evelia, a strict evangelical who has visions of an imminent Rapture and sees herself as the keeper of Mercy's virtue. There are the cryptic letters from Charmaine, the mother who abandoned Mercy at birth. And then there's Travis, the boy who shakes the foundation of her faith. At the periphery of Mercy's world floats team manager Illa Stark, a lonely wallflower whose days are spent caring for a depressed mother crippled in a refinery accident.

2016 Alex Award Winner

All the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr
ISBN: 9781476746586

A blind Parisian girl and an orphaned German boy conscripted by the Nazis for his radio skills meet in the chaos of the American bombing of a French coastal resort.

2015 Alex Award Winner

Bellweather Rhapsody

by Kate Racculia
ISBN: 9780544129917

High-school students gather at the isolated Bellweather Hotel for a statewide music festival only to be trapped by a blizzard with an arrogant fingerless conductor, drunken chaperones, a missing corpse, and perhaps the ghosts of long-dead newlyweds.

2015 Alex Award Winner

Bingo's Run

by James A. Levine
ISBN: 9781400068838

The ultimate hustler, Bingo uses his brains and charm to run drugs in a Kenyan slum, but after witnessing a murder he finds himself an art dealer, an adoptee, and someone caught in a dangerous moral dilemma.

2015 Alex Award Winner


by Kanae Minato
ISBN: 9780316200929

Japanese teacher Yuko knows two middle-school students killed her daughter, and nothing in their explanations of why and how will stop her revenge.

2015 Alex Award Winner

Everything I Never Told You

by Celeste Ng
ISBN: 9781594205712

Lydia is dead. Is it murder? Suicide? As her family grieves for their perfect teen, they learn how little they really knew Lydia and how many secrets died with her.

2015 Alex Award Winner

Lock In

by John Scalz
ISBN: 9780765375865

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 in history. 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.

2015 Alex Award Winner

The Martian

by Andy Weir
ISBN: 9780804139021

Marooned on Mars after a tragic accident, astronaut Mark Watney's supplies are running low and he has no way to signal Earth. Fortunately Mark can grow space potatoes and has a bold plan to escape the Red Planet.

2015 Alex Award Winner

The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice

by Zak Ebrahim with Jeff Giles
ISBN: 9781476784809

This true account of Zak Ebrahim, whose father was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is a powerful book about tolerance and choice.

2015 Alex Award Winner

Those Who Wish Me Dead

by Michael Koryta
ISBN: 9780316122559

On the day Jace conquers the highest jump of the quarry, he discovers a murder victim and begins to run for his life.

2015 Alex Award Winner

Wolf in White Van

by John Darnielle
ISBN: 9780374292089

After his face is destroyed, Sean manages to carve out a life for himself as a designer of virtual role-playing games. When two teens take the game too far, Sean is forced to relive all his moves.

2015 Alex Award Winner


by Mark Slouka
ISBN: 9780393239751

Feeling stifled and powerless, high school friends Ray Cappicciano and Jon Mosher yearn for change and plan for freedom from their blue-collar town and dysfunctional homes, even while knowing they can never truly escape.

2014 Alex Award Winner

The Death of Bees

by Lisa O'Donnell
ISBN: 9780062209849

With their parents dead and buried in the backyard, Scottish teens Marnie and Nelly are finally free from a childhood wracked with abuse. If only the neighbor's dog would quit digging in the garden.

2014 Alex Award Winner

Golden Boy: A Novel

by Abigail Tarttelin
ISBN: 9781476705804

Max, an intersex teen, is confused about who he is and who he is meant to be. After one shattering night, he is faced with a choice that no boy should ever have to make.

2014 Alex Award Winner

Help for the Haunted

by John Searles
ISBN: 9780060779634

Sylvie has been dealing with taunting classmates, her erratic older sister and the unsolved murder of her ghost-hunting parents. But perhaps more problematic are the cursed remnants of her parents' work still lingering in the basement.

2014 Alex Award Winner

Lexicon: : A Novel

by Max Barry
ISBN: 9781594205385

In this fast-paced, cutthroat story, words are weapons and poets are the ones who wield the swords. Teen prodigy Emily may be the finest poet ever until she makes the catastrophic mistake of falling in love.

2014 Alex Award Winner

Lives of Tao

by Wesley Chu
ISBN: 9780857663290

Couch potato Roen Tan becomes host to the alien Tao who has lived millennia inside some of the most famous people in history. With Tao on board, Roen enters a war to save mankind.

2014 Alex Award Winner

Mother, Mother:: A Novel

by Koren Zailckas
ISBN: 9780385347235

Why did Rose run away? Did Violet really stab her little brother? Is her alcoholic father really having an affair? In this chilling novel about family dysfunction, does mother really know best?

2014 Alex Award Winner


by Lucy Knisley
ISBN: 9781596436237

This poignant graphic novel is a wonderful journey of cartoonist Lucy Knisley's transition from childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood, framed by the food that shaped her worldview. Through colorful vignettes she tackles complex issues with humor and unique family recipes.

2014 Alex Award Winner

The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel

by Katja Millay
ISBN: 9781476730943

Nastya has barely survived a brutal attack. Josh has lost his entire family. The two isolated teens are drawn together as they deal with their emotional and physical damage.

2014 Alex Award Winner

The Universe Versus Alex Woods

by Gavin Extence
ISBN: 9780316246576

It all begins when Alex is hit in the head by a meteorite and it all ends when he is arrested trying to re-enter England with several grams of marijuana, lots of cash, and the ashes of Mr. Peterson.

2014 Alex Award Winner

Caring is Creepy

by David Zimmerman
ISBN: 9781569479773

While trying to survive a long boring summer in rural Georgia, Lynn befriends a lonely soldier online. When they meet face to face, tables are turned as Lynn tries to exert power in her out-of-control life. Dangerous, amusing, role-bending, and definitely creepy!

2013 Alex Award Winner


by Tupelo Hassman
ISBN: 9780374162573

With only a worn copy of the Girl Scout Handbook for reference, resourceful and tenacious Rory Hendrix must navigate the depressing landscape of a 1970s trailer park where she suffers abuse at the hands of a neighbor and neglect from her mother.

2013 Alex Award Winner

Juvenile in Justice

by Richard Ross
ISBN: 9780985510602

Richard Ross' riveting photographs give voices to incarcerated youth in juvenile detention centers across America.

2013 Alex Award Winner

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

by Robin Sloan
ISBN: 9780374214913

Clay Johnson loses his web-designer job and begins working the night shift in a bookstore with only a few customers. This marvelous mashup blends mystery, adventure, and romance into a literary and technological tale.

2013 Alex Award Winner

My Friend Dahmer

by Derf Backderf
ISBN: 9781419702167

Written by a former classmate of Jeffery Dahmer, this graphic novel illustrates the teenage years of a future serial killer.

2013 Alex Award Winner

One Shot at Forever

by Chris Ballard
ISBN: 9781401324384

This remarkable story follows the Macon Ironmen, a team of misfits with a hippie coach, through a recordsetting baseball season.

2013 Alex Award Winner


by Julianna Baggott
ISBN: 9781455503063

In a world destroyed by nuclear detonations, only a privileged few have remained pure. Two teens from different sides of the Dome unite to search for answers to troubling questions about their origins.

2013 Alex Award Winner

The Round House

by Louise Erdrich
ISBN: 9780062065247

An attack on 13-year-old Joe's mother near their North Dakota Ojibwe reservation home leads him and his friends on a quest to solve the crime. This coming-of-age story highlights friendship, family, tradition, and the uneasy relationship between the tribal and white communities.

2013 Alex Award Winner

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

by Carol Rifka Brunt
ISBN: 9780679644194

June thought she knew everything about her beloved uncle, Finn. After his death from a mysterious new illness called AIDS, his grieving boyfriend delivers Finn's favorite teapot to June's door, and she realizes nothing is what she thought it was: not her family, not her uncle, not even herself.

2013 Alex Award Winner

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

by Maria Semple
ISBN: 9780316204279

Through a series of emails, letters, and FBI files, Bee follows the trail of her missing mother to the ends of the earth in this quirky, laugh-out-loud tale.

2013 Alex Award Winner

Big Girl Small

by Rachel DeWoskin
ISBN: 9780374112578

With a singing voice that can shake an auditorium, Judy should be the star of Darcy Academy, the local performing arts high school. So why is a girl this promising hiding out in a seedy motel room on the edge of town? A scathingly funny and moving book about dreams and reality, at once light on its feet and profound.

2012 Alex Award Winner

In Zanesville

by Jo Ann Beard
ISBN: 9780316084475

Along with her best friend, the fourteen-year-old narrator navigates a 1970s American girlhood, including challenges from popular girls and the first hints of womanhood.

2012 Alex Award Winner

The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens

by Brooke Hauser
ISBN: 9781439163283

In this book the author tracks the staff and students at the International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, N.Y., providing their personal histories as well as their day-to-day experiences.

2012 Alex Award Winner

The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern
ISBN: 9780385534635

Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.

2012 Alex Award Winner

Ready Player One

by Ernest Cline
ISBN: 9780307887436

An exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyber-quest. Cline's imaginative and rollicking coming-of-age geek saga has a smash-hit vibe

2012 Alex Award Winner

Robopocalypse: A Novel

by Daniel H. Wilson
ISBN: 9780385533850

Two decades into the future humans are battling for their very survival when a powerful AI computer goes rogue, and all the machines on earth rebel against their human controllers.

2012 Alex Award Winner

Salvage the Bones

by Jesmyn Ward
ISBN: 9781608195220

Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.

2012 Alex Award Winner

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures

by Caroline Preston
ISBN: 9780061966903

For her graduation from high school in 1920, Frankie Pratt receives a scrapbook and her father's old Corona typewriter. Despite Frankie's dreams of becoming a writer, she must forgo a college scholarship to help her widowed mother. But when a mysterious Captain James sweeps her off her feet, her mother finds a way to protect Frankie from the less-than-noble intentions of her unsuitable beau. Through a kaleidoscopic array of vintage postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and more, we meet and follow Frankie on her journey in search of success and love.

2012 Alex Award Winner

The Talk-Funny Girl

by Roland Merullo
ISBN: 9780307452924

Raised by parents so intentionally isolated that they speak their own hybrid dialect, abused youth Marjorie witnesses her parents' submission to a sadistic cult leader before she is rescued by another abuse survivor who teaches her stoneworking skills.

2012 Alex Award Winner

The Lover's Dictionary

by David Levithan
ISBN: 9780374193683

A modern love story told through a series of dictionary-style entries is a sequence of intimate windows into the large and small events that shape the course of a romantic relationship.

2012 Alex Award Winner

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To

by DC Pierson
ISBN: 9780307474612

Fifteen-year-old Darren, a social misfit who spends his time at school trying not to be noticed while drawing characters for a planned film series and book tie-ins, befriends Eric, another outcast who reveals that he never sleeps.

2011 Alex Award Winner

Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

by Liz Murray
ISBN: 9780786868919

The memoir of a young woman who at age 15 was living on the streets but survived to make it to Harvard. Murray's story was featured in the Lifetime Original Movie "Homeless to Harvard."

2011 Alex Award Winner

Girl in Translation

by Jean Kwok
ISBN: 9781594487569

Caught between the pressure to succeed in America, her duty to their family, and her own personal desires, Kimberly Chang, an immigrant girl from Hong Kong, learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

2011 Alex Award Winner

The House of Tomorrow

by Peter Bognanni
ISBN: 9780399156090

Homeschooled teenager Sebastian Prendergast is forced by his grandmother's stroke to venture out of his geodesic dome habitat and befriends a chain-smoking teen who introduces him to pop culture through the punk band they form together.

2011 Alex Award Winner

The Lock Artist

by Steve Hamilton
ISBN: 9780312380427

Traumatized at the age of eight and pushed into a life of crime by reason of his unforgiveable talent--lock picking--Michael sees his chance to escape, and with one desperate gamble risks everything to come back home to the only person he ever loved, and to unlock the secret that has kept him silent for so long.

2011 Alex Award Winner

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel

by Aimee Bender
ISBN: 9780385501125

Being able to taste people's emotions in food may at first be horrifying. But young, unassuming Rose Edelstein grows up learning to harness her gift as she becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

2011 Alex Award Winner

The Radleys

by Matt Haig
ISBN: 9781439194010

Struggling with overwork and parenting angst, English village doctor Peter Radley endeavors to hide his family's vampire nature until their daughter's oddly satisfying act of violence reveals the truth, an event that is complicated by the arrival of a practicing vampire family member.

2011 Alex Award Winner

The Reapers Are the Angels: A Novel

by Alden Bell
ISBN: 9780805092431

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free. For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption.

2011 Alex Award Winner

Room: A Novel

by Emma Donoghue
ISBN: 9780316098335

Narrator Jack and his mother, who was kidnapped seven years earlier when she was a 19-year-old college student, celebrate his fifth birthday. They live in a tiny, 11-foot-square soundproofed cell in a converted shed in the kidnapper's yard. The sociopath, whom Jack has dubbed Old Nick, visits at night, grudgingly doling out food and supplies. But Ma, as Jack calls her, proves to be resilient and resourceful--and attempts a nail-biting escape.

2011 Alex Award Winner

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: A Novel

by Helen Grant
ISBN: 9780385344173

Reviled in her German village home where her only friends are a fellow outcast and an elderly storyteller, eleven-year-old Pia investigates the disappearances of three local girls whom she believes are tied to unsolved missing persons cases from decades earlier.

2011 Alex Award Winner

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
ISBN: 9780061730320

An enterprising teenager in Malawi builds a windmill from scraps he finds around his village and brings electricity, and a future, to his family.

2010 Alex Award Winner

The Bride's Farewell

by Meg Rosoff
ISBN: 9780670020997

In 1850s rural England Pell runs away from home on horseback on her wedding day, heading to Salisbury Fair to seek work, and is surprised by the strength of her feelings for those she left behind.

2010 Alex Award Winner

Everything Matters!

by Ron Currie, Jr.
ISBN: 9780670020928

You alone know that the world will end thirty-six years after your birth. Do you succumb to nihilistic apathy? Use your singular knowledge to save mankind? To what end do you live your life?

2010 Alex Award Winner

The Good Soldiers

by David Finkel
ISBN: 9780374165734

In the tradition of "Black Hawk Down," The Good Soldiers takes an unforgettable look at the heroes and the ruined soldiers fighting in the Iraq War.

2010 Alex Award Winner

The Kids Are All Right: A Memoir

by Diana Welch and Liz Welch with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch
ISBN: 9780307396044

The poignant, harrowing story of four siblings--Amanda, Liz, Dan, and Diana Welch--who despite their wrenching loss and subsequent separation, retained the resilience and humor that both their mother and father endowed them with--growing up as lost souls, taking disastrous turns along the way, but eventually coming out right side up and being together again.

2010 Alex Award Winner

The Magicians

by Lev Grossman
ISBN: 9780670020553

As a senior in high school Quentin Coldwater became preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. After graduating from college and being admitted into a highly exclusive, secret society of magic in upstate New York, he makes a stunning discovery: Fillory is real.

2010 Alex Award Winner

My Abandonment

by Peter Rock
ISBN: 9780151014149

In the tradition of Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild," Rock's "My Abandonment," inspired by a true story and told through the startlingly sincere voice of his young protagonist, offers a riveting and unsettling account of a girl and her father who live off the grid.

2010 Alex Award Winner

Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel

by Gail Carriger
ISBN: 9780316056632

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon.

2010 Alex Award Winner

Stitches: A Memoir

by David Small
ISBN: 9780393068573

Finalist for the 2009 National Book Award and finalist for two 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: the prize-winning children's author depicts a childhood from hell in this searing yet redemptive graphic memoir. One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had cancer and was expected to die.

2010 Alex Award Winner

Tunneling to the Center of the Earth

by Kevin Wilson
ISBN: 9780061579028

Kevin Wilson's characters inhabit a world that moves seamlessly between the real and the imagined, the mundane and the fantastic. "Grand Stand-In" is narrated by an employee of a Nuclear Family Supplemental Provider -- a company that supplies "stand-ins" for families with deceased, ill, or just plain mean grandparents.

2010 Alex Award Winner

City of Thieves

by David Benioff
ISBN: 9780670018703

Two teenage boys encounter cannibals, murderers, prostitutes, and assassins as they struggle to complete an impossible task during the freezing Siege of Leningrad in this funny, shocking, and briskly written tome.

2009 Alex Award Winner

The Dragons of Babel

by Michael Swanwick
ISBN: 9780765319500

In this original steampunk fantasy, young Will embarks on a quest that takes him to the dizzying heights and gritty depths of the postindustrial world of Babel.

2009 Alex Award Winner

Finding Nouf

by Zoë Ferraris
ISBN: 9780618873883

After a 16-year-old girl from a wealthy Saudi family is found dead in the middle of the desert, a devout Muslim guide and a young medical examiner seek to unravel the mystery while facing the sanctions of Middle Eastern society.

2009 Alex Award Winner

The Good Thief

by Hannah Tinti
ISBN: 9780385337458

In this suspenseful and unpredictable adventure, Ren, a one-handed eighteenth-century orphan, becomes apprenticed to a con man. Surprisingly, Ren seems born to it.

2009 Alex Award Winner

Just After Sunset: Stories

by Stephen King
ISBN: 9781416584087

Modern terrors abound—a porta-potty prison, class warfare on an apocalyptic afternoon—in this wickedly compelling collection of macabre, absurd, and gleefully vulgar stories. Scary, dirty fun.

2009 Alex Award Winner


by Hillary Jordan
ISBN: 9781565125698

At the close of WW II, two soldiers return to their home in the South to find racial tensions as explosive as the battlefields of Europe. This beautifully written story casts a spell as inescapable as the mud fields of the Mississippi Delta.

2009 Alex Award Winner

Over and Under

by Todd Tucker
ISBN: 9780312379902

Andy and Tom's fourteenth summer is defined by adventures in the woods and caves near their home, a strike that polarizes their small town, and secrets that test their friendship.

2009 Alex Award Winner

The Oxford Project

by Stephen G. Bloom
ISBN: 9781599620480

In this riveting sociological study, the residents of Oxford, Iowa were photographed in 1984 and then again in 2005. Their compelling life stories, vividly expressed in brief biographical sketches, show just how much someone can change in 21 years.

2009 Alex Award Winner

Sharp Teeth

by Toby Barlow
ISBN: 9780061430220

A fast-paced ride through the brutality of L.A.'s wilderness of drugs, gangs, and the connections people make with one another. The fact that most of the characters in this bloody, sexy, free-verse tale are mostly lycanthropes is almost incidental.

2009 Alex Award Winner

Three Girls and Their Brother

by Theresa Rebeck
ISBN: 9780307394149

This witty satire of show-biz politics, told from the perspective of four New York teenage siblings in the eye of a publicity tornado, provides a fascinating insider's look at the world of the rich and famous.

2009 Alex Award Winner

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

by Ishmael Beah
ISBN: 9780374105235

Beah tells, in his own words, his harrowing experiences as a child soldier in the Sierra Leone civil war. A 2008 Best Book for Young Adults.

2008 Alex Award Winner

American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch; An Odyssey in the New China

by Matthew Polly
ISBN: 9781592402625

A college student tells his fascinating, funny story about traveling from Kansas to China's Shaolin Temple, where he attempts to master kung fu and find courage. A 2008 Best Book for Young Adults.

2008 Alex Award Winner

Bad Monkeys

by Matt Ruff
ISBN: 9780061240423

Jane Charlotte earns her living by killing bad people for good reasons in this high-octane, clever thriller of conspiracies, revenge, and secret government agencies.

2008 Alex Award Winner

Genghis: Birth of an Empire

by Conn Iggulden
ISBN: 9780385339513

Temujin, the abandoned son of a khan, survives the harsh Asian tundra to become one of the world's greatest military leaders in this absorbing historical tale.

2008 Alex Award Winner

The God of Animals

by Aryn Kyle
ISBN: 9781416533252

After her older sister elopes, 12-year-old Alice is left behind on the family's rundown Colorado horse farm to cope with her distant parents and the unsolved murder of a classmate.

2008 Alex Award Winner

Mister Pip

by Lloyd Jones
ISBN: 9780385341066

On a war-torn Pacific island, 13-year-old Matilda describes how an eccentric white teacher fires the imaginations of the village children by reading Great Expectations aloud. A 2008 Best Book for Young Adults.

2008 Alex Award Winner

The Name of the Wind

by Patrick Rothfuss
ISBN: 9780756404079

Homeless thief Kvothe wins a place at the school of magic, where he hopes to learn more about the mysterious Chandrian, who murdered his parents.

2008 Alex Award Winner

The Night Birds

by Thomas Maltman
ISBN: 9781569474624

Asa, a Minnesota boy growing up in the nineteenth century, learns secrets about his family's violent, complicated past following the bloody Dakota Conflict of 1862.

2008 Alex Award Winner

The Spellman Files

by Lisa Lutz
ISBN: 9781416532392

Isabel can't quit her private investigator job; she works for her family, and they'll kill her if she tries to leave. A quickly paced, quirky mystery.

2008 Alex Award Winner

Tales from the Farm: Essex County, v.1

by Jeff Lemire
ISBN: 9781891830884

In this stark, moving graphic novel, Lester, a recently orphaned 10-year-old, finds escape in a private fantasy world of aliens and superheroes with his friend, a former hockey player.

2008 Alex Award Winner

  City of Scottsdale   Website Policies   Accessibility Services   sitemap   Español