Alex Awards

About the 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. The titles were selected by the YALSA Adult Books for Young Adults Task Force from the previous year's publishing and were part of the Adult Books for Young Adults Project, which explored the role of adult books in the reading lives of teenagers and was funded by the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust. Edwards was a young adult specialist 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 librarians who serve young adults. With the approval of the Trust, the task force appointed to develop and implement the project named the awards the Alex Awards after Edwards, who was called “Alex” by her friends.

The task force decided to select ten titles annually, and also decided to select a top ten list rather than a single title or a long list because of the popularity of the concept and because it parallels the Top Ten titles selected by the Best Books for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers committees. The task force members also believed that selecting more than one book provided a greater variety of titles, whereas a longer list would be less selective than desired. A top ten list also allows for a more balanced list—fiction and nonfiction, as well as various genres. The task force also wanted to make diversity a priority in the lists.

In 2002 the Alex Awards were approved as an official ALA award, and the Task Force was superseded by the Alex Awards Committee.

The major sponsor of the Alex Awards continues to be the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust. Booklist is also a sponsor.

Administered by:

Young Adult Library Services Association logo

2018 Selection(s)

All Systems Red

by Martha Wells, a Tor.com Book, published by Thomas Doherty Associates

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.


The Clockwork Dynasty

by Daniel H. Wilson, published by Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House LLC

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?


Down Among the Sticks and Bones

by Seanan McGuire, a Tor.com Book, published by Thomas Doherty Associates

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.


Electric Arches

by Eve L. Ewing, published by Haymarket Books

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.


A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

by Melissa Fleming, published by Flatiron Books

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.


Malagash

by Joey Comeau, published by ECW Press

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.


Roughneck

by Jeff Lemire, published by Gallery 13, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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?


She Rides Shotgun

by Jordan Harper, published by Ecco, a division of HarperCollins Publishers

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.


Things We Have in Common

by Tasha Kavanagh, published by MIRA Books

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.


An Unkindness of Magicians

by Kat Howard, published by SAGA Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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.