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In 2002 the Alex Awards were approved as an official ALA award, and the Task Force was superseded by the Alex Awards Committee.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

2003 Selection(s)

One Hundred Demons

Sasquatch

Whether she’s talking about head lice, old boyfriends, or hippies who “forgot” to pay her wages, Barry playfully explores, in “autobifictionalographical” text and art, those demons common to teens––and to us all.


My Losing Season

Doubleday/Nan A Talese

In this powerful memoir, best-selling novelist Conroy explores the profound effect of his final year as a point guard for the Citadel’s basketball team, interweaving stories about the years leading up to college, his abusive father, his love-hate relationship with his school, and his growing fondness for books and writing.


Seeing in the Dark

Differentiating between the nature of stargazing done by professionals in well-equipped observatories and the work of backyard scientists using homemade telescopes, Ferris invites teens to join the scientific community by tracing contributions of amateur astronomers, ranging from Copernicus to Brian May.


When the Emperor Was Divine

Knopf

A short and understated, but also powerful novel in which members of a Japanese-American family, forced to move from a happy California home to cramped, humiliating detention camps set up by the American government, return home after World War II to find suspicious neighbors, a vandalized house, and a broken family.


10th Grade

Random

What Jeremy Reskin lacks in grammatical skill he more than makes up for in self-reflection in this record of the events of his sophomore year, which reveals his fascination with new-girl-in-town Renee Shopmaker, his changing relationships with his family, and his attempts to sort out the nature of friendship.


Crow Lake

Dial

Now a successful zoology professor, Kate recalls her parents’ death and being brought up and sustained by her older brothers, especially Matt with whom she shares a love of the wonders of nature. An affecting novel about hardship, tragedy, choices, and family relationships.


The Dive from Clausen's Pier

Knopf/Borzoi

A reckless attempt to impress Carrie, Mike’s dive off Clausen’s pier rendered him paralyzed. Now Carrie finds herself torn between the loyalty she’s expected to feel toward Mike and her need to transform herself. She takes a dive of her own––into adulthood­­––when she escapes to New York.


The Eyre Affair

Viking

Meet Thursday Next, a literary detective for England’s Special Operations Network.  Her mission: to stop a serial killer who enters books and kills literary characters. Mr. Quaverly has already disappeared from copies of Martin Chuzzlewit. Jane Eyre, beware!  It’s mystery, science fiction, and social satire. It’s also lots of fun.


The Fall of Rome

Scribner

The author of an award-winning young adult novel Another Way to Dance (1998) delves deeply into the social and emotional elements that unite and divide us. Issues of race, identity, and integrity are intensely explored through a tragic human triangle comprised of the lone African American instructor at an exclusive, boys boarding school in Connecticut; a promising African American student from New York City; and a white divorcee.


The Year of Ice

St. Martin's

Malloy’s first novel is a memorable story of the emotional complexities of American families and the complications of coming of age. High-school senior Kevin Doyle is literally skating on thin ice: a self-described “alpha male,” he is secretly gay and increasingly estranged from his father, who has a secret of his own.