Alex Awards

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 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.

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2016 Winners

All Involved Ryan Gattis

Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi CoatesBones & All by Camille DeAngelisFuturistic Violence and Fancy Suits by David WongGirl at War Sara Novic







Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla PeraltaThe Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen

  • “All Involved” by Ryan Gattis, published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (ISBN: 9780062378798). Los Angeles, 1992: in the chaos of a rioting city, between settling scores and surviving another day, 18 young men and women—gangbangers, a nurse, an artist, a dreamer—give intense and sometimes brutal voice to their complex human experiences.
  • “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, published by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC (ISBN: 9780812993547). Coates writes to his 15-year-old son about the inborn hazards of being black in America and his own intellectual, political and emotional confrontation with the need to live fully, even in the face of racialist culture.
  • “Bones & All” by Camille DeAngelis, published by St. Martin’s Press (ISBN: 9781250046505). Sixteen-year-old Maren literally eats the ones who love her, bones and all. When her mother abandons her, Maren sets out to find the father she has never met, hoping he can help her understand why she is a monster.
  • “Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits” by David Wong, published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press (ISBN: 9781250040190). Zoey never had much ambition beyond being a barista, but when her father leaves her in control of the lawless city of Tabula Ra$a, she goes from steaming milk to slaying supervillains.
  • “Girl at War” by Sara Nović, published by Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC (ISBN: 9780812996340). Ana's early life was ravaged by the 1991 Balkan wars. Now a college student, Ana relives her war and its consequences as she unravels the mystery of herself and the meaning of home.
  • “Half the World” by Joe Abercrombie, published by Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company (ISBN: 9780804178426). A bloodthirsty girl and a reluctant warrior are recruited by a cunning minister for a mission that will either save or doom their kingdom.
  • “Humans of New York: Stories” by Brandon Stanton, published by St. Martin’s Press (ISBN: 9781250058904). In pictures and interviews that captivate, puzzle and reveal, photojournalist Brandon Stanton collects an immeasurable range of human emotions and perspectives. The photos draw us in and their subjects’ words leave us wondering and cheering at the variety of humanity.
  • “Sacred Heart” by Liz Suburbia, published by Fantagraphics Books Inc. (ISBN: 9781606998410). Adults have disappeared, and Ben Schiller is trying to keep things together until their return in this unsettling graphic novel. A series of mysterious deaths may be a sign of impending doom for Alexandria’s troubled kids.
  • “Undocumented”: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla Peralta, published by Penguin Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC (ISBN: 9781594206528). Overstaying his visa in the U.S. before he was in kindergarten, Padilla Peralta joined other young DREAM Act scholars to erase his illegal status. His humor, wisdom, success and very American boyhood smash anti-immigration stereotypes.
  • “The Unraveling of Mercy Louis” by Keija Parssinen, published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (ISBN: 9780062319098) Mercy, a high school basketball star, lives under the thumb of her grandmother, a fierce believer in Y2K as the apocalypse. The year 1999 alters Mercy’s life in a small Texas refinery town and gives her a future beyond it.

View the list of the 2016 nominated titles.

Members of the 2016 Alex Awards Committee are: Chair Angela Craig, Charlotte (N.C.) Mecklenburg Library; Karen Brooks, Pierce County Library System, Tacoma, Wash.; Mara Cota, San Mateo County (Calif.) Library; Kathleen Fernandes, Seattle; Francisca Goldsmith, Library Ronin, Portland, Maine; Summer Hayes, Seattle Public Library; Kenneth Petrilli, New Rochelle (N.Y.) Public Library; Kristen Thorp, Anythink Libraries, Thornton, Colo.; Joy Worland, Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Montpelier, Vt.; Award Administrative Assistant Kara Hunter, Charlotte (N.C.) Mecklenburg Library; Booklist Consultant, Julia Smith, Associate Editor, Books for Youth, Chicago.     

Previous Winners