In addition to the ten winning titles, the Alex Award committee also publishes its official nomination list. The following titles were official nominees for the 2011 award.
32 Candles: A Novel by Ernessa T. Carter, published by HarperCollins (ISBN 9780061957840)
A Cinderella rags-to-riches story about a loveable, spunky heroine named Davie. Growing up in poverty in rural Mississippi, Davie moves to L.A. where she blossoms into a nightclub singer with a powerful singing voice.
Ape House: A Novel by Sara Gruen, published by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group (ISBN 9780385523219)
Five apes that are fluent in American Sign Language disappear from their research lab during an explosion. Their keeper and a reporter won’t quit until they find out which of several scumbags (a greedy “scientist,” a shiny TV producer, a short-sighted animal rights group) is responsible for the kidnapping.
Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story as told to Jody M. Roy, Ph. D, published by Hawthorne Books and Literary Arts (ISBN 9780979018824)
Meeink finds the family he’s been looking for in a gang of white supremacists, and learns to hate Jews without ever meeting one. His gritty memoir touches on racism, addiction, and ultimately, redemption.
Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky, translated by Tim Mohr, published by Europa Editions (ISBN 9781933372969)
Set in a housing project in Germany, 17-year-old Russian immigrant Sascha, whose mother has been murdered, plots revenge.
Citrus County by John Brandon, published by McSweeney’s Rectangulars (ISBN 9781934781531)
Nothing is quite what is should be in this novel set in the swamplands of Florida that features disillusioned teachers, mean uncles, a boy who becomes a kidnapper, and a girl who is tired of being the smart, good one.
City of Veils: A Novel by Zoë Ferraris, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group (ISBN 9780316074278)
The beaten, burned and indecently exposed body of a young female filmmaker sparks a murder investigation CSI – Saudia Arabia style.
Diamond Ruby: A Novel by Joseph Wallace, published by Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781439160053)
Called “Monkey Girl” for her long arms, Ruby soon discovers a talent: she can throw far and she can throw fast. After landing a gig as a Coney Island attraction, she finds herself mixed up with rumrunners, mobsters, and baseball heroes.
Dogfight: A Novel by Matt Burgess, published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. (ISBN 9780385532983)
Alfredo Batista is a hustler with a heart. His girlfriend is pregnant, his brother has just been released from prison, and they’re all crammed together in a typical Boricuan apartment. This unexpectedly humorous novel brings Jackson Heights, Queens to life.
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky: A Novel by Heidi W. Durrow, published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (ISBN 9781565126800)
After a family tragedy and a move to live with her grandmother, Rachel, the daughter of an African American soldier and Danish mother, is forced to confront what her mixed raced heritage means. Is she black or white, and why does she have to choose one?
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, published by Crown Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. (ISBN 9781400052172)
Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman in the 1950s, provided the world with one of the most important cells to date: the HeLa cell. This fascinating, well-paced narrative showcases the atrocities committed against the African American community in the name of science.
Insatiable by Meg Cabot, published by HarperCollins (ISBN 9780061735066)
Meena Harper, a cynical and talented soap opera writer falls unexpectedly for a mysterious Romanian prince. Set on the Upper East Side of New York City, this is a witty addition to the vampire genre.
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin, published by HarperPerennial, an imprint of HarperCollins (ISBN 978006
Fifteen-year-old Charley is neglected, abused and abandoned, but he never loses his unrelenting, gentle spirit in the dace of chaos and violence. He undertakes a perilous journey to find his remaining family with his only friend – Lean on Pete, a broken down racehorse, by his side.
Model Home: A Novel by Eric Puchner published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9780743270496)
The American Dream has gone very wrong for the Ziller family – their lives are in shambles and all of their “stuff” – cars, furniture, & designer clothes – is disappearing. Tragedy strikes and teen siblings Dustin & Lyle are truly seeing their parents & family for the first time.
Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon, published by HarperPerennial, a division of HarperCollins (ISBN 9780061732973)
This collection of funny, profound, and clever poems sculpted like statues from the marble of newspaper articles spans milestones of childhood through young adulthood, including Little League, high school politics, and first kiss. A fantastic resource for YA programming.
One Bloody Thing After Another by Joey Comeau, published by ECW Press (ISBN 9781550229165)
Strange, gruesome, and out-of-control, Jackie is volatile, angry, and can disappear at-will. Ann’s mom is turning into a monster, and she is worried about finding her food — bloody steaks aren’t enough. Charlie is seeing ghosts. Is he crazy or does he have a mission to fulfill?
The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore, published by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group (ISBN 9780385528191)
Two men. Two lives. One name. Infinite choices. Why does one Wes Moore end up in prison for life and the other end up a White House Fellow and Rhodes Scholar?
The Passage: A Novel by Justin Cronin, published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group (ISBN 9780345504968)
Set in the near future when the US has been overrun by “virals,” terrifying creatures who depend upon the blood of mammals for sustenance. Survivors have gathered together in heavily armed compounds for safety. Your basic science fiction/dystopian/vampire/adventure/romance story, and a nice long read to sink your teeth into.
Peep Show: A Novel by Joshua Braff, published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing (ISBN 9781565125087)
New York City in the 1970s is the setting for this story of a broken family. David and sister Dena have a strong bond that keeps them mostly sane in their family of newly conservative Jewish mother and adult theatre owner father.
The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan, published by Orbit Books, a division of Hachette Book Group (ISBN 97803160077064)
Wynter and her father return home after five years only to discover that their beloved kingdom is greatly changed. She is devastated to learn that the princes, her closest childhood friends, are very unhappy. And where has the magic gone?
Star Island by Carl Hiaasen, published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. (ISBN 9780307272584)
Cherry Pye is a Britney Spears-esque pop star. Hiaasen’s work here is a departure from his teen books that takes the reader into a world of kidnapping, celebrity paparazzo, action, mystery, pop culture trash elements, and utter hilarity.
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern, published by HarperCollins (ISBN 9780061992704)
Justin captures his outrageous father’s pithy vulgar hilarious statements in immensely popular tweets now wrapped with memoir.
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, published by Faber & Faber, an affiliate of Farrar Strauss & Giroux (ISBN 9780865479432)
Why did Skippy die in the doughnut shop? Maybe it has to do with his roommate, the overweight string theory obsessed Rupert r one of the other fascinating characters populating this funny, touching tale of life in a Dublin boarding school.
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy. O Frost and Gail Steketee, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company (ISBN 9780151014231)
Why do some people crave clutter even when it endangers their health and safety? The authors of this book compassionately share a variety of individual true stories from their years of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder research.
Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle, published by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. (ISBN 9781439153024)
Father Greg Boyle’s direct work with youth in gangs and recovered gang bangers forms a passionate and supportive bond within the community in a neighborhood that has the highest concentration of gang activity in Los Angeles. Teens interested in urban and spiritual books would be attracted to this book.
Wisenheimer: A Childhood Subject to Debate by Mark Oppenheimer, published by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. (ISBN 9781439128640)
The memoir of a constant talker who learns to put his articulation to good use. Frustrated and bullied in school, Mark finds his niche when he joins the high school debate team. Love of language and reason is revealed in this passionate, witty, and funny memoir.