Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, $21.95 (1-56512-412-9).
Almond’s obsession with candy blends family memoir, reporting, and travelogue in a hilarious, unflinching examination of the world of sweets.
Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer. Knopf, $24.95 (0-375-41507-6).
A long-distance swimmer describes her record-setting swims in the icy waters of the Bering Strait and Antarctica. An inspiring story of personal achievement and determination.
Donorboy. Random House, $12.95 (1-4000-6277-2).
When her lesbian mothers are killed in an accident, 14-year-old Rosalind meets and moves in with her young sperm donor father. With humor and empathy, the author tells a moving story of strangers creating a family.
Shadow Divers. Random House, $26.95 (0-375-50858-9).
In this vivid and thrilling account, a journalist recounts the adventures of the two deep-sea divers who discover a WWII German U-boat off the coast of New Jersey and become obsessed with uncovering its story.
Work of Wolves. Harcourt, $24.00 (0-15-101057-9).
In this moving, romantic novel, a gifted Lakota boy, a German exchange student, and a horse trainer rescue three abused horses, dramatically changing their lives.
Truth & Beauty: A Friendship. HarperCollins, $23.95 (0-06-057214-0).
As young writers Patchett and Lucy Grealy began a once-in-a-lifetime friendship that lasted until Lucy’s tragic death. With intimacy, grace, and humor, Patchett’s memoir captures Lucy’s rollercoaster life—her exuberance, partying and childlike affection and her struggle with a cruel disfigurement and insurmountable depression.
My Sister’s Keeper. Atria, $25.00 (0-7434-5452-9).
Thirteen-year-old Anna knows that she was conceived in order to provide organs and other life support for her critically ill sister. After enduring multiple surgeries, she sues her parents for the rights to her own body.
Thinner Than Thou. Tom Doherty Associates, $24.00 (0-765-30762-6).
Three teens embark on a rescue mission through an America in which bodily perfection has become a religion. This provocative novel satirizes a world of adults who have lost perspective and teens forced to respond with heroic action.
Project X. Knopf, $20.00 (1-4000-4071-X).
School is a nightmare for eighth-grader Edwin, who suffers daily indignities and bullying. With his only friend, he plots a terrible revenge. A searing, startlingly real account of one boy’s path to violence.
Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants. Bloomsbury, $23.95 (1-58234-385-3).
Sullivan spent a year observing the lives and deaths of New York City’s rats in this surprising, graphic, and entertaining natural history.
The 2005 Alex Award Committee: Chair, Kimberley Hrivnak, Allegheny County Library Association, PA; Lauren Adams, Horn Book Review, MA; Terry Beck, Sno-Isle Libraries, WA; Peter Butts, Holland Public Schools, MI; Angela Carstensen, Staten Island Academy, NY; Mary Hastler, Harford County Public Library, MD; Ellen Loughran, Pratt School of Library and Information Science, NY; Karlan Sick, New York Public Library, NY; Ann Theis, Chesterfield County Library, VA; and Administrative Assistant, David Hrivnak, Peoples Library, PA.