2009 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 award is sponsored 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. The Alex Awards are named after Edwards, who was called “Alex” by her friends.

In addition to selecting titles for the Alex Awards, the Alex Committee presents a program at the ALA Annual Conference. The 2009 program will take place in Chicago, Ill., Sunday, July 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and will feature a panel presentation highlighting the winners and how to sell them to young adults. Authors will discuss the impact the award has had on their careers.

The 2009 Alex Awards Committee is Chair Priscille Dando, Robert E. Lee High School, Fairfax County Public Schools, Lorton, Va.; Vicki Emery, admin asst., Lake Braddock Secondary School, Burke Va.; Hope Baugh, Carmel (Ind.) Clay Public Library; Diane Colson, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, Fla. ; Jennifer Jung Gallant, Elyria (Ohio) Public Library system, Bay Village, Ohio; Sarah Hill, Paris (Ill.) Union School District #95; Jennifer Hubert Swan, Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York; Betsy Levine, San Francisco Public Library; Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, Troy, Mich.; Kaite Mediatore Stover, Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library; and Ian Chipman, Booklist Consultant, Chicago, Ill.

The Titles

city of thieves

City of Thieves, by David Benioff, published by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (9780670018703)

Two teenage boys encounter cannibals, murderers, prostitutes, and assassins as they struggle to complete an impossible task during the freezing Siege of Leningrad in this funny, shocking, and briskly written tome.

the dragons of babel

The Dragons of Babel, by Michael Swanwick, a Tor Book published by Tom Doherty Associates (9780765319500)

In this original steampunk fantasy, young Will embarks on a quest that takes him to the dizzying heights and gritty depths of the postindustrial world of Babel.

finding nouf

Finding Nouf, by Zoë Ferraris published by Houghton Mifflin Company (9780618873883)

After a 16-year-old girl from a wealthy Saudi family is found dead in the middle of the desert, a devout Muslim guide and a young medical examiner seek to unravel the mystery while facing the sanctions of Middle Eastern society.

the good thief

The Good Thief, by Hannah Tinti, published by Dial Press, a division of Random House (9780385337458)

In this suspenseful and unpredictable adventure, Ren, a one-handed eighteenth-century orphan, becomes apprenticed to a con man. Surprisingly, Ren seems born to it.

just after sunset: stories

Just After Sunset: Stories, by Stephen King, published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster (9781416584087)

Modern terrors abound—a porta-potty prison, class warfare on an apocalyptic afternoon—in this wickedly compelling collection of macabre, absurd, and gleefully vulgar stories. Scary, dirty fun.


Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (9781565125698)

At the close of WW II, two soldiers return to their home in the South to find racial tensions as explosive as the battlefields of Europe. This beautifully written story casts a spell as inescapable as the mud fields of the Mississippi Delta.

over and under

Over and Under, by Todd Tucker, published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press (9780312379902)

Andy and Tom’s fourteenth summer is defined by adventures in the woods and caves near their home, a strike that polarizes their small town, and secrets that test their friendship.

the oxford project

The Oxford Project, by Stephen G. Bloom, photographed by Peter Feldstein, published by Welcome Books (9781599620480)

In this riveting sociological study, the residents of Oxford, Iowa were photographed in 1984 and then again in 2005. Their compelling life stories, vividly expressed in brief biographical sketches, show just how much someone can change in 21 years.

sharp teeth

Sharp Teeth, by Toby Barlow, published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins (9780061430220)

A fast-paced ride through the brutality of L.A.’s wilderness of drugs, gangs, and the connections people make with one another. The fact that most of the characters in this bloody, sexy, free-verse tale are mostly lycanthropes is almost incidental.

three girls and their brother

Three Girls and Their Brother, by Theresa Rebeck, published by Shaye Areheart Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House (9780307394149)

This witty satire of show-biz politics, told from the perspective of four New York teenage siblings in the eye of a publicity tornado, provides a fascinating insider’s look at the world of the rich and famous.