2021 Alex Awards Virtual Celebration
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, published by Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781534437678). A diverse group of priests, sailors, and travelers converge in the holy city of Tova in preparation for the annual winter solstice celebration, which coincides with a solar eclipse in this epic fantasy adventure. Great writing and world building transport the reader to a civilization inspired by pre-Columbian mythology.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, published by Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Books (ISBN 9781250217288 ). Buttoned-up and by-the-book Linus is sent to investigate a classified orphanage on a strange island by Extremely Upper Management. Forced out of his comfort zone, he is surprised to find love and family in this magically joyful tale.
The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice - Crossing Antarctica Alone by Colin O’Brady, published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982133115). Mindset expert Colin O’Brady recounts his experience as the first to traverse Antarctica solo and unassisted. Drawing strength from prior successes, failures, and his support system, he endures whiteouts, subzero temperatures, and starvation while pulling a 365-pound supply sled.
Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf, published by Abrams Comicarts (ISBN 9781419734847). In 1970 the Ohio National Guard opened fire on Kent State students protesting the Vietnam War, killing four and wounding nine. This chilling graphic novel follows the lives of the students, politicians, guardsmen, and law enforcement in simple black and white, revealing a volatile situation ending in heartbreaking tragedy.
The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony, published by Park Row Books (ISBN 9780778308744). A few years after losing their mother, the McClair twins use podcasting to search for their biological father. The family is turned inside out by the media, but with the help of their loving grandmother, they persevere in this witty coming of age novel.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones published by Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982136451). Told through the backdrop of cultural tradition versus modern expectations, this horror story follows four Native American men as a decision from their past comes back to haunt them. Magical realism and realistic fiction blend as an avenging presence tracks them down.
Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth, published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins (ISBN 9780062942852) . This gothic horror novel follows the lives of queer women throughout history. As our past and present heroines learn about a mysterious curse connected to Brookhaunts School for Girls, they explore their own identities in this work of metafiction filled with sapphic romance.
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi, published by Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Books (ISBN 9781250214751). Ella has unexplained powers. She worries about her younger brother Kev, born during the LA riots and later incarcerated simply for being black. Magical realism highlights the injustice, anger, and systemic racism that is prevalent in modern society.
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh, published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982156947). In this humorous graphic memoir about the ups and downs of life, Allie Brosh uses simple, expressive illustrations and wit to grapple with difficult and challenging topics, such as grief, loneliness, and self-love, even if you’re a weirdo.
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry, published by Pantheon Books, a division of Penguin Random House (ISBN 9780525565437). The 1989 Danvers High School Field Hockey team is sick of losing. Could their town’s gritty history surrounding the Salem Witch Trials and a notebook featuring Emilo Estevez change their luck and their lives? Join the team for this quirky ride.
2021 Committee Members
Members of the 2021 Alex Awards Committee are: Karen Perry (Chair), Deanie Adams, Kristen Briggs, Claire Covington, Rose Garrett, Jenna Griffith, Abby Harrison, Pam Spencer Holley, Shannon Schilling
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