Alex Awards 2020 Nominees

In addition to the ten winning titles, the Alex Award committee also publishes a vetted list of official nominations. The following titles were official nominees for the 2020 award.

Official Nominations

Ayesha at Last, By Uzma Jalaluddin. Published by Berkeley. In a modern interpretation of Pride and Prejudice, Khalid and Ayesha overcome a series of missteps and miscommunications, despite the interference of family members who threaten to keep them apart.

The Bird King, By G. Willow Wilson. Published by Grove. Fatima, a concubine to the last sultan in Spain, and her dearest friend, Hassan, yearn for freedom.They flee the palace when Hassan’s magical abilities make him a target of the Spanish Inquisition. With the help of a clever jinn, the young friends embark on a journey that tests their faith and endurance.

Daisy Jones and the Six, By Taylor Jenkins Reid. Published by Ballantine. Why did Daisy Jones and the Six suddenly disband at the height of their stardom? Designed as a fictional oral history, Reid’s novel follows the compelling struggles, compromises, and successes of a 1970s rock band at a time when music meant everything.

The Deepest Blue, By Sarah Beth Durst. Published by Harper Voyager. When her island is invaded by spirits, Mayara must sacrifice everything to save those she loves. An action-packed tale of female empowerment and survival.

The Falconer, By Dana Czapnik. Published by Atria Books. High school senior and basketball phenom Lucy Adler navigates the pitfalls of first love and growing up in early 1990s New York City.

Future of Another Timeline, By Annalee Newitz. Published by Tor. In 1992, teenage Beth attempts to find refuge at a punk show when she encounters Tess, a time traveller from 2022.  Tess is on a mission to prevent a fixed patriarchal future, just as things are taking a dangerously dark turn in Beth's life. 

Gods of Jade and Shadow, By Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Published by Del Rey. Eighteen-year-old Casiopea finds herself coerced into accompanying Hun-Kame, the Mayan god of death, on a dangerous quest across 1920s Mexico to wrest his kingdom from the grip of his murderous brother. 

Grass, By Keum Suk Gendry-Kim. Translated by Janet Hong. Published by Drawn & Quarterly. This poignant graphic memoir uncovers the astounding details of Lee Ok-Sun’s life as a comfort woman for the Japanese army during World War II.

Hot Comb, by Ebony Flowers. Published by Drawn & Quarterly. Flowers’ haircentric graphic novel is an insightful collection of coming-of-age vignettes centered on the lives of Black women.

The Institute, By Stephen King. Published by Scribner. Twelve-year-old genius Luke Ellis is abducted from his Minneapolis home and taken to a secret facility deep in the Maine woods, where callous, corrupt staff members perform experiments on children who have telekinetic and/or telepathic abilities.

King of King Court, By Travis Dandro. Published by Drawn & Quarterly. Dandro's graphic memoir tells the story of his coming of age in a fractured family beset by poverty and addiction through an art style that vibrates with tension.

Lights All Night Long, By Lydia Fitzpatrick. Published by Penguin Press. Ilya's year abroad in America is overshadowed by his older brother's confession and subsequent arrest for murder back in drug-plagued Russia. With the help of a romantic interest, Ilya is determined to clear his brother’s name.

Magic for Liars, By Sarah Gailey. Published by Tor. Investigator Ivy Gamble attempts to solve a murder at a school for young mages, where her estranged twin, Tabitha, teaches. Ivy tells us she'll strive to be honest; however, it quickly becomes difficult to tell who is lying and who is not. Teens will enjoy the excellent mystery, Ivy's sarcasm, the cleverly conceived magic, and unresolved sibling conflict.

Making Comics, By Lynda Barry. Published by Drawn & Quarterly. Allow Professor Sasquatch (Lynda Barry) to lead you in experiential drawing exercises designed to convince you that you really do have untapped, forgotten talent. She demonstrates that the imperfect nature of comic art makes it a perfect medium for exploration.

Parkland, By Dave Cullen. Published by Harper. This nonfiction account follows the inspiring story of the teen survivors of the Parkland shooting, who used the disaster to start a movement focused on passing reasonable gun control laws.

A Particular Kind of Black Man, By Tope Folarin. Published by Simon and Schuster. Introspective Tunde Akinola, Utah-born son of Nigerian immigrants, fights to come of age and find his place in the world, while challenged by a family blown apart by mental illness and separation.

A People’s History of Heaven,  By Mathangi Subramanian. Published by Algonquin. On the day their Bangalore village, Heaven, is scheduled for demolition, five close friends find ways to accept and capitalize on their strengths. This hopeful story weaves together issues of identity, feminism, and relationships with the harsh reality of the bulldozers at Heaven’s border.

Red at the Bone, By Jacqueline Woodson. Published by Riverhead. Intertwining stories of desire, identity, love, and loss center around the impact of Iris’ teen pregnancy, her relationships with boyfriend Aubrey and her daughter Melody, and her family members, whose lives have been shaped by a legacy of racial prejudice and violence.

Sissy, By Jacob Tobia. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Jacob Tobia's brave and glittery memoir shares their singular story of gender and self-discovery, encompassing their growth from being a sensitive child confused by traditional gender roles to an outspoken nonbinary, trans activist. 

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, By Alix E. Harrow. Published by Redhook/Orbit. January thought a door to another world was a product of her childhood imagination. However, at the age of 17, she discovers a book that implies not only that such portals are absolutely real, but that they have shaped her entire life.

The Testaments, By Margaret Atwood. Published by Nan A. Talese. This long-awaited sequel to the feminist dystopian classic The Handmaid's Tale introduces readers to the testimonies of three women deeply tied to the Gilead empire. As secrets and identities are revealed, each woman discovers the limits of her own bravery.

Too Much is Not Enough, By Andrew Rannells. Published by Crown Archetype, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group. In this conspiratorial memoir, 19-year-old Andrew Rannells leaves Nebraska for New York City in hopes of instantly achieving Broadway stardom. He is met with the harsh reality of auditions, responsibilities, and his own immaturity before his eventual big break—joining the cast of Hairspray.

The Vagina Bible, By Jen Gunter. Published by Kensington Publishing Corp. OB-GYN Jen Gunter takes readers on an accessible journey through vagina and vulva health. She answers questions, dispels myths, and dispenses advice along the way, resulting in a reliable and even fun resource for vagina-owners of all ages.

The World That We Knew, By Alice Hoffman. Published by Simon and Schuster. Lea's mother, with the help of Ettie, a Rabbi's daughter, creates a rare and powerful golem named Ava to protect Lea as she flees from the Nazi regime at the height of WWII.