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TEENS

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Alex Award

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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 Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002.

2024 Alex Award Winners

Bad Cree : A Novel
by  Jessica Johns
A young Cree woman is tormented by vivid dreams from before her sister's untimely death and wakes up with a severed crow's head in her hands before returning to her rural hometown in Alberta seeking answers.
Chain-Gang All-Stars
by  Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
The explosive, hotly-anticipated debut novel from the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black, about two top women gladiators fighting for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far removed from America's own. Loretta Thurwar and Hamara Hurricane Staxxx Stacker are the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly-popular, highly-controversial, profit-raising program in America's increasingly dominant private prison industry. It's the return of the gladiators and prisoners are competing for the ultimate prize: their freedom. In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in chain gangs, competing in death matches for packed arenas with righteous protestors at the gates. Thurwar and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares to leave her fellow Links, she considers how she might help preserve their humanity, in defiance of these so-called games, but CAPE's corporate owners will stop at nothing to protect their status quo and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar's path have devastating consequences. Moving from the Links in the field to the protestors to the CAPE employees and beyond, Chain-Gang All-Stars is a kaleidoscopic, excoriating look at the American prison system's unholy alliance of systemic racism, unchecked capitalism, and mass incarceration, and a clear-eyed reckoning with what freedom in this country really means from a new and necessary American voice.
Chlorine : A Novel
by  Jade Song
Ren Yu is a swimmer. Her daily life starts and ends with the pool. Her teammates are her only friends. Her coach, her guiding light. If she swims well enough, she will be scouted, get a scholarship, go to a good school. Her parents will love her. Her coach will be kind to her. She will have a good life. But these are human concerns. These are the concerns of those confined to land, those with legs. Ren grew up on stories of creatures of the deep, of the oceans and the rivers. Ones that called sailors to their doom. Ones that dragged them down and drowned them. Ones that feasted on their flesh. One of the creatures that she's always longed to become: a mermaid. Ren aches to be in the water. She dreams of the scent of chlorine, the feel of it on her skin. And she will do anything she can to make a life for herself where she can be free. No matter the pain. No matter what anyone else thinks. No matter how much blood she has to spill.
Fourth Wing
by  Rebecca Yarros
Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general--also known as her tough-as-talons mother--has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders. But when you're smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don't bond to fragile humans. They incinerate them. With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother's daughter--like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant. She'll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise. Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.
I Will Greet the Sun Again : A Novel
by  Khashayar J Khabushani
Three young brothers leave Los Angeles in the dead of night for Iran, taken by their father from their mother to a country and an ancestral home they barely recognize. They return to the Valley months later, spit back into American life and changed in awful and inexorable ways. Under the annihilating light of the California sun, our protagonist, the youngest brother, tries to piece together a childhood shattered by his father's abuse, a queer adolescence marked by a shy, secret love affair with a boy he meets on the basketball court, and his suddenly-hostile status as a Muslim living under the shadow of 9/11.
Maame
by  Jessica George
It's fair to say that Maddie's life in London is far from rewarding. With a mother who spends most of her time in Ghana (yet still somehow manages to be overbearing), Maddie is the primary caretaker for her father, who suffers from advanced stage Parkinson's. At work, her boss is a nightmare and Maddie is tired of always being the only Black person in every meeting. When her mum returns from her latest trip to Ghana, Maddie leaps at the chance to get out of the family home and finally start living. A self-acknowledged late bloomer, she's ready to experience some important firsts: She finds a flatshare, says yes to after-work drinks, pushes for more recognition in her career, and throws herself into the bewildering world of internet dating. But it's not long before tragedy strikes, forcing Maddie to face the true nature of her unconventional family, and the perils--and rewards--of putting her heart on the line. Smart, funny, and deeply affecting, Jessica George's Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: from familial duty and racism to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most importantly, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong.
Starter Villain
by John Scalzi
Inheriting your mysterious uncle's supervillain business is more complicated than you might imagine. Sure, there are the things you'd expect. The undersea volcano lairs. The minions. The plots to take over the world. The international networks of rivals who want you dead. Much harder to get used to...are the sentient, language-using, computer-savvy cats. And the fact that in the overall organization, they're management...Amazon.
The Hard Parts : A Memoir of Courage and Triumph
by  Oksana Masters
The United States' most decorated winter Paralympic or Olympic athlete tells how she overcame Chernobyl disaster-caused physical challenges through sheer determination and a drive to succeed to win the world's best in elite rowing, biathlon, cross-countryskiing, and road cycling competitions.
The Talk
by  Darrin Bell
This graphic memoir by a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning offers a deeply personal meditation on the talk parents must have with Black children about racism and the brutality that often accompanies it, a ritual attempt to keep kids safe and prepare them for a world that-to paraphrase Toni Morrison-does not love them. Darrin Bell was six years old when his mother told him he couldn't play with a white friend's realistic water gun. She told me I'm a lot more likely to be shot by police than my friend was if they saw me with it because police tend to think little Black boys-even light-skinned ones-are older than they really are, and less innocent than they really are. Bell examines how the talk has shaped nearly every moment of his life into adulthood and fatherhood. Through evocative original illustrations, The Talk is a meditation on this coming-of-age-as Bell becomes painfully aware of being regarded as dangerous by white teachers, neighbors, and strangers, and thus of his mortality. Drawing attention to the brutal murders of African Americans like Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, and showcasing his award-winning cartoons along the way, Bell takes us up to the very moment of reckoning when people took to the streets protesting the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and when he must have the talk with a six-year-old son of his own.
Whalefall : A Novel
by  Daniel Kraus
Jay Gardiner has given himself a fool's errand--to find the remains of his deceased father in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Monastery Beach. He knows it's a long shot, but Jay feels it's the only way for him to lift the weight of guilt he has carried since his dad's death by suicide the previous year. The dive begins well enough, but the sudden appearance of a giant squid puts Jay in very real jeopardy, made infinitely worse by the arrival of a sperm whale looking to feed. Suddenly, Jay is caught in the squid's tentacles and drawn into the whale's mouth where he is pulled into the first of its four stomachs. He quickly realizes he has only one hour before his oxygen tanks run out to defeat his demons and escape the belly of a whale.