Each year, the Young Adult Library Services Associations (YALSA) selects 10 adult books with special appeal to teen readers to receive the Alex Award. The award is named in honor of the late Margaret Alexander Edwards, fondly called “Alex” by her closest friends, a pioneer in providing library services to young adults. Check out some of the most recent winners!

Discover more winning books from past years at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/alex-awards.

  • The black god's drums
    P. Djèlí Clark

    Creeper, a scrappy young teen, is done living on the streets of New Orleans. Her sights are set on securing passage aboard Captain Ann-Marie's smuggler airship Midnight Robber, earning the captain's trust using a secret about a kidnapped Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls the Black God's Drums. But Creeper keeps another secret close to her heart-- Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, who speaks inside her head and grants her divine powers. And Oya has her own priorities...

  • The Book of Essie
    Meghan MacLean Weir

    A debut novel of family, fame, and religion that tells the emotionally stirring, wildly captivating story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family's hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow their entire world apart.

  • Circe
    Madeline Miller

    Follows the banished witch daughter of Titans as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

  • Educated: A Memoir
    Tara Westover

    Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sl eeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

  • The girl who smiled beads
    Clemantine Wamariya

    Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. It was 1994, and in 100 days more than 800,000 people would be murdered in Rwanda and millions more displaced. Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, ran and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries searching for safety. They did not know whether their parents were alive. At age twelve, Clemantine and Claire were granted asylum in the United States. Raw, urgent, yet disarmingly beautiful, this book captures the true costs and aftershocks of war: what is forever lost, what can be repaired, the fragility and importance of memory. A riveting story of dislocation, survival.

  • Green
    Sam Graham-Felsen

    In 1992 Boston, Dave, a white boy at a mostly black middle school, befriends Marlon, a youth who lives in public housing and who confounds Dave's assumptions about black culture before their bond is tested by girls, family secrets, and national violence.

  • Home After Dark
    David Small

    Thirteen-year-old Russell Pruitt, abandoned by his mother, follows his father to dilapidated 1950s Marshfield, California where he is forced to fend for himself against a ring of malicious bullies.

  • How long 'til black future month?
    N. K. Jemisin

    Offers a collection of the author's short fiction, including "The City Born Great," where a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis's soul.

  • Lawn Boy
    Jonathan Evison

    Faced by a life of menial prospects in the years after high school, Mike Munoz, a young Mexican-American, attempts over and over to change his life for the better and achieve the American dream, only to be stymied by social-class distinctions and cultural discrimination.

  • Spinning Silver
    Naomi Novik

    A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale from the bestselling author of Uprooted, called "a very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic" by The New York Times Bo ok Review. Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has left his family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed, and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again. For words have power, and the fate of a kingdom will be forever altered by the challenge she is issued. Channeling the heart of the classic fairy tale, Novik deftly interweaves six distinct narrative voices--each learning valuable lessons about sacrifice, power and love--into a rich, multilayered fantasy that readers will want to return to again and again.