This year's Alex Award winners have been announced. The Alex Awards go to adult books that appeal to teen readers. This year, MHL teen services librarian Anna was on the Alex committee to choose these titles! These books are powerful, engaging reads for both teens and adults, so give one (or more) a try!
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.
by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
The star of a popular, but controversial for-profit program in the private prison industry that basically turns prisoners into gladiators contemplates freedom, in the new novel from the New York Times best-selling author of Friday Black.
Chlorine : a novel
by Jade Song
An intense high school swimmer, intent on being scouted and awarded a scholarship, tries to deal with the pressure of it all while feeling a strange, dark suspicion that she is actually a mermaid.
by Rebecca Yarros
Despite hoping to enter the Scribe Quadrant, the bookish Violet Sorrengail is forced to become one of the hundreds of candidates risking their lives to be a dragon rider in the first novel of a new series.
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-country skiing and road cycling competitions.
I will greet the sun again : a novel
by Khashayar J. Khabushani
An Iranian American boy named after a Persian king grapples with gay or bisexual feelings towards his closest friend, Johnny, while navigating life as the dutiful son of immigrant parents he is trying to make proud.
by Jessica George
"Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi but in my case, it means woman." 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 flat share, 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.
by John Scalzi
When his long-lost uncle dies, leaving him his supervillain business, Charlie, as rich, soulless predators backed by multinational corporations and venture capital come after him, finds going bad looking pretty good with unionized dolphins, hyperintelligent talking spy cats and a terrifying henchperson at his side.
by Darrin Bell
This graphic memoir by a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning offers a deeply personal meditation on the "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. 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
Diving in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Monastery Beach to find the remains of his deceased father, Jay Gardiner, in a terrifying turn of events, is swallowed by a sperm whale and has only one hour before his oxygen tanks run out—one hour to defeat his demons and escape.