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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Booklist Editors’ Choice

Booklist Magazine released its Editors’ Choice lists earlier this week, including the annual Best Adult Books for Young Adults. Booklist is the only other review journal that creates a list sharing our criteria — books published for adults that have interest for young adults — so it is always fun to compare the two.

Booklist chose 18 titles; we chose 24.

The overlaps between the two lists are:

Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls are not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself by Rachel Lloyd

Booklist includes three titles that we did not review here: Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr, The World Beneath by Cate Kennedy, and Earth: The Operators’ Manual by Richard Alley. I had all of them on my list to consider. We did not receive review copies of the first two, and I failed to review the third myself. (Yes, I do sometimes assign books to myself then get side-tracked. I’m working on that!)

The others, those that we did review here but did not choose for our Best list, were all reviewed very positively. They simply did not stand out to their SLJ reviewer as a best. And I think I may reveal that Zahra’s Paradise was reviewed too late. It would probably have found a place on our list too.

I mentioned earlier what a strong year it has been for adult books with teen appeal. I am looking forward to the last of the triumvirate – the Alex Awards – to be announced at the Youth Media Awards during ALA Midwinter in Dallas on Monday, January 23rd. My observation is that the Alex Awards tend to emphasize appeal. To my eyes, the Booklist Best list tilts toward the literary. So I expect differences. And, of course, the Alex committee is only allowed to honor 10 titles. I can’t imagine narrowing the field to just ten this year. Of course, that’s why it’s a committee process.

What might be considered Alex shoe-ins?  Oh, how I would love to speculate! I know what I would be fighting for, and I think I know what I would fight for in vain (if past experience is any indication). But it all comes down to those final discussions at the Midwinter conference itself. At least the Alex committee is now allowed to reveal a nominations list as well as the ten winners, which gives everyone more titles to recommend to teens.

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Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.

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