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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Best of 2012 compilation

There are three sources for the annual best of the best adult books for teens: Booklist Editors Choice Adult Books for Young Adults (listed here; blogged about  here), the Alex Awards (listed here; blogged about here), and right here at AB4T – our Best Adult Books 4 Teens, 2012.

YALSA has also released the 2013 Alex Awards vetted nomination list, which is quite simply terrific. More on that in a moment.

First, I always find it an interesting exercise to look at all three best of the year lists and see where the overlaps occur. This year I’ve included (NF) next to the nonfiction titles. (You can also see which titles we missed reviewing here last year, since I am linking to our reviews.)

2012 overlaps, including Alex winners only:

3 lists
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

2 lists
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau
Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman
Juvenile in Justice by Richard Ross (NF)
Pure by Julianna Baggott

2012 overlaps, including both the Alex vetted nominations and winners:

3 lists
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau
Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman
Juvenile in Justice by Richard Ross (NF)
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

2 lists
The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande (NF)
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
So Far Away by Meg Mitchell Moore
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Ever Told You about Being Creative by Austin Kleon (NF)
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

Now, more about the vetted list of Alex Awards nominations. I loved seeing a few of the books I reviewed personally last year on the vetted list, which were (in addition to a few of the overlaps mentioned above): Brain on Fire, The Cranes Dance, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, and The Year of the Gadfly. All terrific reads which deserve more attention! Hopefully the fact that they were voted onto the vetted list will mean they show up in more teen collections and school libraries around the country.

I have to add that I am especially thrilled to see The Flight of Gemma Hardy among the Alex nominations. This didn’t make the AB4T best list, but it is probably my personal favorite book of 2012. It’s not perfect — the beginning stays too close to the original (oh yeah, it’s a 20th century version of Jane Eyre) — but it is (as those wonderful writers over on the Printz blog would say) a heart book for me.

And let’s talk about diversity for a minute. While socio-economic diversity is plentiful throughout, the AB4T best list shows much more racial diversity in its nonfiction, a trend that is mirrored by the Alex Awards. The fiction is less diverse this year. Fortunately, there is a good showing of global diversity — including books set in the Middle East, Mexico, ancient Greece, Saudi Arabia, India, Scotland, Iceland, England, North Korea, and various parts of the United States.

So, overall 2012 was a great year for adult books with teen appeal. Add those titles you missed to your next order, and let’s move on to 2013.  I just finished my first real favorite of the new year. Review to come!

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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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