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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Awards, Awards, Awards!

I suppose this post should really be titled Lists, Lists, Lists!  But Awards sound so much more exciting!

Mark posted the Alex Awards when they were announced one week ago. I was at the YMA’s, and I have to admit that my heart was in my throat when the announcements began. The very first winner announced was All the Light We Cannot See and I could have jumped out of my seat I was so thrilled. Then I found myself muttering Martian, Martian, Martian under my breath. And that happened. So I was pretty darn happy.

Actually, this is one of my favorite lists in years (even though I hadn’t heard of two of the winners at all–Bingo’s Run and The Terrorist’s Son). I want to say a huge Congratulations and Thank You to the Alex Award committee members. Their names are on the Award homepage on the YALSA site, you know. Fine work, everyone!

Then, on Friday, the Alex Awards nominations were announced, and the year got even better. Bird Box! How to Build a Girl!

Now that all the lists are in, I thought it might be fun to do our annual roundup of the three lists that consider adult books and teen appeal: our Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2014, the Booklist Editors’ Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults, and YALSA’s Alex Awards.

Considering just the Alex Awards (and not the Alex nominations), this year there were no books that made all three lists, but several made two:

Above the Dreamless Dead, ed. by Chris Duffy
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The Fever by Megan Abbott
Lock In by John Scalzi
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
The Martian by Andy Weir

If we include the Alex Award nominations, we do have two books that made all three lists, and they are (drum roll, please):

The Fever by Megan Abbott
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez

We can also add a few to our books making 2 lists:

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

Two more lists were released last week that I want to talk about while we’re here. First, the RUSA Reading List. Do you all know about this? I love this list so much. It repopulates my TBR pile every year. I am linking to the press release, since it doesn’t seem to be up on the RUSA site quite yet.

As you can see, it is a list of the best adult fiction in eight genres: Adrenaline, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Women’s Fiction. Not only does it include a shortlist in each genre, it also includes three readalikes for the winner. So many great books. And often there is significant crossover with our AB4T reviews. This year the Adrenaline, Fantasy and Science Fiction shortlists were particularly full of books with teen appeal.

The other list I wanted to point out is In the Margins, titles for youth in custody. Last week’s announcement highlights one fiction and one nonfiction winner, as well as a top ten list. The full official list is on the award website. Amy Cheney, an AB4T reviewer, chairs the committee. Congratulations to Amy and all of the committee members!

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.


  1. EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU and HOW TO BUILD A GIRL also made this year’s Amelia Bloomer list:

    • Angela Carstensen Angela Carstensen says:

      Thank you! I couldn’t find Everything I Never Told You there, but thank you for pointing us to another great list that recommends adult titles for teens.

      • JUST KIDDING, it was a nomination that didn’t make the final list. Thank you for doing my due diligence for me. :-) But there are several other adult titles that are worth checking out!

      • Angela Carstensen Angela Carstensen says:

        No worries! Thanks again for bringing those titles to our attention!