The most exciting part of the annual American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting is the literary award announcements. Two that cover literature for Young Adults are the Michael L. Printz Award (best in Young Adult Literature) and the Alex Awards (ten adult books that appeal to teen readers).
This year’s Printz Award went to Paolo Bacigalupi (possibly the best name in YA lit) for Ship Breaker. This is a terrific adventure story set in a bleak future near New Orleans. Global ecological disasters have scarred the coast as we follow the boy scavenger Nailer’s adventures after he and a friend discover the wreckage of a pleasure yacht. Problems arise after they find a body among the plunder. Paolo also shared top honors at the 2010 Hugo Awards for his adult Science Fiction book The Windup Girl.
The Alex Awards are a great list for High School readers that are looking to make that leap to the adult fiction and nonfiction areas but don’t know many authors beyond Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, or the Child Called It guy. It’s also a pretty great list for adults too! These are the top ten for 2011:
The Reapers Are the Angels: A Novel by Alden Bell
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel by Aimee Bender
The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: A Novel by Helen Grant
The Radleys by Matt Haig
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray
The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To by DC Pierson