March 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Alex Winners: Where Are They Now?

As I sat at home last weekend, not going to ALA and the Alex Awards Program,  I started thinking about how many books by former Alex Award winners we’ve looked at this year.  In my head, it seemed like a lot, but I thought I should actually crunch the numbers.  So, here they are, for whatever it’s worth: there are 159 Alex Award winning authors (Neil Gaiman is the only repeat recipient). This year we’ve considered for review 17 books by 16 of those authors, and are aware of another 6 books still to be published (with possibly more on the way).  Here’s how it breaks down:


Julianna Baggott, Fuse
Thomas Maltman, Little Wolves
Audrey Niffenegger, Raven Girl
Mary Roach, Gulp
Jeannette Walls, The Silver Star
Jacqueline Winspear, Leaving Everything Most Loved

Still to be published:

Jesmyn Ward, The Men We Reaped – September
Roland Merullo, The Vatican Waltz – December
Toby Barlow, Babayaga – August
Stephen King, Doctor Sleep – September
Lisa Lutz, The Last Word – July
Diane Setterfield, Bellman & Black – November

Assigned for review:

These are books that are currently being read and considered by one of our reviewers

Orson Scott Card, The Gate Thief
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed

Rejected for review:

These are books that were read by reviewers (two of them by me) and rejected for the blog.  We felt that Currie’s and Haruf’s novels were both well written, but not teen friendly enough for our tastes.  Haig’s has a ton of teen appeal, but I felt that it had such severe literary flaws that I couldn’t support a review.

Ron Currie, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles
Matt Haig, The Humans
Kent Haruf, Benediction

Never Got to Them:

These are among the many, many books that caught our attention at some point but we never quite managed to get out to a reviewer.  It’s not impossible that we may still come back to one or more of these, but time is not on their side, so please tell us if we are missing out.

Tracy Chevalier, The Last Runaway – January
Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art – May
Stephen King, Joyland – June
Jodi Picoult, The Storyteller – February
Peter Rock, The Shelter Cycle – April

Of course, given the above stated fact that only one author has ever won the Alex twice, the odds are not good that any of these books will make this year’s Alex list. But for our purposes, it is great to know that so many of these talented authors are still out there making great books with teen appeal.

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Mark Flowers About Mark Flowers

Mark Flowers is SLJ’s Adult Books 4 Teens cocolumnist and a supervising librarian at the Rio Vista (CA) Library.

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