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Mr. Woods thinks seniors should read great books, but not all great books were written 100 years ago. Check out his list of modern award winners with a teen audience in mind.
Last Updated: Dec 9, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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The Printz Award

The Michael L. Printz Award annually honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit, each year. In addition, the Printz Committee names up to four honor books, which also represent the best writing in young adult literature.

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Bone Gap - Laura Ruby
Call Number: T/FIC RUBY, L
ISBN: 9780062317605
Publication Date: 2015-03-03
Eighteen-year-old Finn, an outsider in his quiet Midwestern town, is the only witness to the abduction of town favorite Roza, but his inability to distinguish between faces makes it difficult for him to help with the investigation, and subjects him to even more ridicule and bullying.

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The Ghosts of Heaven - Marcus Sedgwick
Call Number: T/FIC SEDWICK, M.
ISBN: 9781626721258
Publication Date: 2015-01-06
Four linked stories of discovery and survival begin with a Paleolithic-era girl who makes the first written signs, continue with Anna, who people call a witch, then a mad twentieth-century poet who watches the ocean knowing the horrors it hides, and concluding with an astronaut on the first spaceship from Earth sent to colonize another world.

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Out of Darkness - Ashley Hope Pérez
Call Number: T/FIC PEREZ, A.
ISBN: 9781467742023
Publication Date: 2015-09-01
Loosely based on a school explosion that took place in New London, Texas in 1937, this is the story of two teenagers: Naomi, who is Mexican, and Wash, who is black, and their dealings with race, segregation, love, and the forces that destroy people.

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I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson
Call Number: T/FIC NELSON, J.
ISBN: 9780803734968
Publication Date: 2014-09-16
A story of first love and family loss follows the estrangement between daredevil Jude and her loner twin brother, Noah, as a result of a mysterious event that is brought to light by a beautiful, broken boy and a new mentor.

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Midwinterblood - Marcus Sedgwick
Call Number: Y/FIC
ISBN: 9781596438002
Publication Date: 2013-02-05
"Seven linked vignettes unfold on a Scandinavian island inhabited--throughout various time periods--by Vikings, vampires, ghosts, and a curiously powerful plant"--Provided by publisher.

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In Darkness - Nick Lake
Call Number: Y/FIC
ISBN: 9781599907437
Publication Date: 2012-01-17
In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, fifteen-year-old Shorty, a poor gang member from the slums of Site Soleil, is trapped in the rubble of a ruined hospital, and as he grows weaker he has visions and memories of his life of violence, his lost twin sister, and of Toussaint L'Ouverture, who liberated Haiti from French rule in the 1804.

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Where Things Come Back - John Corey Whaley
Call Number: Y/FIC
ISBN: 9781442413337
Publication Date: 2011-05-03
Seventeen-year-old Cullen's summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin's death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother's sudden disappearance.

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Ship Breaker - Paolo Bacigalupi
ISBN: 9780316056212
Publication Date: 2010-05-01
In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

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Going Bovine - Libba Bray
Call Number: T/FIC BRAY, L
ISBN: 9780385733977
Publication Date: 2009-09-22
Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen year-old who, after being diagnosed with Creutzfeld Jakob's (aka mad cow) disease, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure.

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Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta
Call Number: T/FIC MARCHETTA, M.
ISBN: 9780061431838
Publication Date: 2008-08-26
Abandoned by her drug-addicted mother at the age of eleven, high school student Taylor Markham struggles with her identity and family history at a boarding school in Australia.

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The White Darkness - Geraldine McCaughrean
Call Number: Y/FIC
ISBN: 9780060890353
Publication Date: 2007-01-02
Taken to Antarctica by the man she thinks of as her uncle for what she believes to be a vacation, Symone--a troubled fourteen year old--discovers that he is dangerously obsessed with seeking Symme's Hole, an opening that supposedly leads into the center of a hollow Earth.

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Looking for Alaska - John Green
Call Number: T/FIC GREEN, J
ISBN: 0525475060
Publication Date: 2005-03-03
Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.

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Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell
Call Number: T/FIC ROWELL, R
ISBN: 9781250012579
Publication Date: 2013-02-26
"Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Call Number: T/FIC SAENZ, B.
ISBN: 9781442408920
Publication Date: 2012-02-21
Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.


The Alex Award

The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year's publishing. The Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002.


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Girl at War - Sara Novic
Call Number: FIC NOVIC, S
ISBN: 9780812996340
Publication Date: 2015-05-12
Zagreb, summer of 1991. Ten-year-old Ana Juric is a carefree tomboy who runs the streets of Croatia's capital with her best friend, Luka, takes care of her baby sister, Rahela, and idolizes her father. But as civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, soccer games and school lessons are supplanted by sniper fire and air raid drills. Ana is lost to a world of guerrilla warfare and child soldiers; a daring escape plan to America becomes her only chance for survival. Ten years later Ana is a college student in New York. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, she returns alone to Croatia, where she must rediscover the place that was once her home.

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Half the World - Joe Abercrombie
ISBN: 9780804178426
Publication Date: 2015-02-17
"Set in the same world as Half a King, Half a World follows a new protagonist, Thorn, a fifteen-year-old girl in training for the king's army. But even as she's learning the ways of war, she's also growing up... and falling in love for the first time"--Provided by publisher.

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All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
Call Number: FIC DOERR, A.
ISBN: 9781476746586
Publication Date: 2014-05-06
"From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

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Bellweather Rhapsody - Kate Racculia
Call Number: FIC RACCULIA, K.
ISBN: 9780544129917
Publication Date: 2014-05-13
A young music prodigy goes missing from a hotel room that was the site of an infamous murder-suicide fifteen years earlier, renewing trauma for a bridesmaid who witnessed the first crime and rallying an eccentric cast of characters during a snowstorm that traps everyone on the grounds.

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The Martian - Andy Weir
Call Number: S/FIC WEIR, A.
ISBN: 9781101903582
Publication Date: 2015-08-18
"When a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, astronaut Mark Watney finds himself stranded on Mars's surface, completely alone. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength--Mark embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, but will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan
Call Number: FIC SLOAN, R
ISBN: 9780374214913
Publication Date: 2012-10-02
After a layoff during the Great Recession sidelines his tech career, Clay Jannon takes a job at the titular bookstore in San Francisco, and soon realizes that the establishment is a facade for a strange secret.

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The Round House - Louise Erdrich
Call Number: FIC ERDRICH, L
ISBN: 9780062065247
Publication Date: 2012-10-02
When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

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Brewster - Mark Slouka
Call Number: FIC SLOUKA, M.
ISBN: 9780393239751
Publication Date: 2013-08-05
Still reeling from the death of his older brother, a sixteen-year-old track star befriends a street-fighting rebel and together they search for redemption amidst the social changes of 1968.

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The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
ISBN: 9780385534635
Publication Date: 2011-09-13
Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.

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Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
Call Number: S/FIC CLINE, E.
ISBN: 9780307887436
Publication Date: 2011-08-16
Ready Player One takes place in the not-so-distant future--the world has turned into a very bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. People can plug into OASIS to play, go to school, earn money, and even meet other people (or at least they can meet their avatars), and for protagonist Wade Watts it certainly beats passing the time in his grim, poverty-stricken real life. Along with millions of other world-wide citizens, Wade dreams of finding three keys left behind by James Halliday, the now-deceased creator of OASIS and the richest man to have ever lived. The keys are rumored to be hidden inside OASIS, and whoever finds them will inherit Halliday's fortune.

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Big Girl Small - Rachel DeWoskin
Call Number: Fic DeWoskin
ISBN: 0374112576
Publication Date: 2011-05-10
With a singing voice that can shake an auditorium, Judy should be the star of Darcy Academy, the local performing arts high school. So why is a girl this promising hiding out in a seedy motel room on the edge of town? A scathingly funny and moving book about dreams and reality, at once light on its feet and profound.

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Red Rising - Pierce Brown
Call Number: S/FIC BROWN, P.
ISBN: 9780345539786
Publication Date: 2014-01-28
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Then, he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class.


The Edwards Award

The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. It recognizes an author's work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world.

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Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn; David Levithan
Call Number: T/FIC COHN, R.
ISBN: 9780375835339
Publication Date: 2007-08-28
High school student Nick O'Leary, member of a rock band, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg and asks her to be his girlfriend for five minutes in order to avoid his ex-sweetheart.

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November Blues - Sharon M. Draper
Call Number: T/FIC Draper
ISBN: 9781416906988
Publication Date: 2007-10-23
A teenaged boy's death in a hazing accident has lasting effects on his pregnant girlfriend and his guilt-ridden cousin, who gives up a promising music career to play football during his senior year in high school.

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Tears of a Tiger - Sharon M. Draper
Call Number: T/FIC DRAPER, S.
ISBN: 9780689806988
Publication Date: 1996-02-01
The death of high school basketball star Rob Washington in an automobile accident affects the lives of his close friend Andy, who was driving the car, and many others in the school.

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Copper Sun - Sharon M. Draper
Call Number: T/FIC Draper
ISBN: 0689821816
Publication Date: 2006-01-01
Two fifteen-year-old girls--one a slave and the other an indentured servant--escape their Carolina plantation and try to make their way to Fort Moses, Florida, a Spanish colony that gives sanctuary to slaves.

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The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Call Number: T/FIC ZUSAK, M.
ISBN: 9780375842207
Publication Date: 2007-09-11
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

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I Am the Messenger - Markus Zusak
Call Number: T/FIC ZUSAK, M.
ISBN: 9780375836671
Publication Date: 2006-05-09
After capturing a bank robber, nineteen-year-old cab driver Ed Kennedy begins receiving mysterious messages that direct him to addresses where people need help, and he begins getting over his lifelong feeling of worthlessness.

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Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson; L. Anderson
Call Number: T/FIC Anderson
ISBN: 0374371520
Publication Date: 1999-10-22
A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.

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Catalyst - Laurie Halse Anderson
Call Number: T/FIC Anderson
ISBN: 0670035661
Publication Date: 2002-09-30
Eighteen-year-old Kate, who sometimes chafes at being a preacher's daughter, finds herself losing control in her senior year as she faces difficult neighbors, the possibility that she may not be accepted by the college of her choice, and an unexpected death.

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Fever 1793 - Laurie Halse Anderson; Lori Earley (Illustrator)
Call Number: T/FIC Anderson
ISBN: 0689838581
Publication Date: 2000-09-01
In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

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Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
Call Number: T/FIC Card
ISBN: 9780812550702
Publication Date: 1994-07-15
Child-hero Ender Wiggin must fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race if mankind is to survive.

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Ender's Shadow - Orson Scott Card
Call Number: S/FIC CARD, O.
ISBN: 031286860x
Publication Date: 1999-10-01
The human race is at War with the "Buggers," an insect-like alien race. The first battles went badly, and now as Earth prepares to defend itself against total destruction, all focus is on the Battle School training of military geniuses who can fight such a war and win. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin was not the only child in the Battle School; he was just the best of the best. In this book, Card tells the story of another of those precocious generals, the one they called Bean--the one who became Ender's right hand in the final battle against the Buggers.

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I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This - Jacqueline Woodson
Call Number: Y/FIC Woodson
ISBN: 0385320310
Publication Date: 1994-04-01
Marie, the only black girl in the eighth grade willing to befriend her white classmate Lena, discovers that Lena's father is doing horrible things to her in private.

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Lena - Jacqueline Woodson
Call Number: Y/FIC Woodson
ISBN: 0385323085
Publication Date: 1999-04-13
hirteen-year-old Lena and her younger sister Dion mourn the death of their mother as they hitchhike from Ohio to Kentucky while running away from their abusive father.

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