The Alex Awards
By Jillian Bietz – Each year, YALSA (Young Adult Library Service Association) puts out various booklists and presents awards to the best selection of YA books.
One of the YALSA awards includes the Alex awards. According to,www.ala.org, “The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.”
These are just a few of the ten Alex awards for 2011.
Liz Murray’s life story as a homeless girl who made it to Harvard captivated many. As a motivational speaker, she shared her saga that even got made into a movie. However, in Breaking Night, Liz’s gritty reality is portrayed. She tells of life as a child, with drug-addicted parents who used money to get drugs while leaving her and her older sister Lisa alone and hungry. At times the girls were so desperate they had to rely on the kindness of others, eat chapstick and steal. Things continued to get worse. But Liz had a goal to graduate high school and then to go to Harvard. While we know the outcome of Liz’s ordeal, her journey is simply shocking.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel by Aimee Bender
Rose Edelstein had a special trait. On her ninth birthday, while taking a bite of the chocolate frosted lemon cake her mother has baked, she discovers along with the sweetness filling her mouth she can taste her mother’s secret feelings of despair and loneliness. From then on, Rose can taste the emotions of the person or people who made her food. But soon, her ability becomes a burden. Rose can taste the turmoil in her family- her sad mother, her aloof father, her secretive, lonely brother. Rose learns that maybe she is not the only one with a secret knowledge of too much.
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
After her father dies, the studious Ah-Kim and her mother move to Brooklyn to live with Aunt Paula. As soon as she gets to America, Ah-Kim becomes Kimberly. She and her mother work tirelessly at Aunt Paula’s sweatshop for very little pay and live in squalor. But at school Kimberly shines. She gets a scholarship to attend a fancy private high school. However, Kimberly struggles with the fact that her peers are wealthy while she can barely afford food or clothes. This is a coming-of-age tale that entwines Kim’s struggles as an immigrant, a daughter and an American teenager.
If you are looking for a great book to read you can’t go wrong with a winner!
Jillian Bietz – Teens. Jillian Bietz is a journalism student. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, creative writing, acting and cooking.