2019-2020 SC Young Adult Book Award

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The South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominees are appropriate for 9-12 grade levels. Visit SCASL's SC Young Adult Book Award page to learn more about past nominees and other materials.

Blue silhouette of a person on top of a blue triangle under yellow stars

A List of Cages: a novel

By Robin Roe

Landing a coveted elective to serve as an aide to the school psychologist, Adam, a student struggling with ADHD, is assigned to track down a troubled freshman he discovers is the foster brother he has not seen in five years.

A girl stands next to a chair.

Allegedly: a novel

By Tiffany D. Jackson

When Mary, a teenager living in a group home, becomes pregnant, authorities take another look at the crime for which Mary was convicted when she was nine years old.

Three men point at something while below Martin Luther King Jr. looks off to the side.

Chasing King's Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Assassin

By James L. Swanson

Offers an inside look into the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his assassin, James Earl Ray, discussing the history of the time and systematically examining the assassination and its aftermath.

A blue and white polka dot bowtie on top of white wood.

Deacon Locke Went to Prom

By Brian Katcher

The love life of an awkward teen takes an unforgettable turn after he brings his grandmother to prom in this funny, offbeat, and smile-inducing contemporary romance that is pitch-perfect for fans of Jesse Andrews and Robyn Schneider.

Side profile of young black boy with police lights overlaid on top of his clothes.

Dear Martin: a novel

By Nic Stone

Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him.

Two photos, on top is a a young man and on bottom is a young woman.

Dreamland Burning: a novel

By Jennifer Latham

When Rowan finds a skeleton on her family's property, investigating the brutal, century-old murder leads to painful discoveries about the past. Alternating chapters tell the story of William, another teen grappling with the racial firestorm leading up to the 1921 Tulsa race riot, providing some clues to the mystery.

A illustration of a girl jumping over an ocean.

Everything All at Once

By Katrina Leno

When her struggles with anxiety worsen in the aftermath of a family death, Lottie is bequeathed a series of letters from her late aunt, a best-selling author, who leaves instructions to help Lottie overcome her fears and explore her own literary voice.

Pink, Red, and Orange leaves blow out

Far From the Tree

By Robin Benway

Feeling incomplete as an adopted child after placing her own baby up for adoption, teen Grace tracks down her biological siblings and finds herself struggling with the dynamics of being a middle child between an embittered older brother and an outspoken younger sister.

A girl holds a photograph of a woman while standing in front of a young woman standing in front of a walk.


By Megan E. Bryant

Discovering a series of antique paintings containing hidden glowing images, a young thrift-store aficionado investigates their origins and discovers the haunting true story of a group of young women artists, the Radium Girls, who used dangerous radioactive paint to create the world's first glow-in-the-dark products.

A girl in the blue greenish water.


By Gillian French

Darcy, who has a reputation and is used to rumors swirling around her, wrestles with what happened the same night her friend disappeared the previous summer and struggles with the weight of the dark secret she and her cousin share.

A smiling teenage girl wearing a flower patterned skirt with pink dot drawn in.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

By Maurene Goo

A disaster in romance, high school senior Desi Lee decides to tackle her flirting failures by watching Korean television dramas, where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten.

Hazy reflection of a young black man in a elevator with worn buttons.

Long Way Down

By Jason Reynolds

Driven by the secrets and vengeance that mark his street culture, 15-year-old Will contemplates over the course of 60 psychologically suspenseful seconds whether or not he is going to murder the person who killed his brother.

Two teen girls and two teen guys with their faces replaced with notebook paper.

One of Us is Lying

By Karen M. McManus

When one of five students in detention is found dead, his high-profile classmates—including a brainy intellectual, a popular beauty, a drug dealer on probation and an all-star athlete—are investigated and revealed to be the subjects of the victim's latest gossip postings.

A young boy standing in the grass with AK-47.

Soldier Boy

By Kelly Hutton

Follows Ricky from 1987-1991, and Samuel in 2006, as they are abducted to serve as child soldiers in Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. Includes historical notes and information about Friends of Orphans, an organization founded by Ricky Richard Anywar, on whose life the story is partly based.

Yellow, orange, and green chameleon tail between chemical equations.


By Jon McGoran

Sixteen-year-old Jimi Corcoran and Del, her genetically altered best friend, fight for survival in a near-future society that is redefining what it means to be human.

A golden patterned butterfly against a bluish background.

Strange the Dreamer

By Laini Taylor

In the aftermath of a war between gods and men, a hero, a librarian, and a girl must battle the fantastical elements of a mysterious city stripped of its name.

Blue thorns surround four golden animals in the corners and a crescent moon in the top center.

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

By Leigh Bardugo

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

The words in the title should, have, and the N in Known are scribbled out in pink.

Things I Should Have Known: a novel

By Claire LaZebnik

Meet Chloe Mitchell, a popular Los Angeles girl who’s decided that her older sister, Ivy, who’s on the autism spectrum, could use a boyfriend. Chloe already has someone in mind: Ethan Fields, a sweet, movie-obsessed boy from Ivy’s special needs class.

The words war and cross are shaped as a cube in metallic rainbow colors.


By Marie Lu

After hacking into the Warcross Championships' opening game to track illegal betting, bounty hunter Emika Chen is asked by the game's creator to go undercover to investigate a security problem, and she uncovers a sinister plot.