The Gateway Readers Award honors a young adult book selected by Missouri high school students. Even though this award is administered by the Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL), it is the responsibility of Missouri teens to vote on the actual winner. Each year’s finalists are announced in December and voting takes place over a year later in March.
This year’s Gateway Award Nominees are predominantly from the contemporary fiction and science fiction genres. Among the finalists are popular books such as “Ship Breaker” and “Matched,” as well as some new favorites like “Sea” by Heidi Kling. How many have you read? Which are your favorites?
“A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron
A puppy named Toby realizes he can be reincarnated when he’s born again as a golden retriever. While adapting to a new name and breed in each new life, he keeps seeking his life’s purpose.
“Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour” by Morgan Matson
Amy has strict instructions from her mother to follow a direct route from California to Connecticut when she drives the family’s car to their new home. However, Amy and her friend Roger, who’s traveling with her, soon learn that detours are more fun.
“Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver
After dying in a car crash, popular high school senior Samantha unexpectedly gets seven chances to relive her last day on Earth, giving her plenty of opportunities to learn that her choices, no matter how small or insignificant, have consequences.
“Blank Confession” by Pete Hautman
Sixteen-year-old Shayne is new in town. He befriends Mikey who pulls him into a confrontation with a drug-dealing bully. When Shayne calmly confesses to murder at the police station, Detective Rawls must uncover what really happened.
“Chasing Brooklyn” by Lisa Schroeder
Brooklyn and Nico suffer the loss of Lucca, who was Nico’s brother and Brooklyn’s boyfriend, and, later, the death of their friend Gabe. When Lucca and Gabe haunt their dreams, they must work together to help their friends rest in peace. Check out the teen book review for this title.
“Five Flavors of Dumb” by Antony John
Piper, a high school senior who is deaf, learns that her family has spent nearly all of her college fund. Determined to replenish it, she accepts an offer to manage a student rock band.
“Matched” by Ally Condie
Cassia lives a perfect life thanks to The Society, which controls every aspect of her existence. Then a supposed computer glitch makes it unclear who her mate should be, and she begins to question if The Society always knows what’s best.
“Revolution” by Jennifer Donnelly
After her brother’s death, gifted musician Andi struggles to finish high school. She must also deal with her mother’s nervous breakdown and her father’s constant absence. While working on her senior thesis in Paris, she discovers the lost diary of a woman named Alexandrine, the nanny of the last dauphin of France.
“Rot and Ruin” by Jonathan Maberry
Benny has never known a world without zombies, but that doesn’t mean that he’s excited about apprenticing with his half-brother, Tom, as a zombie hunter. Outside their survivor community, the open world (or the “Rot and Ruin”) is full of zombies, as well as other things that are even more dangerous. If you enjoy tales of the undead, be sure to register for our Zombie Book Giveaway!
“Rules of Attraction” by Simone Elkeles
After his involvement in a dangerous Mexican gang, Carlos is sent by his mother to live with his brother in Colorado, where he can start over. He’s resentful of his mother’s decision until he meets a professor’s daughter named Kiara.
“Sea” by Heidi Kling
Sienna has been afraid of flying ever since her mother’s death, but that doesn’t stop her father from giving her plane tickets when she turns 15. While on a humanitarian trip in Indonesia with her father, she meets Deni, a 17-year-old boy.
“Ship Breaker” by Paolo Bacigalupi
In a post-apocalyptic world, a 17-year-old boy named Nailer scavenges from wrecked ships on the Gulf Coast. When he discovers a rich survivor alive in one ship, he faces a tough decision: should he help her and trust her to provide the promised reward or kill her and benefit from her death?
“Sorta Like a Rock Star” by Matthew Quick
Despite being homeless and living in the back of a school bus driven by her alcoholic mother, Amber manages to stay sunny and upbeat. She constantly works to help others until tragedy strikes and she needs their help in return.
“Split” by Swati Avasthi
After his abusive father kicks him out for protecting his mother, 16-year-old Jace goes to Albuquerque to live with his estranged brother. Although Jace has escaped an abusive home environment, he worries about turning into his father.
“The Sky Is Everywhere” by Jandy Nelson
High schooler Lennie is happy to live in her older sister’s shadow, but when Bailey dies unexpectedly, Lennie must cope with grief, unexpected feelings for her late sister’s fiancé and her attraction to a talented musician from France.