The Gateway Readers Award honors a young adult novel 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 feature post-apocalyptic plotlines, contemporary teen struggles and even a little bit of historical fiction. While I haven’t read the entire list yet (that’s what summer is for!), I wholeheartedly recommend “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor. Truly, it was one of the best books for older teens I have ever read. I’m also a big fan of Jennifer’s Brown’s “Bitter End” and “Divergent” by Veronica Roth. How many have you read? Which are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!
“Ashes” by Ilsa J. Bick
After an electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky killing billions, Alex must say goodbye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Desperate to assess the aftermath, she meets up with Tom, a young soldier, and Ellie, a girl who is also left orphaned by the EMP. For this improvised family, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.
“Anna Dressed in Blood” by Kendare Blake
For three years, Cas Lowood has carried on his father’s work of dispatching the murderous dead, traveling with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. However, everything changes when he meets Anna, a girl unlike any ghost he has faced before.
“Bitter End” by Jennifer Brown
When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, she can’t believe she’s finally found her soul mate. At first, she is very happy in her relationship with him. However, as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole’s small put-downs, pinches or increasingly violent threats.
“Shelter” by Harlan Coben
After tragic events tear Mickey Bolitar away from his parents, he is forced to live with his estranged Uncle Myron and switch high schools, where he finds both friends and enemies. When his new new girlfriend, Ashley, vanishes, he follows her trail into a seedy underworld that reveals she is not what she seems to be.
“I’ll Be There” by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Raised by an unstable father, Sam Border has long been the voice of his silent younger brother, Riddle. The two are steadied when they are welcomed by the family of Sam’s new girlfriend, Emily. When tragedy strikes, Sam and Riddle are left fighting for survival in the desolate wilderness, wondering if they’ll ever find a place where they can belong.
“Everybody Sees the Ants” by A.S. King
Overburdened by his parents’ bickering and a bully’s attacks, Lucky Linderman begins dreaming of being with his grandfather, who went missing during the Vietnam War. During a visit to his aunt and uncle’s house in Arizona, he gains a new perspective with the help of their beautiful neighbor, Ginny.
“Ashfall” by Mike Mullin
For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to search for his family and develop the skills needed to survive this epic disaster.
“Shine” by Lauren Myracle
When her best friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, Cat sets out to discover the culprits in her small North Carolina town.
“Delirium” by Lauren Oliver
Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life. However, crisis strikes when she fears she might be in love just a few months shy of her eighteenth birthday.
“Divergent” by Veronica Roth
In a future Chicago, Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomoly who does not fit into any one group.
“Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick” by Joe Schreiber
Perry’s parents insist that he take Gobi, their quiet, Lithuanian exchange student, to senior prom. After an incident at the dance, he learns that Gobi is actually a trained assassin who needs him as a henchman, behind the wheel of his father’s precious Jaguar, on a mission in Manhattan.
“Between Shades of Gray” by Ruta Sepetys
In 1941, Lina, her mother and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life. Vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers, she buries her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on a true story.
“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor
Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters–the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.
“The Probability of Miracles” by Wendy Wunder
Dry, sarcastic Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine, a place known for the miraculous events that occur there.
“All These Things I’ve Done” by Gabrielle Zevin
In a future where chocolate and caffeine are contraband, teenage cellphone use is illegal, and water and paper are carefully rationed, Anya Balanchine finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight as heir apparent to an important New York City crime family.