Whew! The Throwdown is so much fun and the culmination of a year’s worth of reading. Fourteen members of the Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers read and request titles to consider during the year and then enlist at least 7 other members of the committee to read the book as well. We rate the titles from 1-5 and then sit in a room for five hours and cull a list of 80+ titles down to just 20. Then it is up to the teens of Georgia to vote on the best of the year, with two honor books as runner-ups.

Every librarian (school and public) has their own criteria for what constitutes a great book for teens. We all bring our unique lens to the work and we all have our own unique populations in mind and for me I search for books that have diverse voices, unique plot lines/perspectives and are important ( do they open the minds of teens to the world around them or themselves). I’ve given horrible ratings to books with beautiful prose, but are triggering without regard for the teens reading the prose. I’ve also given high ratings to books that are simple in plot, but have that untangible “it” that makes the reader feel better about life in the end.

Sooo, without further ado, the list. I will also say, that my favorite of the year is a smaller print title that might be harder to find, but is definitely worth it, Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall.

The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel, Entangled: Teen (2014)
Con Academy by Joe Schreiber, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2015)
Dime by E.R. Frank, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2015)
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, Razorbill (2015)
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone, Disney-Hyperion (2015)
How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon, Henry Holt (2014)
I am Princess X by Cherie Priest, Scholastic Press (2015)
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, Henry Holt (2015)
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio, Balzer + Bray (2015)
The Novice by Taran Matharu, Feiwel and Friends (2015)
Paperweight by Meg Haston, HarperTeen (2015)
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes, Dial/Penguin (2015)
The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu, Running Press Kids (2014)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Balzer + Bray (2015)
Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall, Skyscape (2015)
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, Putnam (2015)
We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen, Wendy Lamb Books (2015)
When by Victoria Laurie, Disney-Hyperion (2015)
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed, Nancy Paulsen Books (2015)
X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz & Kekla Magoon, Candlewick (2015)

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