2020-2021 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.

Thorny branches in the night sky.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

By Brigid Kemmerer

Eighteen for the three hundred twenty-seventh time, Prince Rhen despairs of breaking the curse that turns him into a beast at the end of each day until feisty Harper enters his life. 

Title and author's name in muted yellow, pink, teal, blue, and orange colors.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

By Tahereh Mafi

A year after 9/11, Muslim teenager Shirin has completely withdrawn from social life until she meets Ocean James in her biology class and is tempted to actually let her guard down.

A silhouette of a boy's side profile intertwined with orange patterns.

After the Shot Drops

By Randy Ribay

Told from alternating perspectives, Bunny takes a basketball scholarship to an elite private school to help his family, leaving behind Nasir, his best friend, in their tough Philadelphia neighborhood.

A group of young basketball players holds up an older man in a suit. The player to the left is holding an orange basketball.

Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City

By Phillip Hoose

Traces the inspirational story of the Crispus Attucks High School Tigers basketball team and how they broke the color barrier in segregated 1950s Indiana to become state champions.

Various objects and shapes in shades of purple, green, blue, and black.


By Erin Bowman

Responding to a distress call on the distant planet of Achlys, Thea Sadik and her search-and-rescue crew are confronted by a zombie-like outbreak that forces them to uncover a monstrous enemy.

A young man with a white shirt and red shorts holds an orange basketball

Here to Stay

By Sara Farizan

When a cyberbully sends the entire high school a picture of basketball hero Bijan Majidi, photo-shopped to look like a terrorist, the school administration promises to find and punish the culprit, but Bijan just wants to pretend the incident never happened and move on.

A burnt piece of toast with Heretics Anonymous and a opened book carved into the bread

Heretics Anonymous

By Katie Henry

When nonbeliever Michael transfers to a Catholic school in eleventh grade, he quickly connects with a secret support group intent on exposing the school's hypocrisies one stunt at a time.

A teenage boy wearing a green and yellow plaid shirt and brown pants has his head tilted down with eyes closed.

Hey, Kiddo

By Jarrett J. Krosoczka

A powerful graphic memoir by the award-winning author of Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute traces the author's unconventional coming of age with a drug-addict mother, an absent father, and two lovingly opinionated grandparents

A young woman holds up a sign.

I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor's Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope

By Chessy Prout

The memoir of a young survivor of a sexual assault when she was a freshman in a prestigious boarding school shares her story of survival, advocacy, and hope.

A young woman holds an ax over her shoulder.

Sky in the Deep

By Adrienne Young

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan, but when faced with her brother's betrayal, and driven by a growing love for her brother's friend Fiske, she attempts to unite the two clans.

A young woman with dark brown hair and purple eyes stares intently as purple sparks streak through the wooded sky.


By Brandon Sanderson

When a long-term attack against her world by the alien Krell escalates, Spensa's dream of becoming a pilot may come true, despite her deceased father being labeled a deserter.

A smiling teen girl hangs out in a drive through window.

Stay Sweet

By Siobhan Vivian

Seventeen-year-old Amelia has looked forward to her last summer before college working at the Meade Creamery, but when the owner of the local landmark passes away her nephew has big changes in mind.

Two robotic hands gently hold a beautiful girl's face.

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful

By Arwen Elys Dayton

"Six interconnected stories that ask how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimens, and how hard that will push the definition of human".

An illustrated golden gate, castle, woods, and tree branches intertwine with white birds, knives, city buildings, and combs.

The Hazel Wood

By Melissa Albert

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away—by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set.

Hands signing friend.

The Silence Between Us

By Alison Gervais

Deaf teen Maya Harris must navigate a new life--and love--in this own-voices novel from award-winning author Alison Gervais. When Maya is forced to attended a hearing school, she sets out to prove that her lack of hearing won’t stop her from chasing her dreams.

Side profile of a young woman.

The Waning Age

By S.E. Grove

A tale set in an alternate-world San Francisco where people gradually lose their emotions as they become adults finds a highly-skilled fighter teen confronting the world's most powerful company when she retains a fierce love for her little brother.

A bookbag against lockers.

Time Bomb

By Joelle Charbonneau

"Six students are trapped in their school after a bomb goes off, and must fight to survive while discovering who among them is the bomber".

Dark leaves on a multiple vines.

Truly Devious

By Maureen Johnson

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth-century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Pieces of yellow paper showing the various stages of becoming a paper airplane.

We'll Fly Away

By Bryan Bliss

Best friends Toby and Luke are bound together by the goal of leaving their hometown and family problems behind, but a series of choices each makes during their senior year threatens their bright future plans.

Steps leading up to a windowed door.

What You Hide

By Natalie D. Richards

Spencer volunteers at the library. Sure, it's community service, but he likes his work. Especially if it means getting to see Mallory. Mallory spends a lot of time keeping her head down. When you're sixteen and homeless, nothing matters more than being anonymous. But Spencer's charm makes her want to be noticed. But after a tragic death at the library, ghostly voices and messages begin to appear. Spencer and Mallory know a homeless teenager makes an easy target, and their safe haven may not be as safe as they thought.