Iowa Teen Award 2019-2020 Nominees

This is a list of the 2019-2020 Iowa Teen Award nominees. The nominees are selected by the Iowa Association of School Librarians. In March 2020, students in grades 6-9 may vote for their favorite book from the list. For more information about voting, please visit this site:

Backfield boys

John Feinstein

Young Adult

When best friends Tom and Jason leave New York City for an elite, sports-focused boarding school in Virginia to play football, they find some coaches and teammates to be steeped in racism.

Lily and Dunkin

Donna Gephart

jFICTION Gephart Donna
Young Adult

"Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you're in the eighth-grade. Norbert Dorfman, nicknamed Dunkin Dorfman, is bipolar and has just moved from the New Jersey town he's called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change"--


Noelle Stevenson

COMIC Lumberjanes
Graphic Novels, Young Adult

"Five best friends spending the summer at Lumberjane scout camp...defeating yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons...what's not to love?! Friendship to the max! Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together...and they're not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!"--publisher.

One of us is lying

Karen M. McManus

Young Adult

"When the creator of a high school gossip app mysteriously dies in front of four high-profile students all four become suspects. It's up to them to solve the case"--


Alan Gratz

jFICTION Gratz Alan
Young Adult

Although separated by continents and decades, Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 whose homeland is torn apart by violence and destruction, embark on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together.

Saving Red

Sonya Sones

Young Adult

A novel in verse follows the experiences of Molly, who is forced to confront painful realities in her own life while struggling to help a spirited but mentally ill homeless girl during the holiday season.

Serafina and the black cloak

Robert Beatty

jFICTION Beatty Robert
Young Adult

In 1899, a twelve-year-old rat catcher on North Carolina's Biltmore estate teams up with the estate owner's young nephew to battle a great evil and, in the process, unlocks the puzzle of her past.

The seventh most important thing

Shelley Pearsall

jFICTION Pearsall Shelley
Young Adult

"In 1963, thirteen-year-old Arthur is sentenced to community service helping the neighborhood Junk Man after he throws a brick at the old man's head in a moment of rage, but the junk he collects might be more important than he suspects. Inspired by the work of American folk artist James Hampton"--

The shadow cipher

Laura Ruby

jFICTION Ruby Laura
Young Adult

In an alternate history of New York, three kids try to solve a modern-world puzzle and complete a treasure hunt laid into the streets and buildings of the city.


Kwame Alexander

Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Blade endeavors to resolve painful issues from his past and navigate the challenges of his former rockstar father's addictions, scathing tabloid rumors, and a protected secret that threatens his own identity.

Some kind of happiness

Claire Legrand

jFICTION Legrand Claire
Young Adult

Finley Hart is sent to her grandparents' house for the summer, but her anxiety and overwhelmingly sad days continue until she escapes into her writings, which soon turn mysteriously real and she realizes she must save this magical world in order to save herself.

The thing about jellyfish

Ali Benjamin

jFICTION Benjamin Ali
Young Adult

Twelve-year-old Suzy Swanson wades through her intense grief over the loss of her best friend by investigating the rare jellyfish she is convinced was responsible for her friend's death.


Robert Hoge

jBIOGRAPHY Hoge, Robert

"Robert Hoge was born with a tumor the size of a tennis ball in the middle of his face and short, twisted legs, but he refused to let what made him different stand in the way of leading a happy, successful life. This is the true story of how he embraced his circumstances and never let his "ugly" stop him from focusing on what truly mattered."--