The Iowa Teen Award books are written with younger YA readers in mind. On the list for 2020 is Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott, with screen play authors Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis. This is a book about survival and living. Stella has a lung disease and believes that if she keeps her distance from everyone, she will stay healthy. Will also has a lung disease. But, he wants more than just survival, he wants to live. So, when their paths cross, Stella has to decide if she wants to take a chance and get close to Will. The story highlights the pain and choices that those with a crippling illness deal with every day.
On the High School Choice list is On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. The High School Choice Award list includes books that are geared more to older YA readers. This is the story of a young girl who wants to make a name for herself through rap music. It appears that her life is falling apart. Her dad died, her mom lost her job, the fridge is empty, and they might get evicted. With so many things to be angry about, Bri pours all of that emotion into her rapping. Who knew it would become a viral sensation and it would set a course for Bri that maybe isn't who she really is. This is a story about how circumstances can define the person; and sometimes it's hard to win against circumstances.