X: A Novel

Longlist, National Book Awards 2015 for Young People's Literature

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz, with Kekla Magoon, book cover, 2015.
ISBN 9780763669676
Candlewick Press
Ilyasah Shabazz, 2015.
Ilyasah Shabazz

More about this author >

Kekla Magoon

Kekla Magoon is the author of the young adult novel The Rock and the River, which won the John Steptoe New Talent Award and was the first mainstream novel for young people to feature the Black Panther Party. She is the Margaret A. Edwards Award–winning author of more than a dozen books for young readers. (Photo credit: Kekla Magoon) More about this author >

Award Years

Award Status

Award Categories

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s a pack of lies–after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion–and that he can’t run forever. X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.