I’ve noticed recently as I’ve perused my shelves that the YA space is surprisingly light on science-fiction. YA skews heavily in favor of magic and dragons and medieval settings (all of which I love) but space ships and robots are few and far between! So today, I’m rounding up some of my favorite YA sci-fi tales. Do you have other favorites? Let me know!
Covers link to Goodreads if you want to add them to your own TBR!
A SPARK OF WHITE FIRE/ A HOUSE OF RAGE AND SORROW by Sangu Mandanna
Thus far, the first two books in this Indian-inspired trilogy have been released, and I’d actually recommend treating them like one book. These fairly short sci-fi adventures manage to pack an emotional punch, while at the same time blending both sci-fi and fantasy into one package. See, this takes place in the far, far future of humanity, when we’ve spread out among planets and mastered space flight – and yet the gods still delight in interfering in our lives. It’s the kind of book series where you’ll find AI and curses spoken on in the same breath.
THE DIABOLIC/THE EMPRESS by S.J. Kincaid
I reread THE DIABOLIC this year and then immediately devoured the sequel. It’s a tale of courtly intrigue as a genetically engineered bodyguard poses as her charge at the galactic imperial court. This is a series that continually twists and turns, and features a female protagonist who will go to literally any lengths to protect those who she loves.
THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer
I love, love, LOVE this series, which retells classic fairy tales in a futuristic Earth settings full of androids and space ships and a race of people who live on the moon. The first book, CINDER, is a little on the nose with the way it translates the Cinderella mythology, but as the books go on, the author becomes increasingly clever with how she deploys key elements from Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, and Snow White. It’s an epic quadrilogy that grows in scope with every book and well worth a read!
SKYWARD by Brandon Sanderson
Let’s face it, I was on board as soon as someone said Sanderson, and this book did not disappoint. While Sanderson is mostly known for his adult fantasy, he proved more than up to the task of writing a sci-fi adventure. Spensa is going to be become a space fighter pilot, no matter how hard the rest of the military tries to drive her away due to her family’s legacy of cowardice. There’s intense sky battles and an AI trapped in a crashed space ship, and more, and I cannot WAIT for the sequel to be released at the end of the month.
SCYTHE/THUNDERHEAD by Neal Schusterman
And now for a sci-fi tale set a little closer to home, on a future Earth where death is a thing of the past, aside from a small group known as Scythes who are tasked with killing a set number of random people every year, to ensure some measure of population balance. Although the first book focuses mainly on internal struggles within the Scythes, the second book increasingly begins to overlap with a storyline involving Thunderhead, the AI that manages the world behind the scenes (think of him as the ultimate evolution of Google and Alexa), and who is expressly forbidden to interfere with the Scythes. And let me tell you, after those two storylines intersect, the world will never be the same.
YA Sci-Fi I Still Need to Read
And of course, there’s always more things I need to read! Here are some of the YA sci-fi books still on my TBR – some of which I hope to read this month!
AURORA RISING by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I’ve had a copy of this for months, but haven’t read it yet! Star graduating cadet Tyler Jones is excited to receive his own squad to command, but is markedly less enthused when he realizes he’s been given all the cadets nobody else wanted. And after rescuing a girl from two centuries of cryo-sleep, he’s going to have to use this squad to stop a war from breaking out. The tag line for this book is “They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.” and if a motley crew of misfits isn’t completely up my alley, I don’t know what is.
WAR GIRLS by Tochi Onyebuchi
In a future Nigera, war tears the nation apart while a band of young rebels struggle to survive, and two separated sisters fight to get back to one another. I read an excerpt earlier this year, and it’s pretty brutal, with one lead protagonist already dealing with PTSD and phantom limb syndrome, her arm having been replaced with a bionic one after a battle injury. This is one that I’m hoping to read in the next few weeks, stand by for more thoughts!
THE PIONEER by Bridget Tyler
Jo is part of a group newly arrived on Tau Ceti E, where she will help establish humanity’s first base on the planet. It’s something she’s been training her whole life for, but a devastating accident before they landed has sucked some of the joy of exploration out of Jo’s life. And just when she’s starting to get back on track, she uncovers a secret that changes everything she knows about the expedition and the planet. This sounds like a fun sci-fi exploration mystery and I’d love to check it out!
THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE UNIVERSE by Lauren James
This is a standalone adventure about a girl who ends up being the only person left alive on a ship heading to a new planet to establish a colony. One day, she starts getting emails from another ship, supposedly from a boy named J. They begin to develop a correspondence, and while the girl slowly starts to fall in love, she can’t help but wonder if there might be something more sinister afoot.
And there you have it, a whole mess of YA sci-fi for your reading pleasure!