Young Adult Science Fiction: A Reading Guide

In my last post I offered my recommendations of young adult fantasy novels; now I’d like to share some YA science fiction recs. I think you’ll find there’s something that’ll appeal to just about everyone!

If you like psychological SF, like Passage and Flowers for Algernon, try:

House of Stairs and Singularity by William Sleator – The first perfectly demonstrates the power of behavioral conditioning, while the second bends space and time and the relationship between two brothers.

A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence – Alaric and Naia live in the same house, with (mostly) the same family, but they’ve never met—until a crack between their parallel worlds brings them together.

Candor by Pam Bachorz – A “perfect” community where everyone is kept in line with subliminal messages, except for the founder’s son, who finds himself having to decide just how much he’ll sacrifice for the new girl in town.

If you like de-evolution of society scenarios, like The Road and Blindness, try:

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer – A girl and her family struggle to survive the environmental catastrophe that follows a meteor changing the moon’s orbit; a worldwide horror made personal.

Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien – A young woman left alone in her small town after a nuclear disaster encounters the first survivor she’s met in years, and finds out sometimes it’s better to be on your own.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau – After ravaging the Earth, society has retreated into underground cities, but now supplies are running out and it’s up to two teens to convince everyone to return to the surface.

If you like stories of genetics and cybernetics, like The Island of Doctor Moreau and Neuromancer, try:

Eva by Peter Dickinson – A young woman is kept alive after a car accident by having her consciousness transfered into a chimpanzee, but she soon discovers she’s not alone in this new body.

Feed by M.T. Anderson – In a society where everyone is plugged into the internet directly through their brains, a young man meets a girl who challenges the system, and starts to question everything he’s taken for granted.

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer – A boy cloned from the DNA of a drug lord discovers the true reason for his existence and must navigate a world of politics and prejudice to save himself.

If you like military SF, like the Vorkosigan Saga books or Starship Troopers, try:

Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden – An untrained group of teens must fight to survive and save their community when they return from a remote camping trip to find an invading army has taken over their country.

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve – In this future, wars are fought not by people but by cities: enormous, traveling constructions that clash and scavenge off each other’s remains.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff – A girl’s idyllic holiday in England turns into unending horror when war crosses the country’s borders and the enemy is everywhere.

And now I sign off as a guest blogger. Many thanks to all who’ve shared their thoughts and commented on my posts! I’ve had a wonderful time.


Megan Crewe is a Canadian young adult author whose first novel, Give Up the Ghost, was recently published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers.

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