Nov 19 2009 3:22pm

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.

S.S. White
1. S.S. White
I'm so sorry you were only a guest blogger! I loved your posts. Hope to see you back here in the future.
S.S. White
2. skinnyiain
I'm not sure what category it would be in, but Patrick Ness's The Knife of Never Letting Go should be on any list of the best YA sf - or best recent sf for any age group, for that matter.
Lannis .
3. Lannis
I'm not a huge SF reader, it's more non-genre fiction and fantasy on my shelves... though this list looks interesting (including the adult titles listed), and a good place to start to get into more typical science fiction. I'll be adding some new titles to my "To Read" list! Thanks! :)
j p
4. sps49
I hated Flowers for Algernon. It is very well written, but it made me feel sad for days. And now, remembering.

I am apparently not the target audience for the movie Precious, either.

Some of the others sound interesting; thanks!
S.S. White
When I finished The House of the Scorpion, I immediately wished for a sequel. I found that the world that was created was so complex and deep that I'm sure there are more stories there.
Patrick Samphire
7. PatrickSamphire
I'd also recommend Ancient Appetites by Irish writer Oisin McGann. Steampunk and genetically engineered creatures in an alternative Victorian Ireland. Imaginative and exciting.
Andy Leighton
8. andyl
I would like to second the Patrick Ness recommendation. The second volume of that series, The Ask And The Answer, is even better.

Stephen Baxter's The H-Bomb Girl is a good multiple realities book set in the early 1960s in Liverpool.

Gwyneth Jones (writing as Ann Halam) also has some good stuff out for the YA market. Siberia and Taylor Five are the standouts.
S.S. White
9. KHeller
Don't forget the wonderful (and popular, but no less awesome for it) dystopian action novel The Hunger Games!
S.S. White
10. Kaz Mahoney
Everyone should read SINGING THE DOGSTAR BLUES by Alison Goodman. I read this years ago when it first came out, and it's such a great science fiction tale.

Time travel, human/alien friendships and a harmonica-playing heroine. Love it! :)
Heather Tomlinson
11. HeatherTomlinson
Another vote for SINGING THE DOGSTAR BLUES. I'd add Scott Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN and Kenneth Oppel's AIRBORN series to the list, too. Great reading!
S.S. White
13. travesti
thnk you for sharing

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