NEW SERIES!! YA Recommendations. I plan to do one of these every month, each time for a different sub-genre of young adult literature, which–in my opinion–is too often thought of as a comprehensive genre in itself. Each list will consist of a selection of some of my favorite novels that I think fit the genre in some way or the other, along with a short description of why they made the list. Let me know down below if you have specific genre requests 🙂
Without further ado, here are my top five favorite pieces of YA science fiction, along with a few honorable mentions:
The Legend trilogy by Marie Lu
This trilogy definitely deserves all of the hype it got in back in 2011, and it remains one of my favorites to this day. It takes place in a futuristic United States (now called the Republic) and follows June Iparis, a military prodigy, and Daniel (Day) Wing, the Republic’s most wanted criminal. Each book is beautifully written, well paced, engaging, and exciting. I think Lu did an amazing job creating a realistic universe, multidimensional characters (that I became way too attached to), and riveting dialogue. Also, I have to bring up the unique aesthetic appeal of the paperbacks–Day’s viewpoints are always written in the color prominent on the cover (gold for Legend, blue for Prodigy, red for Champion).
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The easiest way to describe this quintet is that it’s a retelling of your favorite Disney princess tales, but with a sci-fi twist. Cinder is–you guessed it–Cinderella, except she’s a cyborg mechanic in New Beijing. Scarlet is Little Red, who becomes entangled with Wolf, one of the Lunar Queen’s minions. Cress (my personal favorite) is a hacker trapped in a satellite by the Lunar Queen (the big bad antagonist, if you hadn’t guessed), and Winter is a futuristic Snow White, hated by the Lunar Queen for her unparalleled beauty (she’s also slightly crazy because of not using her glamour, or lunar gift). Each book adds an essential member to the ultimate futuristic dream-team of fighters whose mission is to take down the Lunar Queen, and as cheesy as that sounds, each book was an action-packed, romantic, and surprising journey that I would most definitely recommend to anyone (not to mention, each one featured a super dreamy love interest ;)).
The Last Survivors Series by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Thinking about reading this series still gives me chills, even though I read the first book way back in middle school. Basically, a meteor knocks the moon closer to earth, which has disastrous consequences for life on the planet (obviously). It was an exploration of how humanity deals with crises, and although scary, definitely worth exploring and thinking about. It was told through the protagonist Miranda’s journal entries, and felt frighteningly realistic and gripping, as survival stories often are. It’s definitely very different from the mainstream YA dystopian/sci-fi, and I would recommend this to anyone looking for something more pure sci-fi with The 100–esque vibes. (Fair warning, it does get pretty dark and graphic as the series progresses).
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This is a book I’m sure most of you have heard of–it got a lot of buzz last year as a result of its movie (directed by Steven Speilberg) coming out, and although I have few positive things to say about the movie, I absolutely LOVED the book. As someone who knows next to nothing about video game culture, I definitely missed a lot of the references this book was peppered with, but the story was so enthralling I couldn’t put the book down. It takes place in 2045, where people use a VR world called the OASIS to escape, and follows protagonist Wade Watts as he partakes in a competition set by the creator of the game. I didn’t think I would enjoy this book as much as I did, but I’m so glad I took a chance with it. It’s a sparkling gem in the YA science fiction genre, and I’d recommend it to anyone.
The Warcross series by Marie Lu
I’d normally hesitate before putting two series by the same author in my top 5, but this book was so good that I feel like I have to. I recently read the first book in this series, and you can find a full spoiler free review here, but I’d recommend this to anyone who’s looking for something Ready Player One-esque, but with way less obscure pop culture references, and with more of a classic YA dystopian feel. (Don’t worry, the plot completely diverges from Ready Player One; it just has a similar premise). The book follows Emika Chen, a teenager who hacks into Warcross, the world’s most popular VR game, while the world is watching. Her life gets crazy from there, and although I wasn’t a super huge fan of the romance in the story, everything else, from the plot to the writing style, was wonderful.
- They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera (new YA sci-fi [lite], very unique premise, romance)
- The Testing series by Joelle Charbonneau (classic YA dystopia, mix of Legend and The Hunger Games?)
- Pawn by Aimee Carter (also classic YA dystopia, pretty unique, some Selection vibes)
- Revived by Cat Patrick (YA sci-fi lite, lots of romance, pretty sad)
Let me know down below if you’ve read any of these books or have any other YA science fiction books you’d like to recommend; I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks so much for reading!