Science fiction allows us to explore different worlds, galaxies, and other wonderfully strange things. In anticipation of the big screen adaptation of the sci fi classic, Dune, here are some of our recent favorite YA science fiction novels!
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
There is a lot to love in the Arc of Scythe series by Neal Shusterman, but its worldbuilding is one of its most spectacular elements. Scythe, the first book in the series, follows Citra and Rowan, two teens who are chosen to become scythe apprentices. In this world, society has conquered death, age, and illness. The world is governed by an AI called “The Thunderhead,” an omnipresent, benevolent being that has ruled Earth for years “peacefully.” Everyone lives for as long as the “scythes” decide. Although they are chosen, Citra and Rowan don’t want to join the order and this book introduces us to the secret hidden world under this seemingly utopian society.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
Described as Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale, this book is heavily influenced by Chinese history and culture. Iron Widow follows eighteen year old Zetian as she sets herself on a path for revenge after the death of her sister. In this world, young men and girls pair up to pilot Chrysalises, giant robots that fight aliens past The Great Wall. However, young women usually don’t survive the experience–dying under the mental strain. Iron Widow features a fantastically complex main character who isn’t afraid to get what she wants–no matter the cost.
They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera
This book will rip out your heart and then some. They Both Die At The End is a soft sci fi novel that takes place in a world where people get notified 24 hours before their death. The catch is that they aren’t informed when within the 24 hours they will die, or how. This story follows the tale of two boys as they both get their notifications and the way both of their paths deeply intermingle in a short period of time.
A Phoenix Must First Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell
This anthology features sixteen distinct stories that center and celebrate Black women and gender non conforming folks. It includes short stories from authors like Elizabeth Acevedo, Rebecca Roanhorse, Ibi Zoboi, and more. There is such a variety of stories, worlds, and writing styles within this anthology, each with their own beautiful strengths. It’s a treat to read from this amazing group of talent!
Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson
A short read, this book packs powerful themes and topics. After Andre Cobb receives a life saving liver transplant, he wakes up one day in 1969. Just as soon as he appears, he is zapped back to the present day where he is informed that the donated liver comes with a special side effect–time travel.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
Full of twists, turns, and non-stop tension, The Ones We’re Meant to Find has been compared to We Were Liars meets Black Mirror. Cee wakes up one morning stranded on an island with no recollection. She only has the memory of her sister, Kasey, being missing. Three years later, she is still on the purgatory-like island, determined to find her way back to her sister. Meanwhile, Kasey is living in an eco-city, a place where people can live with clean air, water, and homes. The two are dedicated to finding each other but they discover many more secrets along the way.
Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Heartbreaking, tender, and otherworldly, this book follows Sia, a young teen from Arizona. Sia is dealing with the aftermath of her mother going missing in the desert after being deported. She finds comfort amongst the sand and night sky of the Sonoran Desert, but things take a distinct sci-fi twist involving government conspiracies, aliens, clones, and more!
We Light Up The Sky by Lilliam Rivera
Lilliam Rivera’s upcoming new release has it all–aliens, teenage friendship, and In-n-Out. Set in a post-COVID19 world, this book follows a group of Latinx teens in Los Angeles as they adjust to life in a post pandemic society. When an out of this world visitor arrives in LA in the shape of a dead cousin, the group bands together to put an end to the problem and save the world at same time.
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
There’s nothing like a good science fiction infused dystopia. In The Sound of Stars, seventeen year old Ellie Baker is a survivor of human/Ilori (an invading species) mishap that killed off ⅓ of the Earth’s population. The arts and any other form of emotional expression, like music, arts, books become illegal. Ellie keeps a secret library. One day one of her books goes missing. The alien M0Rr1S, is in charge of delivering her to execution but grows conflicted as it develops a love for the very things Ellie is supposed to be condemned to death for.
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Read our review of Dune here.