Feature Image Credit: @naturemamareads
From dystopian planets to aliens to deadly space colonies, science fiction books have a great way of giving you the adventure you never knew you needed, or you so desperately wanted. And when you combine that with the young adult genre, it truly feels like the sky is the limit. Here are ten must-read YA sci-fi books that are sure to have you on read, love and repeat.
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
When an alien boy that loves pop music meets a demi Black human girl who loves books, the rest is history. Or more like, the rest is a post-alien dystopian invasion that took over New York, leaving humans at risk. One-third of the population died during the attack from the Ilori and now any books, art, or creatively expressed ideas are illegal across the planet. Janelle, or Ellie, a teen who loves books, ignores this rule and creates a secret library for herself. But young Morris, a Ilori commander, finds her illegal library and is bound to turn her over to be executed. Yet he surprises Ellie by keeping her secret and sharing one of his own.
Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
After Sia Martinez’s mother gets deported from the U.S. to Mexico and goes missing, Sia is sure her mom is dead. The people in her town constantly remind her and her dad of the terrible incident. Attending school with the son of the officer who deported her mom doesn’t help either. But soon, a new boy, Noah, enters town, giving Sia hope and an opportunity at love. Only it turns out he has secrets of his own, some that even have to do with her mother’s death. To make matters more intriguing, a blue-lit spacecraft falls from the sky in front of her car, revealing her mother, who doesn’t look dead but very much alive.
Rebel Sister by Tochi Onyebuchi
Five years. That’s how long it’s been since the end of the Biafran War. Ify’s life in the Space Colonies, in 2181, is pretty much set. As a high-ranking medical officer, she has more respect than she knows what to do with. Her mission to help young refugee girls rebuild in the Colonies is also a success. However, Ify’s new life and her past start to mysteriously intertwine when a strange virus sweeps through the children of her refugee. When she goes back to Nigeria, a home she thought she left behind, she encounters Uzo, a young synth, and Xifeng, an aid worker. As Uzo’s story unfolds, Ify discovers that she has no memory—but her past and who she is could be the very cure to save countless.
Believe Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Reestablishment is gone, once and for all. Juliette Ferrars, Warner, and their friends now live in the aftermath of their shattered dystopian world. The sixth and a half book in the Shatter Me series reveals a side of their journey many did not expect. Juliette’s yes to Warner’s proposal has everyone in a blissful state. But, as the two try to prepare a wedding with the limited resources around them, the world’s chaos could distract them and ruin their happily ever after. Will Warner finally make the girl of his dreams his wife?
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
When Ambrose gets a distress call to save his sister from her mission to colonize Saturn’s moon, Titan, something goes terribly wrong. And when he wakes from a coma on a sentient ship, the Coordinated Endeavor, he has no memory of what happened or how to get to his sister. The AI ship tells him he’s not alone, but the brooding and manly Kodak refuses to share information or let Ambrose near his side of the ship. Yet the ship has its own dark secrets that soon push the two astronauts together in a bond that neither expected.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
Wu Zetian, an 18-year-old concubine pilot who battles mecha aliens, wants to avenge her older sister’s death. And revenge she gets. Since many young girls never return home due to the deadly mental strain, the people of Huaxia are surprised when Zetian kills the pilot responsible using the psychic link they share. Afterward, she’s given the name Iron Widow due to her ability to sacrifice boys and take down the misogynistic ways around her. With the first taste of power comes more, and soon Zetian will defeat all that threaten to kill and sacrifice the young girls of her land.
In the Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland
Since the death of Rovan’s father, she kept her magic a secret. Out of fear of being assigned an undead spirit to guard her and her blood magic, Rovan pretends to live a normal ordinary life. Things don’t go as planned because she reveals her powers while saving someone’s life. Her kind act causes her to be discovered by the royal guard and forced into a life at the Skylea palace. Needing to escape desperately from her new fate, Rovan enlists Lydea, a rebellious princess she meets and falls in love with. As the two uncover secrets of the palace, Rovan discovers Ivrilos, a mysterious, handsome spirit who has her body and soul, and is close to stealing her heart as well.
Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta
Godolia desperately wanted to be a god, so they created them — Windups, or giant machine weapons piloted by cybernetically enhanced individuals. Yet the tyranny of Godolia has become too much those who resist face harsh cruelty in the Badlands. One rebel tasked with destroying Windups, Eris Shindanai, is captured and brought to one of Godolia’s prisons. Inside she meets Sona Steelcrest, a Windup pilot. Sona might be a pilot, but she has loyalties of her own. She successfully infiltrated the program to stop Godolia and destroy the tyranny from the inside. Once Eris and Sona get past their differences, they grow closer together and towards taking down a deadly reign.
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
Imprisoned and exiled in the Hirana, Princess Malini must atone for her traitorous crimes. Inside the ruined temple, all she can think about is vengeance against the brother who put her there. Watched constantly, Malini grows weaker, faces death, and requires a caretaker. The maidservant given the task is Priya, who accepts and takes the nightly treacherous path to Hirana. Yet something calls to Priya during her trips: it could be the secrets of the ruins or the secrets Priya keeps hidden from everyone. During an attack one night, Priya reveals to the princess the powers she’s kept buried inside for so long. With her powers out, the two team up and go deeper to uncover the secrets of the ruins that could provide both Malini and Priya their freedom.
I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
In seven days, the Earth will be altered—destroyed, to be exact. That’s the message sent to various new stations across the planet. Alma, living on an alien planet, claims to be Earth’s creator who wants to give Earth a week’s notice. A week to evacuate, fix their mistakes, or not care at all. For three teenagers, Jesse Hewitt, Cate Collins and Adeem Khan, their mixed feelings control their lives. Jesse, who’s received one too many bad calls, wonders if the time really matters, while Cate would rather spend her days hunting down her estranged father. Adeem, mad at his sister for leaving years ago, must gather the courage and decide will he forgive her before they all meet their maker, or will he hold onto his grudge until the end.