Confession: A lot of times I like YA novels more than actual adult novels.
This is good, because I have several YA readers in this house, so it helps that I like reading what they’re reading. I can’t necessarily keep up with everything everyone reads around here anymore, but mostly I have an idea. Also, if I’ve read the books, I can get excited about them, which gets other people excited about them. Or as excited as too-cool teens get about anything. So to get everyone started, here’s our sci-fi reading list for teens and tweens.
Sci-Fi Reading List for Tweens and Teens
1.) Ready Player One — such a good book. Suspenseful, fun, and with eighties references for the parents, it’s just a really good time.
From the Amazon description, “In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.”
2.) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — quirky, weird, and exactly the kind of offbeat humor I found hilarious when I was a teen. Okay, still do. For lovers of Dr. Who and other odd space-and-time explorers.
Amazon says, “Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor. Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox—the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.”
3.) The Hunger Games — one of the few can’t-put-down books, I think I read this in a day or so…and the entire series in a weekend. If you and your teens haven’t read it yet, get on that right now. I’d hold off on the movie for tweens and younger teens, though.
From Amazon, “In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.”
4.) Farenheit 451 — I’ve said it before, but this book makes me feel better. Ray Bradbury imagines a future where everyone’s so obsessed with TV they begin to distrust books and the printed word. He wrote it 60 years ago, which means all our worrying about smartphones and computers is just an old worry with new devices and, for some reason, this reassures me. Still not playing video games for 5 hours today, though, kids.
Amazon description, “Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.”
5.) Cinder — another excellent series. Cinderella, reimagined as a butt-kicking cyborg who saves the prince instead of the other way around.
Amazon says, “Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.”