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Humanity is connected by three things, our blood, the Earth that we stand on, and the heavens that we can look up to a night and share the same experience of wonder.
The earliest tales we told were about gods and spirits created to help us explain the nature of the world around us, and from its infancy, this was how sci-fi came into being.
Sci-fi is one of the biggest genres we have seen in stories going back to the earliest recordings of tales from Ancient Egypt or Greece, and today it still attracts a massive audience of all ages.
With how varied the sci-fi landscape spans, there are some gems worth highlighting regarding how sci-fi books attract a YA audience.
Top Sci-Fi Reads for Young Adults
Today we will be sharing the best ya sci-fi books for young adults, thinking about what YA sci-fi books you should consider adding to your reading list.
YA is often regarded as just for children or young adults, but it is a popular genre all on its own that has a large following for both teens and adults.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunter Games by Suzanne Collins is a modern example of many classic sci-fi ya books.
The world is in chaos in this futuristic reimagining of a ruined America called Panem, split into districts, with one ruling district controlling the whole political affairs.
The ruling district likes to play a game of sport once a year.
Or, more accurately, a killing sport where they throw a single fighter, a girl and boy, from each district into a fighting ring and fight to the death for entertainment.
The Hunger Games follows the perspective of a 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who ends up volunteering to take her sister’s place after her name comes up in the ballot of her District.
However, she is thrust into a world where she must learn to survive not just the cameras of the televised event but the real threat of losing her own life.
This rollercoaster of a book is full of love, heartbreak, and against-the-odds survival as Katniss rises to become a symbol of hope for the people of Panem.
So check it out and dive into the story.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
In this futuristic reimagining of life on earth, where cyborgs and robots mingle and a plague ravages the world, you have Lunar people watching and waiting to strike.
And if the world didn’t know about its problems with the threat of alien invasion and human replacement by machine, they most certainly didn’t realize that their fate hinged on a little cyborg girl called Cinder.
This intriguing sci-fi ya book, Cinder, by Marissa Meyer, could be the next craze to fix your hunger for more great sci-fi books for young adults.
You can buy it now on Amazon.
Warcross by Marie Lu
Warcross by Marie Lu is the first in a series revolving around an online craze called Warcross, where for the last ten years, it has become more than a game but a way of life for the millions who use it each day.
This sci-fi ya book evolves around a bounty hunter called Emika Chen struggling to make ends meet as a hacker, so she relies totally on this virtual reality.
Chen’s life as an online bounty hunter involves chasing after players that cheat or illegally hack into the Warcross game, and one job lands her in the spotlight of fame.
The games creator contacts her with an offer she can’t refuse: to spy on the game’s yearly in-game tournament.
So she accepts being thrust into a world of plots, intrigue, action, and a deep underground mystery, all firing off from a simple online game.
Lu’s fresh take on the metaverse concept in Warcross can be bought here.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Maze Runner is an intense sci-fi book for young adults with continuous action, mystery, and a tight set of characters who want one thing: to escape the maze.
Thomas wakes up in a maze with no memory of who he is or was, in a room surrounded by other young boys his age.
Then everything changes when a girl shows up, which has never happened before, but unlike Thomas, she brings a scary warning to the boys: remember, survive, and run.
Get The Maze Runner and experience the tense heart-pumping thrill of this young adult sci-fi book.
It’s also on the list of the books like the Selection by Cierra Kass, so if you have already read The Maze Runner, you may find books with a similar main trope.
Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Invictus follows the perspective of a time traveler born in the year 95 AD and raised as the son of a time traveler from 2354 AD.
Farway Gaius McCarthy grows up in Ancient Rome training as a gladiator, despite the futuristic links to a family 2300 years before he was born.
All he wants to do is time travel, but when he fails his final time-traveling exam, all hope seems lost until Faraway decides to take matters into his own hands.
He fights for his dream by becoming part of an underground ship crew that earns their riches by stealing valuables from the past.
If you want to know how Faraway’s story goes, you can purchase it here.
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is a fresh take on the superhero genre and is a great sci-fi book for young adults.
It follows the lives of six kids who have no families but are connected by their extraordinary superpowers.
Max Ride and her friends don’t know where they came from, only that they can fly, and that is just the beginning of their powers.
This conundrum of where they came from is the crux conflict of this ya sci-fi book, as the kids love their abilities, but not knowing why is unnerving.
Why and how?
Is it for an evil purpose or to save humanity from something much, much worse?
To find out the thrill of this ride and to answer the mysteries of their superpowers, buy the book.
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Be thrown into a world of wonder and stars in the novel These Broken Stars as we follow the lives of two people: Lilac, a daughter born from wealth, and Tarver, a broke young war hero who has had a hard time with women.
When their luxury starship liner crashes on a nearby planet, they are both stranded and must learn to survive together.
They soon fall for each other despite being from two different worlds.
In this love, they start to wonder if they could live happily there together or whether they should fight to return home where such a prospect might be near impossible.
Consider getting it to discover the magic of these starcrossed lovers and their struggles.
A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole
Octavia adores her life and her family’s legacy as whitecoat scientists that study the wonders of her planet’s ecosystem.
However, one day, when they open up the collage to just anybody, Octavia realizes that the perfect image she’d pictured for this job and the collage is not as blooming as beautiful flowers.
She starts to uncover a dark side, and with the help of her friend Rondo and her best friend Alma, they begin to unravel this truth… Where will they go, and what will they find? It will change everything.
Get the book and discover it yourself.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Meg’s life isn’t perfect, and she isn’t unhappy, but when three strange extraterrestrial witches show up to take her on an adventure she could never forget, she starts to see a new way of living.
The world is weird and brilliant; you must know how to open your eyes to its wonders and step through the wrinkle in time to reach it.
Meg follows these quirky witches hoping to find out why her father went missing all those years ago and mend old wounds.
In the process, she becomes closer to her family and comes to appreciate the mundane and strange parts of life as much as the loud wondrous set pieces.
The ya sci-fi adventure you’ll take with A Wrinkle in Time is worth it, and you’ll still think about it long after you finish the final page.
So consider getting a copy.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
If you love big mecha robot battles set against the backdrop of Ancient China, The Great Wall, and Chinese culture, then the Iron Widow is a marvel gem in sci-fi young adult books.
Moreover, we follow a queer romance with strong characters who fight against the misogynistically designed systems around their war machines.
We follow the Iron Widow, Zetian, as she offers to be a concubine pilot even if operating the mecha requires a man and a woman, even if it often leads to the woman’s death.
Zetian kills the man she sits with during the battle and earns the name Iron Widow.
From this point forth, she starts to use this strength to fight back, facing many obstacles, including love.
Get the book and throw yourself into this uniquely conceived world with intriguing characters.
In summary of this post, looking at the best sci-fi books for young adults, we have shown some incredible stories from many authors, so you may start discovering sci-fi universes from any book.
If you are looking for more adult sci-fi novels, check out Books Like The Peripheral.
Some of the characters described there deal with dangerous governments, whilst others fight against the power of love versus duty.
However, all are connected by their shared genre of YA sci-fi, depicting young adults doing incredible things to go on adventures or make their fictional world a better place.
They show that young adult sci-fi is a vital learning tool for those who might need lessons about growing up and moving into the adult world, or they could make someone smile even if, at times, life can be trying.
Books, and in particular sci-fi, are one of our oldest ways of telling stories, and so they should be cherished as ways to express ourselves as humans and teach each other about the wonders of space, science, and what the future might hold.