16 Thrilling Sci-Fi Books for Tweens and Young Adults
From Star Wars to The Hunger Games, Divergent to Star Trek, sci-fi stories offer thought-provoking scenarios and plenty of excitement. If your middle-grade or young adult reader is craving stories of future worlds, space exploration, time travel, or other speculative possibilities, check out this list of science-fiction books for teens to find their next favorite read!
1. Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy by Joshua S. Levy
Jack just wants an uneventful last day of school (or as uneventful as you can be when your school is a spaceship orbiting Jupiter) but finds himself battling aliens on the galaxy’s edge instead.
Buy it: Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy at Amazon
2. Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack
Young Cleopatra transports to the future and realizes it’s on her shoulders to rescue the entire galaxy. This graphic novel series is now an animated offering on Peacock.
Buy it: Cleopatra in Space at Amazon
3. Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
When she comes to the aid of her best friend, who was captured by an alien doomsday cult, Zita finds herself a stranger on a very strange planet. This fun graphic novel is great for fans of Miyazaki movies.
Buy it: Zita the Spacegirl at Amazon
4. Sixth-Grade Alien by Bruce Coville, illustrated by Glen Mullaly
When Pleskit Meenom, son of the first alien ambassador to Earth, finds out he’s going to be attending public school, he’s less than thrilled. But Tim Tompkins is determined to befriend him, and the consequences are wild.
Buy it: Sixth-Grade Alien at Amazon
5. The Area 51 Files by Julie Buxbaum, illustrated by Lavanya Naidu
When Sky Patel-Baum goes to live with her uncle, she’s expecting him to be strange but gets more than she bargained for as she begins to learn the secrets—and meet the aliens—that inhabit Area 51. This middle-grade debut from Julie Buxbaum is just the right mix of comedy and sci-fi.
Buy it: The Area 51 Files at Amazon
6. The Giver by Lois Lowry
This first book in Lowry’s Giver quartet is a classic for good reason: Simple writing belies a thoughtful story about the choice between freedom and security. This book is a great choice for science-fiction books for teens!
Buy it: The Giver at Amazon
7. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Brown’s Caldecott Medal–winning novel about a robot surviving in the wilderness is both heartfelt and exciting for young readers.
Buy it: The Wild Robot at Amazon
8. Animorphs by K.A. Applegate
This long-running (54 books!) series about kids who find a downed spaceship and end up gaining the power to turn into animals has been reissued with new editions for a reason: The adventures really hold up!
Buy it: Animorphs at Amazon
9. The 100 Complete Boxed Set by Kass Morgan
In a future when most of humanity is living on spaceship-like cities hovering over the nuclear war-ravaged surface of Earth, 100 juvenile delinquents are sentenced to return and resettle the hostile land.
Buy it: The 100 Complete Boxed Set at Amazon
10. The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold
In a world decimated by a fly-borne disease, several teens form connections based on hope, art, survival, and love.
Buy it: The Electric Kingdom at Amazon
11. Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson
When Andre Cobb receives a direly needed liver transplant, he’s excited to wake and start really living his life. He’s not expecting to wake up in 1969, drawn to a magnetic boy named Michael, nor to learn that his transplant comes with the gift of time travel, and a modern-day mentor named Blake for whom Andre also has feelings.
Buy it: Yesterday Is History at Amazon
12. Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan
Now a series on Amazon Prime, this time-travel coming-of-age graphic novel series focuses on a quartet of newspaper delivery girls who find some very strange goings-on when they take on their routes the morning after Halloween in 1988.
Buy it: Paper Girls at Amazon
13. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
In a future world where humanity has solved most of its problems, even death is now left to human determination—and the Scythes, an elite group trained in the “art of killing” as a means to keep the population under control. But when two teens are made apprentice Scythes, they don’t want the role.
Buy it: Scythe at Amazon
14. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
With one touch, Juliette Ferrars can kill. She views this as a curse, but an operation known as The Reestablishment sees it as a gift, and Juliette as the ultimate weapon, in this opener to Mafi’s four-book series.
Buy it: Shatter Me at Amazon
15. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
As the daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers knew that growing up in space came with some difficulties. But she never knew how lonely it could be until her parents die and she’s left speeding through the galaxy. She’s relieved to make contact with another ship—and the intriguing J, who resides on it. This sci-fi thriller packs in suspense and twists readers will adore, making it a great option for science-fiction books for teens.
Buy it: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe at Amazon
16. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
The start of a trilogy, Renegades finds Nova, a vengeance-seeking villain, pitted against the Renegades, a group of people with extraordinary abilities that seek to restore order in a society that’s crumbled. But one of the Renegades, Adrian, sees something special in Nova and makes her question her mission.
Buy it: Renegades at Amazon
If you liked this list of science-fiction books for kids and want more book lists, be sure to subscribe to our newsletters!
Plus, check out Our Favorite Book Lists by Grade and Topic.