The Final Frontier
Looking for some thrilling, fast-paced science fiction that will leave you on the edge of your seat? Look no further than these six young adult novels, which are also great crossover reads for adults.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The first novel in a breakout trilogy, Illuminae follows Kady, a teen hacker who's having a really bad day: this morning she broke up with her boyfriend, Ezra, and now her planet is being invaded. She and Ezra are both evacuated, but a warship belonging to the megacorporation who attacked their planet is chasing their ships. As if that's not dicey enough, a deadly plague breaks out on the ship carrying Kady's mother; the commanding ship's AI has gone rogue; and Kady and Ezra have to work together to save their shipmates. Don't be deterred by the book's epic page count: it's told in dossier form, including emails, instant messages, medical reports, interviews, and other mixed-media files that make it a quick, gripping read.
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
On its maiden voyage, the first luxury spaceliner, the Icarus, falls out of hyperspace and crashes onto an abandoned planet. The only two survivors are Lilac, the daughter of the richest man in the universe, and Tarver, a decorated war hero. As they look for rescue, these two opposites begin to find themselves attracted to one another - and start to wonder if they truly want to be rescued. But when they encounter eerie whispers, they also start to wonder just why this planet has been abandoned. This is the first novel in another bestselling trilogy co-written by Kaufman.
Dove Arising by Karen Bao
Phaet Theta has spent her whole life in a lunar colony. She works in Greenhouse 22 and stays off the radar. Then her mother is arrested by the oppressive government. Phaet needs to enlist in the militia and become the youngest militia captain in history in order to save her younger siblings and free her mom. But when she forms an alliance with fellow outsider Wes, all her careful plans begin to crumble. This is the first in a trilogy.
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
Rhee - Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta'an - is the only heir of the ancient Kalusian dynasty, and she's determined to reclaim her family's throne and avenge their deaths. Aly is the famous star of a DroneVision show and a war refugee. The night before her coronation, Rhee is attacked - and Aly is accused of her murder. They must work together to prove Aly's innocence and prevent another war before it destroys the whole galaxy. This is the first in a sci-fi fantasy duology.
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Ana was found as a child drifting through space with an outlawed android named D09. Now D09 is glitching, and Ana's absolutely determined to fix him - which leads her on a quest to find his creator's lost ship. But then an arrogant Ironblood beats Ana to the coordinates of the ship, searching for his missing father. Soon they are on the run, with their lives - and the fate of the kingdom - at stake. This sci-fi reimagining of Anastasia is the first in a duology.
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Aboard the deep space merchant ship Parastrata, women are relegated to domestic chores and raising children. Ava, the captain's daughter, has always been more mechanical, and when she learns she'll be traded in marriage to another ship, she hopes for more freedom. Instead, she becomes an outcast and stows away on a mail sloop bound for Earth in search of her aunt. The gravity almost kills her and she recuperates on the Gyre, a giant scrap heap in the Pacific Ocean - until a tidal wave destroys the Gyre. Then she travels to Mumbai. This futuristic climate-change novel is a bit more slowly paced than the others, but Duncan's intricate world-building makes it well worth the read. There's also a companion novel, Sound.