Lee Bacon. Joshua Dread. (Delacorte, 2012) It’s a dangerous world, full of super villains terrorizing the world. Middle schooler Joshua Dread would take comfort in the fact that there are super heroes too, like Captain Justice, if his parents weren’t making him dinner, helping him with his homework, and terrorizing the world.
Bob Balaban. The Creature from the Seventh Grade: Boy or Beast? (Viking 2012) “Suddenly I can feel my teeth getting longer and sharper. My neck grows longer, too. And skinnier. I stare, transfixed, at my fingers as each of my hands morphs into a claw with three sharp talons. My toenails burst through my sneakers. I cross my legs and try tp hide my lower extremities under my desk. It’s my nightmare come true: I, Charles Elmer Drinkwater, am turning into the Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
Nancy Butts. The Door In the Lake. (Front Street, 1997) It’s a classic sci-fi set up: Joey wakes up in the hospital and can’t understand why everyone looks so old. They can’t understand how he could have been missing for years and hasn’t aged a day. The only thing more frightening than not knowing what happened at the lake those years ago is finding out the truth.
Orson Scott Card. “Ender” (Series):
Ender’s Game. (Tor, 1994)
Speaker for the Dead. (Tor, 1994)
Xenocide. (Tor, 1996)
Children of the Mind. (Tor, 2002)
Ender in Exile. (Tor, 2009)
Eoin Colfer. “Artemis Fowl” (Series):
Artemis Fowl. (Miramax, 2001)
The Arctic Incident. (Miramax, 2002)
The Eternity Code. (Miramax, 2003)
The Opal Deception. (Miramax, 2005)
The Lost Colony. (Miramax, 2006)
The Time Paradox. (Hyperion Books for Children, 2008)
Bruce Coville. “Bruce Coville’s Alien Adventures” (Series):
Aliens Ate My Homework. (Minstrel Books, 1993)
I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X. (Minstrel Books, 1994)
The Search for Snout. (Minstrel Books, 1995)
Aliens Stole My Body. (Minstrel Books, 1998)
Lawrence David. “Horace Splattly” (Series):
Horace Splattly: The Cupcaked Crusader. (Puffin, 2002)
When Second Graders Attack. (Puffin, 2002)
The Terror of the Pink Dodo Balloons. (Dutton, 2003)
To Catch a Clownosaurus. (Puffin, 2003)
The Invasion of Theshag Carpetcreature. (Puffin, 2004)
The Most Evil, Friendly Villain Ever. (Puffin, 2004)
Jeanne DuPrau. “The Books of Ember” (Series):
The City of Ember. (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2003)
The People of Sparks. (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2004)
The Prophet of Yonwood. (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2006)
The Diamond of Darkhold. (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2008)
David Elliott. The Transmogrification of Roscoe Wizzle. (Candlewick Press, 2001)
Jason Fry. Jupiter Pirates: Hunt for the Hydra. (Harper, 2014) Tycho and his family live on the edge. Between pirate and privateer, between legal and outlaw, between
civilization and the vast emptiness. But his ship is a starship, and it sails the edges of space, not an ocean. There are frontiers and horizons beyond those on Earth.
Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young. Fortunately, the Milk. (Harper, 2013) Neil Gaiman paid tribute to Rudyard Kipling in gothic horror fashion in The Graveyard Book. Now he honors Roald Dahl with a hilarious sci-fi romp in Forunately, the Milk. What did we ever do to deserve this guy?
Will Hobbs. Go Big or Go Home. (HarperCollins, 2008)
Matthew J. Kirby. The Lost Kingdom. (Scholastic, 2013) A nation has its stories, its rumors, its folklore, even a nation as young as America. But where do these stories come from? They are based on something. One intrepid group of explorers at the birth of America head into the great frontier to find the truth of them all. Okay, they aren’t going into the frontier so much as above it.
Lois Lowry. The Giver. (Laurel Leaf, 2002)
Barry Lyga. “Archvillain” (Series)
Archvillain. (Scholastic, 2010)
The Mad Mask. (Scholastic, 2012) Hero stories are usually told from the point of view of, well, the hero. But what if you were looking over the shoulder of “the bad guy”? Barry Lyga gives us a very funny superhero story for all those who thought Lex Luther was just misunderstood.
James Patterson. “Maximum Ride” (Series)
The Angel Experiment. (Little, Brown, 2005)
School’s Out – Forever. (Warner, 2006)
Saving the World, and Other Extreme Sports. (Little, Brown, 2007)
The Final Warning. (Little, Brown, 2008)
Max. (Little, Brown, 2009)
Fang. (Little, Brown, 2010)
The stakes rise for Maximum Ride when her relationship with Fang heats up. The more she has, the more she has to lose. Max’s whole flock is faced with the hard choices, and one will make a choice that breaks the flock up for good.
James Patterson and NaRae Lee. Maxium Ride: The Manga. (Yen Press, 2009)
Maximum Ride might be the perfect book for adaptation to Manga. All the action, the visual splendor, the wonder of kids on the wing, it all pops right off the page. This very quick read is the perfect intro to the series for struggling readers and a fantastic addition to the series for those who already know and love Max.
Clete Barrett Smith. Aliens on Vacation. (Disney, 2011) What to read after Bruce Coville’s Aliens Ate My Homework.
Doug TenNapel. Bad Island. (Graphix, 2011) A sci-fi riff on Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island? In comic book form? By Doug TenNapel? With flying robots? That’s just not fair.
Primarily for Teen Guys:
M. T. Anderson. Feed. (Candlewick, 2004)
Martyn Bedford. Flip. (Wendy Lamb Books, 2011) Many teens dream of living someone else’s life, if they got to choose who and when of course. But if you had to live someone else’s life? What if you woke up with your mind and someone else’s body, someone else’s life? What does it really mean to be “you”? Worse, what does it mean to be nobody at all?
Ernest Cline. Ready Player One. (Crown, 2011) A futuristic video game world based on 1980′s pop culture? One for parents and teens to read together (so the teens have someone to ask, “Dad, what is a Duran Duran?”). Pair it up with Erebus by Ursula Poznanski to compare two generations of video game madness.
Richard Paul Evans. Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25. (Simon Pulse, 2011)
Of come on! Who wouldn’t read a book about kids with electric superpowers?
Kat Falls. Dark Life. (Scholastic, 2010) If you think there are no new frontiers, just wait until man causes the ultimate ecological disaster. When there is no longer enough inhabitable land, humans must push into the unknowns of inner space, the world’s oceans. Like all frontiers, undersea offers wide open spaces and a chance for a man to make something of himself if he has the guts and the grit, but like all frontiers there are terrors, known and unknown. Ty is fifteen and trying to carve out a living in the new wet west.
Brian Faulkner. The Assault. (Random House, 2012) An alien war in the classical science fiction tradition: the human race is striking back in to the heart of the enemy’s homeland, but the only humans who can pull it off are an elite squad of teenaged soldiers, and the alien homeland is right here on Earth.
Jack D. Ferraiolo. Sidekicks. (Amulet, 2011) What do you call the dorkiest, silliest-looking, must socially inept sidekick to ever face off with his partner against evil? A hero…
Catherine Fisher. The Dark City. [Relic Master, Book 1] Dial, 2011) A sci-fi/fantasy mash-up of a world in fear of ancient and misunderstood relics of incredible technological power from a powerful lost civilization. A mystical order seeks to preserve and understand them, while a repressive power structure seeks to bury these relics of another age. Is it more dangerous to suppress this power, or to use it?
Pete Hautman. The Obsidian Blade. [The Klaatu Diskos] (Candlewick, 2012)
“The camel, the walled city, the way people were dressed all added up to his being somewhere in Africa or the Middle East. He wished he’s paid closer attention in his geography and history classes because, he thought with a sour smile, you never know when you might be magically transported half way around the world and hundreds of years into the past.”
Pete Hautman. Rash. (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2006)
Homer Hickam. Crater: a Helium-3 Novel. (Thomas Nelson, 2012) Travel into space isn’t going to be glamorous, zipping among the pretty stars. It will be hard men and women leading a hardscrabble life exploiting the mineral wealth of the moon for the wealthy and powerful in an unimaginably deadly environment. Out of this bleak future steps one young man, honest, sincere, naïve of course, but devoted and, when necessary, fearless. The perfect tool for a powerful man bent on furthering his own ends.
Gordon Korman. Hypnotists. [The Hypnotists, Book 1] (Scholastic, 2013) What better subject for a science fiction thriller than the science of the human mind? Imagine a world where everything you do, from handing over your money, to voting for the president, to throwing yourself off a bridge can be dictated by someone else – and you will never know it is happening. Now imagine you are the one pulling all the strings…
Emmy Laybourne. Monument 14. (Feiwel and Friends, 2012) A teen angst-fueled, apocalyptic, science fiction Lord of the Flies. Hold on, this is a wild ride.
Christopher Moore & Ian Corson. The Griff. (William Morrow, 2011) It is Jurassic Park, falling from the sky! In this graphic novel of alien invasion, the little green men are huge green dragon creatures, and the ET’s aren’t being cuddled by a cute little six-year-old Drew Barrymore. The heroine is The Game Goddess, and who better to fight alien invaders than the woman who designed the video games where they, well, you know?
Garth Nix. A Confusion of Princes. (Harper, 2012) They are above the law. They take what they want. They use ordinary people for their own ends. And when their terms end, they come right back for more. No, they aren’t congressmen; they are princes in Garth Nix’s sci-fi space opera. The Empire made Khem a prince, but can anything make him human?
Kenneth Oppel. Dead Water Zone. (HarperTeen, 2007)
Kenneth Oppel. “Matt Cruise” (Series):
Airborn. (HarperTeen, 2004)
Skybreaker. (HarperTeen, 2007)
Starclimber. (HarperTeen, 2009)
John W. Otte. Failstate. (Marcher Lord, 2012) It had to happen… a reality show to pick the next teen superhero! One caped contestant gets voted off every week, and Rob “Failstate” Laughlin knows his days are numbered. He isn’t the superhuman, shiny, photogenic hero America expects. But the darkness he hides behind grunge clothes and a Halloween mask drives him like no other. He fights for redemption, propelled by a painful past and a desperate faith, in a way that the others may not understand. A rare Christian-centered approach to the classic superhero story.
Rodman Philbrick. The Last Book in the Universe. (Blue Sky Press, 2000)
Ursula Poznanski. Erebos. (Annick Press, 2012) Any real gamer will tell you, “It isn’t just a game.” And it isn’t; it knows things. It can converse with you. It can order you to do things. And somehow, you just can’t say no. It isn’t just a game, this game is murder.
Neal Shusterman. “The Unwind Trilogy” (Series)
Unwind. (Simon & Schuster, 2007)
UnWholly. (Simon & Schuster, 2012)
In a world not too far in the future, America has finally solved the abortion debate once and for all. We won’t abort babies. We will abort teenagers.
Scott Sigler. “Galactic Football League” (Series)
The Rookie. [Book One] (Diversion Books, 2007)
The Starter. [Book Two] (Diversion Books, 2010)
The All-Pro. [Book Three] (Diversion Books, 2011)
The MVP. [Book Four] (Diversion Books, 2012)
600 pound armored alien monsters as linemen, gorilla beasts at linebacker, scuttling bug creatures at receiver and defensive back, and a quarterback from some backwater human world just trying not to get his head ripped off on every play, that’s the world of the Galactic Football League in this sci-fi/sports mash-up.
Rebecca Stead. First Light. (Wendy Lamb Books, 2007)
Scott Westerfeld. “The Leviathan Trilogy” (Series)
Leviathan. (Simon Pulse, 2009)
Behemoth. (Simon Pulse, 2010)
Goliath. (Simon Pulse, 2011)
Will Weaver. Defect. (Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2007)
Daniel H. Wilson. Amped. (Doubleday, 2012) The problem with becoming more than human is that it somehow makes everyone else less than human, and they aren’t going to like it. Expect trouble when you get AMPED.
Daniel H. Wilson. Robopocalypse. (Doubleday, 2011) What if your smartphone was smarter than you… and wanted you dead?