The topic for today’s TTT is: “Top Ten Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read X (examples: New Adult novels, historical fiction, a certain author, books about a certain topic, etc).” I had a hard time deciding what genre I wanted to go with, so I chose speculative fiction, which I believed was fiction that speculated what could happen in the future. That makes sense, right? Well, apparently speculative fiction is a blanket term that covers most of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I also didn’t just want to use “dystopian,” because not all of the books had futures that were horrible and, well, dystopian. Most of them aren’t great futures, but no world is perfect.
Therefore, I had to get a little more specific.
So without further ado – the top ten books I would give to readers who have never read young adult futuristic speculative fiction, or to people who think that’s not their cup of tea. If that sounds like you – do give these books a try.
1. Legend by Marie Lu. Part of the United States is now the Republic, at war with its neighbors. Main characters June and Day’s lives intertwine as they begin to unravel their government’s secrets. Great story, great characters, high intensity, fabulous.
2. The Program by Suzanne Young. In this future, teen suicide is a global epidemic, and the only solution is The Program, which cures depression but also erases memories. Slone has to keep her head down and her feelings secret if she wants to avoid that fate – but of course that doesn’t work out. This book paints a terrifying future that is thrilling to read about.
3. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. When you turn sixteen, you undergo an operation that makes you pretty, and you receive access to a high-tech world of paradise and beautiful people. Tally is forced to go after her friend who runs away to avoid the operation, and she reaches alarming conclusions about their so-called perfect world. This is a spec fiction classic, in my opinion, and really shows what life could be like if our society continues to be so appearance-based.
4. Frozen by Robin Wasserman. Instead of dying in the car accident, Lia is saved by the Download – a program meant to solve the age-old problem of mortality. Her mind is downloaded into a new, computerized but life-like body – and she has to face the issue of being herself but not herself at all. I love the implications of the discussion about what really makes us human and what makes us ourselves. This book got me to think, while also being an engaging read.
5. Feed by M.T. Anderson. This one is another book about the dangers of a technology-reliant, consumeristic society. Titus and his friends run into a hacker who causes the feeds in their brains – which provide them constant communication, access to entertainment, etc, much like a smart phone but right in their heads – to malfunction. Then Titus meets Violet – a witty girl who wants to fight the feed. This book actually hits a little close to home – in terms of futuristic speculative fiction, it could happen tomorrow, which makes it even more impactful.
6. Salvage by Alexandra Duncan. Science fiction with a feminist twist – what happens when the earth has been transformed by climate change, when the ships that travel in space are conservative and male-dominated, when one girl takes her fate into her own hands? Read to find out. I reviewed this book earlier this year and adore it still.
7. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka. More feminist spec fiction! I can’t get enough. In this book, a synthetic hormone in beef killed millions of adult women in the United States, sparking the Paternalist Movement to protect the country’s young girls – who have now become a commodity, used to be sold in marriage to the highest bidder. Avie intends to flee from her quickly-approaching marriage to a controlling politician, but can she make it to Canada before her world falls apart? I reviewed this one as well and hope you give it a chance, because it is majorly thought-provoking.
8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. A sci-fi take on Cinderella! A deadly plague hits the population of Earth, the Lunar people are just waiting to attack, and Cinder – a second-class Cyborg – is caught in the crossfire when her mysterious past begins to unravel. This book has hints of fantasy, more than any other book on this list, but I did still want to include it because it’s one of my favorite books of all time and I’ve become a bit evangelical about it, if we’re being honest.
9. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. In this futuristic world, Mary’s village is protected from the Forest of Hands and Teeth, where the Unconsecrated reside, relentless in their quest to breach the perimeter. Yes, this is a zombie novel, and one of the best I’ve ever read. I don’t know what else to say about this book except read it, because it’s a brilliant take on the genre. It left me extremely unsettled about the future, and wanting nothing more but to read the next book.
10. This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. It’s the end of the world, and zombies are beating down on the doors of the high school, where six people are hoping to hold out and live – all except Sloane, who thinks that perhaps it would be better just to give up. I am in love with all of Summers’ books, and although this is another zombie apocalypse novel (yes, I know, I have a bit of a problem), it’s more human than almost anything I’ve ever read.
And finally, a bonus one: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. If all else fails to convince you how awesome this genre is, remember that technically The Hunger Games is YA futuristic speculative fiction! Ha.