5-Star Book Reviews: Science Fiction

We continue our series of posts featuring some of the best books in the CA Library collection — today’s featured titles are all Science Fiction. Follow the links for each book to learn more from the CA Library catalog!


The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson (2018) — Elena, the first scientifically confirmed virgin birth, acquires the ability to heal by touch at age sixteen, the same year that people start disappearing in beams of light, causing her to wonder if she is bringing about the Apocalypse. “A creative and original tale shot through with quirky humor that entertains while encouraging readers to ponder questions of free will and social responsibility” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the eBook (Sora login required)

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (2019) — Told in separate voices, eighteen-year-old Tyler Jones, top graduate of Aurora Academy, and a group of misfits and troublemakers embark on their first mission with Auri, a stowaway from the distant past. “This first installment of Kaufman and Kristoff’s second series is a high-octane, thrilling, snarky adventure through space, combining the best elements of the heist genre with space opera…action, thrills, suspense, laughs, and all the feels” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook (Sora login required)

The Broken Vow (Spill Zone, Book 2) by Scott Westerfeld (2018) — Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Strange manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone. Addison got close enough to the Spill Zone to touch it, literally. She survived the encounter, but came back changed — and it turns out she’s not alone. “Between Westerfeld’s masterly storytelling and Alex Puvilland’s impeccable art, this is a must-read for Spill Zone fans” (School Library Journal).

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz (2019) — 1992: After a confrontation at a riot grrl concert, seventeen-year-old Beth finds herself in a car with her friend’s abusive boyfriend dead in the backseat, agreeing to help her friends hide the body. 2022: Determined to use time travel to create a safer future, Tess has dedicated her life to visiting key moments in history and fighting for change. Tess and Beth’s lives intertwine as war breaks out across the timeline — a war that threatens to destroy time travel and leave only a small group of elites with the power to shape the past, present, and future. “This riot of a book will have readers delighting both in the thrilling battle over timelines in an intricate, alternative world and in the joys of inclusive feminist solidarity” (Booklist).

Internment by Samira Ahmed (2019) — A terrifying, futuristic United States where Muslim-Americans are forced into internment camps, and seventeen-year-old Layla Amin must lead a revolution against complicit silence. “This cautionary tale for our times draws parallels between the situation Muslim Americans face today and the horrors of the Japanese American internment” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook (Sora login required)

Landscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson (2017) — When jobs typically done by humans are replaced with alien technology, Adam’s parents have no money for food, clean water, or medicine, forcing Adam and his girlfriend Chloe to get creative. “Resplendent with Anderson’s trademark dry, sarcastic wit, this brief, complicated read serves as a scathing social commentary and, as the title indicates, an interrogation of free market economics” (Kirkus Review).

On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden (2018) — In this graphic novel, told in two interwoven timelines, a ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together, and two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love, only to learn the pain of loss. “The sparking interplay between familiar and foreign is utterly mesmerizing, and the story carries that through as well: the sf components are inventive and compellingly strange, but the romance between Mia and Grace, not to mention the warm, teasing affection among Mia’s crewmates, grounds the story in a heartening, recognizable place. A remarkable, stunning comic” (Booklist). Get the eBook (Sora login required)

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy (2019) — Resets the Arthurian legend in outer space, with King Arthur reincarnated as seventeen-year-old Ari, a female king whose quest is to stop a tyrranical corporate government, aided by a teenaged Merlin. “Like T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, this manages to be exciting, earnest, and funny, and Capetta and McCarthy unapologetically take jabs at our current political climate. Unique twists and a message of unity through diversity result in a meaningful, utterly fun read” (Booklist). Get the Audiobook (Sora login required)

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton (2018) — Six interconnected stories that ask how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimens, and how hard that will push the definition of human. “If you love Black Mirror, this…will send shivers down your spine” (Teen Vogue).

Thunderhead (Arc Of A Scythe, Book 2) by Neal Shusterman (2018) — Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to Scythe from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology. “Shusterman widens the already impressive scope of his near-future utopia while also keeping a deft finger on the pulse of our own turbulent times. Exceptionally clear-eyed and brutal in its execution, this raises even bigger moral questions than its predecessor—and, like its predecessor, offers no easy answers” (Booklist). Get the eBook (Sora login required)

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi (2019) — In 2172, when much of the world is unlivable, sisters Onyii and Ify dream of escaping war-torn Nigeria and finding a better future together but are, instead, torn apart. “A bleak but compulsively readable story with high action and high drama in equal measure. Perfect for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi’s novels and the Pacific Rim films” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook (Sora login required)

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