The best young adult soft science-fiction books

L. Blaise Hues Author Of Republic of Ruin: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Series
By L. Blaise Hues

Who am I?

I used to be intimidated by books labeled as science-fiction because I want to enjoy a book without feeling like I need to put it down and get a degree in astrophysics or genetic engineering before I can continue. Enter soft sci-fi books. I also love some romance in my stories but I need it to be coupled with sabotage, explosions, sword or fist-fights, and action. I’m a YA sci-fi author (wild, I know, since I definitely can’t understand the theory of relativity) with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. My trilogy, Legacy of Debris, is a series of post-apocalyptic fairytale retellings, released in 2021.

I wrote...

Republic of Ruin: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Series

By L. Blaise Hues,

Book cover of Republic of Ruin: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Series

What is my book about?

What if Cinderella took place in a post-apocalyptic Texas where instead of fairy godmothers, you have only grit and resilience to help you?

Ellie Hudson immerses herself in one of the few things the Supply Wars haven’t destroyed—her ranch work and her secret baseball games with her best friend. But her power-hungry stepmother is leading a group of domestic terrorists in an effort to start another Civil War and frame Ellie as the instigator. Ellie’s lost her father, her home, and her patience with her stepmother’s abuse. Don’t miss Book 1 in this post-apocalyptic survival series with a dark, fairy-tale spin. 

The books I picked & why

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By Neal Shusterman,

Book cover of Scythe

Why this book?

Scythe has some of the most fantastic world-building in a dystopian that I’ve read. The story is told by switching back and forth between two main characters, one male, Rowan, and one female, Citra, which adds depth to the story without getting too confusing. *I’m looking at you Six of Crows.*

Society has reached the point where no one dies from natural causes anymore, and people can live indefinitely. Scythes have been tasked with killing people at random to keep the population somewhat in check. When Citra and Rowan are selected to study and learn under a famous scythe, the moral dilemmas that follow are both thought-provoking and entertaining. Scythe is the first book I’ve read that addresses the universal problem of our impending deaths with this beautiful balance of respect and humor. 


By Brandon Sanderson,

Book cover of Skyward

Why this book?

If you’re at all familiar with Brandon Sanderson, you may worry that diving into this YA work of his will require a significant amount of mental fortitude to follow. But unlike his high fantasy novels, Sanderson really dials it back in Skyward, making it an easy read with such fantastic dialogue that I laughed aloud repeatedly. Spensa is a curious, resilient girl, hellbent on redeeming her father’s legacy. Of the many AI’s that I’ve come to love in my sci-fi stories, MBOT is my all-time favorite and reason alone to read this book.

Aurora Rising

By Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff,

Book cover of Aurora Rising

Why this book?

Aurora Rising follows an unlikely crew of teens with well-developed and conflicting personalities with fantastically-written POV switches. I love the fast-paced writing, the dialogue, and the small bit of romance tossed in. There are aliens and intrigue, fist-fights, and plot twists and I loved the alien worlds. 

The Maze Runner

By James Dashner,

Book cover of The Maze Runner

Why this book?

While this book came out a while ago in 2009, and was made more famous by the film adaptation, I feel it’s fallen under the radar for people who have recently discovered their love of science fiction. Dashner’s dystopian is dominated by male characters, which I found refreshing since so many popular dystopian novels feature female protagonists. The Maze Runner’s non-stop action makes it the sort of book you want to read in a single sitting.  

These Broken Stars: A Starbound Novel

By Meagan Spooner, Amie Kaufman,

Book cover of These Broken Stars: A Starbound Novel

Why this book?

I know, I already listed a book by Kaufman on this list and I’m not sorry about it. This book has it all. Enemies to lovers, space travel, ghosts, clean romance, great character development, and attention to detail that created vivid, beautiful scenes in an alien environment. This book is more of a romance than the other ones on my list, but what can I say? I like to think that if the world ends, or spaceships explode and you’re stranded on a weird planet, love will go on (but not like, Titanic style.)

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