100 books like Skyward

By Brandon Sanderson,

Here are 100 books that Skyward fans have personally recommended if you like Skyward. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins,

Book cover of The Hunger Games

Susanna Beard Author Of The Best Friend

From the list on featuring a feisty female.

Who am I?

Since I was a girl, I’ve had an enduring sense that women must work harder, be cleverer, think more creatively than men, both at work and sometimes at home. So I love a woman who stands up for herself, who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. At one time, when the series Spooks was popular on TV, I wanted to be Ros, the operator who, when a dodgy guy followed her, hid around a corner. She flattened him with some nifty moves, stole his car keys and said: “Never follow me again.” Brilliant! I hope you enjoy all the feisty females on my book list. 

Susanna's book list on featuring a feisty female

Why did Susanna love this book?

This book was recommended by a creative writing teacher as a perfect example of how a plot should develop – the three-act structure, the perfect arc of the story, the pace, with rising and falling tension and edge-of-the-cliff plot points. 

But I love it because of the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, surely one of the most endearing heroines in literature. It’s a classic story of a character overcoming all the odds, and while it’s widely perceived as a dystopian novel for young adults, I found it much more than that.

I was gripped by Katniss and her challenges – all of which she finds a way to overcome – as well as the enormous themes of poverty, oppression, war, and survival. She’s young but steely, resourceful, clever, and feisty. 

By Suzanne Collins,

Why should I read it?

34 authors picked The Hunger Games as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...

Book cover of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

PJ Caldas Author Of The Girl from Wudang: A Novel About Artificial Intelligence, Martial Arts and Immortality

From the list on the beauty, madness, and humor behind violence.

Who am I?

I’m a nerd who fights. Started my professional life as a programmer, then switched to telling stories in advertising and entertainment. But my passion for technology and martial arts have always played a role in my life. Influenced by my father’s stories about judo, I studied a lot of styles of fighting, including kung fu, karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and also dabbled with boxing, Muay Thai, capoeira, taichi, bagua, Silat, and judo. Along that journey, one of my favorite ways to learn was by watching my female training partners, and how they had to develop a much more nuanced and sophisticated technique. An experience that would later inspire the birth of The Girl from Wudang.

PJ's book list on the beauty, madness, and humor behind violence

Why did PJ love this book?

I guess Rowling’s world of wizardry doesn’t show very often in lists about violence. But for me, it read like it.

The saga (in particular its fifth volume, The Order of The Phoenix) is not too different from the gnarliest Kung Fu legends and bloodiest stories of Samurai. The only difference is that the martial arts practiced in Hogwarts uses Wands instead of fists or swords. So, if you liked Harry Potter, here you go: like me, you enjoy stories not only with violence, but *about* violence.

About its lure, its bliss, its improvisational intelligence, and its incredible ability to shape individuals of any kind. Just like it did with my father, myself, and now my son.

By J.K. Rowling,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fifth adventure in the spellbinding Harry Potter saga - the series that changed the world of books forever Dark times have come to Hogwarts. After the Dementors' attack on his cousin Dudley, Harry Potter knows that Voldemort will stop at nothing to find him. There are many who deny the Dark Lord's return, but Harry is not alone: a secret order gathers at Grimmauld Place to fight against the Dark forces. Harry must allow Professor Snape to teach him how to protect himself from Voldemort's savage assaults on his mind. But they are growing stronger by the day and…

The Maze Runner

By James Dashner,

Book cover of The Maze Runner

Mary Ting Author Of ISAN

From the list on addictive stories that are impossible to put down.

Who am I?

I juggled being a mom with two kids and my career, as a teacher, so I had no time for myself. When I did get the chance to pick up a book, I craved stories that whisked me away from reality—books that were full of action and kept me turning the pages. Even though I enjoy other types of genres, my heart always goes back to dystopian books, which is why I eventually wrote my own series.

Mary's book list on addictive stories that are impossible to put down

Why did Mary love this book?

My favorite type of books are ones that blend dystopian, science fiction, and scientific facts together, and a lot of mystery.

In Maze Runner, a teenage boy wakes up in a box surrounded by a bunch of other boys that he doesn't know. Then they have to work together to find a way out of the maze before things become even more dangerous. Yup, a lot of suspense and mystery, and the author had my heart pounding.

The Maze Runner has such an interesting premise and though it's a YA book, readers of all ages will enjoy it.

By James Dashner,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Maze Runner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book in the New York Times bestselling Maze
Runner series - now a series of major movies starring Dylan O'Brien!


When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers
is his first name. But he's not alone.

He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a
walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone
maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to
be there - or what's happened to the world outside.


Ender's Game

By Orson Scott Card,

Book cover of Ender's Game

Dwain Worrell Author Of Androne

From the list on suspenseful science fiction.

Who am I?

To be honest, and this will sound strange, but suspense is the air I breathe. I’m a pretty calm, boring human being, and the only thing that gets my heart pumping are films, TV, books, and video games in this genre. Suspense and thrillers are genres that make up ninety percent of the entertainment that I consume, and one hundred percent of the entertainment that I write.

Dwain's book list on suspenseful science fiction

Why did Dwain love this book?

Ender’s Game has many similarities to Androne. The game-like elements of the story and the way the lead characters are both withdrawn from the battlefield.

What Ender’s Game does really well is the anticipation it creates as we wait on pins and needles for this build-up to a battle with the aliens. Ender has all of that pressure mounted on him as a child, the fate of the world, but the internal politics heighten that tension as well, as Ender’s life is under threat from his cohorts, even his own brother on one occasion. 

By Orson Scott Card,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Ender's Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Orson Scott Card's science fiction classic Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut―young Ender is the Wiggin drafted…

Looking for Alaska

By John Green,

Book cover of Looking for Alaska

Kristina Parro Author Of Lucky: A Novel

From the list on if you love Taylor Swift.

Who am I?

Kristina Parro is a long-time Taylor Swift fan who dove deep into the stories and lyrics of folklore to help her overcome the tumultuous period she spent as a front-line healthcare worker during the pandemic. She discovered layers of deep meaning and surprising connections in the album, as well as throughout Taylor’s entire collection, that led her down a rabbit hole of her own. A quest that brought her to a more enlightened state of being. Lucky is Parro’s first novel. She's currently working on another adult-fiction manuscript. You can also find her hosting a live, weekly show on Instagram, during which she has insightful conversations with authors, artists, thinkers, creatives, and Taylor Swift fans! 

Kristina's book list on if you love Taylor Swift

Why did Kristina love this book?

My long-time favorite writer, John Green, is another Swiftie! In 2014, after he posted on social media about her 1989 album, Taylor Swift took to Tumblr to proclaim that John Green was (also) her favorite author. While John is most well-known for The Fault in Our Stars (or more recently, his TikTok), Looking for Alaska, his debut, is always my recommendation. Looking For Alaska is packed with teenage nostalgia that hits you like a gut punch. "Sad, Beautiful, Tragic" for bookworms. I read it early on in high school and it sparked a literary awakening within me. I realized that books can hold deeper, philosophical meaning; that by diving deep and soaking it all in, I could learn more about myself and this crazy thing we call reality. 

By John Green,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Looking for Alaska as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning, genre-defining debut from John Green, the #1 bestselling author of The Anthropocene Reviewed and The Fault in Our Stars

Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award • A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist • A New York Times Bestseller • A USA Today Bestseller • NPR’s Top Ten Best-Ever Teen Novels • TIME magazine’s 100 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time • A PBS Great American Read Selection • Millions of copies sold!

First drink. First prank. First friend. First love.

Last words.

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words—and tired of his safe life…


By Neal Shusterman,

Book cover of Scythe

Amber Mosby Author Of Thunder and Lightning

From the list on strong female leads of color.

Who am I?

I chose these stories because as a Black woman, seeing characters like me in stories as the main character instead of the sidekick or friend is always so refreshing. Like the main characters of my own novels, Black women taking charge is something to be celebrated.

Amber's book list on strong female leads of color

Why did Amber love this book?

Prepare yourself for a future where death no longer exists. In the world of Scythe, humanity is now governed by a computer system so advanced that poverty, illness, and mortality no longer plague the human race. Instead, a group of people known as Scythes decides who lives and who dies in an attempt at population control. 

Enter Citra…a young woman with a good head on her shoulders. She boldly accepts the opportunity to be trained as a scythe. Citra must decide just what kind of executioner she wants to be and if she has what it takes to judge the value of human life. 

By Neal Shusterman,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Scythe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A true successor to The Hunger Games." Maggie Stiefvater

In a perfect world, what is there left to fear? A chilling and thought-provoking sci-fi novel from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman.

A dark, gripping and witty thriller in which the only thing humanity has control over is death.

In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ("gleaned") by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes' apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn…

Aurora Rising

By Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff,

Book cover of Aurora Rising

Devri Walls Author Of Magic Unleashed

From the list on not requiring a genealogy chart to track the story.

Who am I?

As a bullied teenager I wanted to escape and fantasy was my drug of choice. (My parents may have grounded me from the library, which by the way—not cool.) I love working within fantasy worlds and magic systems but my true passion lies in the story itself. I write character based books focusing on the inner workings of all of us. Occasionally when writing a battle scene in a gladiator arena with three levels, multiple characters with magical abilitiesm and a secondary magical system in the background, I wonder why I can’t just tell a story in freaking Chicago for goodness sake! But fantasy is where it's at for this girl! 

Devri's book list on not requiring a genealogy chart to track the story

Why did Devri love this book?

I’m a sucker for good dialogue and this is about as good as it gets. This book nails sarcasm, wit, and humor. You can hear every quip and see every facial expression as you spend the entire book wishing you could have a seat in that spaceship—even if they are facing certain doom. I basically wanted to be best friends with every character… and the authors. (So umm *clears throat* if anyone has Amie or Jay’s number…hook a girl up.)

By Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Aurora Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Aurora Rising is to sci-fi what Stranger Things is to the cinema of the eighties - a fusion of everything you love about the genre that adds up into something completely fresh.' Samantha Shannon

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling authors of The Illuminae Files comes a new science fiction epic...

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would…

These Broken Stars

By Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner,

Book cover of These Broken Stars

Nichole Giles Author Of Water So Deep

From the list on YA fantasy you should have read ten years ago.

Who am I?

I’m an author of Young Adult Fantasy fiction. When my oldest was six, I started reading Harry Potter to him. It was such a bonding experience that we both cherish. We still talk about the stories, even though he's all grown up and lives away from me most of the time. The thing about fantasy is that stories set in worlds or with people that don’t actually exist make it easier for us to swallow deep meanings, storylines with which we can identify, and that crawl deep down into our souls and nest there. It’s not just about escaping into a fantasy world, but about finding human experience in otherworldly situations and characters. 

Nichole's book list on YA fantasy you should have read ten years ago

Why did Nichole love this book?

You know that question about being stranded on a desert island with only one other person and a spaceship? Oh, wait. I think that’s supposed to be a sunken ship. This story has a bit of a similar feel, only instead of an island, it’s a deserted planet, and no one is coming to save Lilac and Tarver—so they have to save themselves instead. This one is a good mix of the rich-girl/poor-boy dynamic, (think Pretty in Pink, flip-flopped) with a hint of mystery, all in the style of Survivor. The depth of feeling is strong in this one.  

By Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked These Broken Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One of the most intense, thrilling, and achingly beautiful stories I've ever read."--Marie Lu, New York Times best-selling author of the Legend trilogy

The first in the New York Times bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner's sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen are the only survivors. 

Lilac is the…

The Electric Kingdom

By David Arnold,

Book cover of The Electric Kingdom

Julian R. Vaca Author Of The Memory Index

From the list on sci-fi (and one non sci-fi) for young adults.

Who am I?

I’ve been a creative writer for over a decade, and I always tell people that writers are readers first. As such, I’ve been in love with both young adult and sci-fi books since I was a kid. Fittingly, my debut book is science fiction for young readers. I believe this sub-genre has so much to offer. The really good, memorable books use high-concept ideas or conflict as a vehicle for exploring compelling, relatable themes. I have always believed that’s the best way to approach writing sci-fi. And, with The Memory Index, I took this approach to heart.

Julian's book list on sci-fi (and one non sci-fi) for young adults

Why did Julian love this book?

David Arnold's The Electric Kingdom is a beautifully written narrative imbued with love, tragedy, fear, and hope. It is a brilliant love letter to storytelling – a novel that cleverly subverts dystopian conventions and instead paints a wholly original painting of something deeply affecting and inspiring.

I don't want to mention any plot points at all for fear of giving too much away (the official synopsis should be more than enough to hook you). I will say this: I read the entire second half of the book in one sitting. His characters are fully realized—the secrets and tension always growing in a slow burn.

Arnold masterfully connects all his story elements in a riveting third act. And, once I came to the end, I found the book had changed me in subtle ways—as all the greats do.

I cannot recommend TEK enough. Arnold has written what is nothing short of…

By David Arnold,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Electric Kingdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestseller David Arnold's most ambitious novel to date; Station Eleven meets The 5th Wave in a genre-smashing story of survival, hope, and love amid a ravaged earth.

When a deadly Fly Flu sweeps the globe, it leaves a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are eighteen-year-old Nico and her dog, on a voyage devised by Nico's father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, raised in an old abandoned cinema; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together. As swarms…

House of Stairs

By William Sleator,

Book cover of House of Stairs

Aella Black Author Of Lock Down

From the list on YA about experiments gone wrong.

Who am I?

I am a former book editor turned writer and a lover of literature in all forms. Young adult literature will forever be my favorite. Though I’m no longer “young,” I have two teenagers who love YA as much as I do and we bond over these stories. Since one prefers contemporary & urban fantasy, and the other likes dystopian & epic fantasy, I read a lot of everything! I particularly enjoy books with characters who triumph over extreme adversity, and if you do too, then you'll like the books on this list.

Aella's book list on YA about experiments gone wrong

Why did Aella love this book?

This book was written in the mid-70s and “set in a dystopian America in the near future.” Fortunately, our present isn’t quite like this. Five 16-year-old orphans awaken to find themselves in a building with no ceiling, walls, or floor—only endless flights of stairs in every direction. It’s a story about human nature and the human condition, as well as a cautionary tale about government control. Supposedly written for young readers (what we’d consider “middle grade” today), I believe it’s better suited for teens and adults.

By William Sleator,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked House of Stairs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This chilling, suspenseful indictment of mind control is a classic of science fiction and will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.

One by one, five sixteen-year-old orphans are brought to a strange building. It is not a prison, not a hospital; it has no walls, no ceiling, no floor. Nothing but endless flights of stairs leading nowhere--except back to a strange red machine. The five must learn to love the machine and let it rule their lives. But will they let it kill their souls?  

"An intensely suspenseful page-turner." --School Library Journal

"A riveting suspense novel with…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in artificial intelligence, computer vision, and extraterrestrial life?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about artificial intelligence, computer vision, and extraterrestrial life.

Artificial Intelligence Explore 256 books about artificial intelligence
Computer Vision Explore 8 books about computer vision
Extraterrestrial Life Explore 199 books about extraterrestrial life