98 books like The Calculating Stars

By Mary Robinette Kowal,

Here are 98 books that The Calculating Stars fans have personally recommended if you like The Calculating Stars. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Book Thief

Jesse Maas Author Of Not for the Faint of Heart

From my list on fiction books that capture the meaning of simply being human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about writing books that put good into the world and highlight meaningful and inspiring themes, which, in turn, means I am also passionate about reading books that do the same. I love to write and read books that leave the reader feeling like there is still good in the world, even when it seems to be very dark around us. If people read my books or any on this list, I sincerely hope they feel encouraged and inspired and enjoy them as much as I do.

Jesse's book list on fiction books that capture the meaning of simply being human

Jesse Maas Why did Jesse love this book?

My husband first recommended this book to me, and when he described it, he said it was written from the perspective of death, and I was not very interested in learning more about what exactly that meant. It took me years to finally follow his recommendation, and when I did, I was greatly surprised.

This historical fiction novel is very different than the others on this list, but it is inspiring all the same. Its unique narrative perspective challenges readers to think about life from a different point of view, and I thoroughly enjoyed the thought-provoking challenge.

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked The Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Life affirming, triumphant and tragic . . . masterfully told. . . but also a wonderful page-turner' Guardian
'Brilliant and hugely ambitious' New York Times
'Extraordinary' Telegraph


1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.


Book cover of Fever 1793

Elizabeth Langston Author Of Whisper Falls

From my list on fish out of water” historical novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved learning about the past. Whenever we travel for vacation, my family has become resigned to making a stop at a historical site, especially for Colonial America. It was no surprise to them that I set parts of my first published novel (and series) in 18th century North Carolina. Each novel on my book list is set in a different century and features ordinary people who, when thrown into extraordinary circumstances, respond with strength, courage, and grace. These historical “fish-out-of-water” stories remind us how much people have changed across time—and how they’ve stayed the same. 

Elizabeth's book list on fish out of water” historical novels

Elizabeth Langston Why did Elizabeth love this book?

When I first read Fever 1793—set in Philadelphia during a yellow fever epidemic—I thought it was a well-written and thought-provoking glimpse into how people would respond in a crisis. After re-reading it post-pandemic, I would now add “prophetic.” Mattie is a typical grumpy teen who would rather have fun than work in her family’s coffee house. But there is a deadly fever rapidly spreading through the city. Desperation unleashes her inner strength, allowing her to prevail over disease, fear, food shortages, unscrupulous thieves, and well-intentioned but poorly-managed medical science.

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fever 1793 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......

Book cover of A Wish After Midnight

Sharman Apt Russell Author Of Teresa of the New World

From my list on historical YA books with fantastical history.

Why am I passionate about this?

The fantastical attracts me as something not less real than the world but as a revelation of the world: the magic and beauty that underlies everything. This is pantheism, the belief that all parts of the universe are connected and deserve our awe and wonder. This is also social justice and how we treat all living things on the Earth we so remarkably and briefly share. As the author of some dozen published books, translated into nine languages, I also write about science and nature in adult nonfiction, as well as YA fantastical history and speculative fiction. Again, they are connected. I teach writing, and I love to write.

Sharman's book list on historical YA books with fantastical history

Sharman Apt Russell Why did Sharman love this book?

Two Black teenagers in New York are thrown back in time to the Civil War era. Suddenly the similarities and differences of what it means to be Black in America are also thrown into relief, past and present both converging and clashing. Genna is our first-person narrator, and through her, we live fully in two worlds—one in which she struggles to go to college and leave behind the dangers of her Brooklyn neighborhood and one in which she struggles to stay alive in a volatile society which offers little support to the poor and vulnerable of any race.

By Zetta Elliot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Wish After Midnight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Although there is plenty of history embedded in the novel, A Wish After Midnight is written with a lyrical grace that many authors of what passes for adult literature would envy." -Paula L. Woods, The Defenders Online

"Zetta Elliott's time travel novel A Wish After Midnight is a bit of a revelation...It's vivid, violent, and impressive history." -Colleen Mondor, Bookslut

Genna is a fifteen-year-old girl who wants out of her tough Brooklyn neighborhood. But she gets more than she bargained for when a wish gone awry transports her back in time. Facing the perilous realities of Civil War-era Brooklyn, Genna…

Book cover of Esperanza Rising

Nancy Blodgett Klein Author Of Torn Between Worlds: A Mexican Immigrant’s Journey to Find Herself

From my list on young people overcoming obstacles to survive.

Why am I passionate about this?

I pride myself on my independence and sense of adventure. I started traveling the world with my family when I was 3 and I haven’t stopped since. When you travel, you have to cope with new situations on a daily basis and navigate different obstacles to meet your needs. An interest in adventure and how people cope with new situations are the biggest reasons why I have a passion for books dealing with overcoming obstacles. Before I retired to Spain, I was a teacher of students between 10 and 15 years old. I chose two of the books I recommended to read to my students when I was a teacher. 

Nancy's book list on young people overcoming obstacles to survive

Nancy Blodgett Klein Why did Nancy love this book?

This is a great book about a young girl named Esperanza living a good life on a ranch in Mexico when she and her mother are forced to leave the country after family tragedy strikes. They go to the US during the Great Depression and have serious financial problems that they never had to deal with before. When she lived in Mexico, they had servants to do everything for them, so living in poverty in the US is a major adjustment. She doesn’t even know how to use a broom! This kind of detail makes for an interesting saga about a young lady overcoming obstacles to survive. 

By Pam Muñoz Ryan,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Esperanza Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Esperanza Rising joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!

Esperanza thought she'd always live a privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico. She'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike…

Book cover of The Martian

Adam Gaffen Author Of The Road to the Stars

From my list on to learn about hopepunk SF and why we need it.

Why am I passionate about this?

Why hopepunk, and why me? Look, it’s no surprise that you can look around today and find all sorts of indicators that we are entering Heinlein’s “Crazy Years.” Imagining a dystopian or grimdark future isn’t difficult; all you have to do is read the news. But I think that we are writing the history of the future right now, by the choices we make every day. Writing stories that present that optimistic view of the future is not just the right thing to do but necessary, at least to me. As Heinlein said, “A pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun…”

Adam's book list on to learn about hopepunk SF and why we need it

Adam Gaffen Why did Adam love this book?

Andy Weir has. In my opinion, come to define hopepunk: pushing towards a goal through difficulties, even if the goal doesn’t personally benefit the character.

His depiction of the plight of Mark Watney, the impacts Watney’s plight have on a global scale, and the hard science behind it all combine to create a compelling story. The sacrifices his crewmates and NASA officials make to push his rescue forward exemplify the “community over self” attitude common in hopepunk.

By Andy Weir,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked The Martian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old human error are…

Book cover of Artificial Absolutes

Paige Daniels Author Of Project Eleutheria: The Singularity Wars

From my list on scrappy space adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science Fiction was just something that we did as a family growing up. We’d always gather to watch various iterations of Star Trek as family. Family movie nights usually consisted of whatever science fiction titles the local movie rental place would have on hand, which usually meant watching a lot of B-movie junk, but it was fun. It might sound silly, but I think growing up with all those science fiction movies and books really informed my career choice, electrical engineer. You see, in these movies and books the women just got the job done. I thought, why can’t I do it too?? 

Paige's book list on scrappy space adventures

Paige Daniels Why did Paige love this book?

Full disclosure, Mary Fan and I partner on editing the Brave New Girls series. However, that doesn’t make this book any less awesome. Jane Colt is 20-something working a boring corporate job until she witnesses her friend, Adam, get kidnapped. Before she knows it, she’s embroiled in an interstellar chase along with her brother who has a past in the most lawless corners of the galaxy. This book is a little Blade Runner and a little Firefly, and it explores what it means to be human and the real meaning of family. I love this book because it is fast-paced with a fun and sometimes bratty (in a good way) main character. I’m a sucker for across-the-galaxy adventures and this book definitely delivers.

By Mary Fan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Artificial Absolutes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jane Colt is just another recent college grad working as an Interstellar Confederation office drone—until the day she witnesses her best friend, Adam, kidnapped by a mysterious criminal. An extensive cover-up thwarts her efforts to report the crime, shaking her trust in the authorities. Only her older brother, Devin, believes her account.

Devin hopes to leave behind his violent past and find peace in a marriage to the woman he loves. That hope shatters when he discovers a shocking secret that causes him to be framed for murder.

With little more than a cocky attitude, Jane leaves everything she knows…

Book cover of Polaris Rising

Evette Davis Author Of Woman King

From my list on dystopian stories for the bada** feminist in us all.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked in journalism, politics, and public policy for 30-plus years and watched as the extreme voices gained the most traction on either side of a debate. On social media, these minority views often dominate the discussion. 48 States is a stand-alone novel highlighting the problems of extremist viewpoints in a civil society. I also have another book series that features a political consultant who discovers she's a witch and joins a secret society that uses magic to manipulate elections to protect humanity. Bottom line: if I can’t fix political discourse for a living, I can write science fiction novels that contemplate how to do it.

Evette's book list on dystopian stories for the bada** feminist in us all

Evette Davis Why did Evette love this book?

I just flat out love this writer. Set in a galaxy far, far away, Jesse Mihalik has created a space opera featuring a set of daring siblings with superhuman powers who must battle to survive the cutthroat culture connected to their social status and the machinations of their power-hungry father who is always looking for advantageous alliances, regardless of the consequences to his children. I enjoy that she creates these amazing heroines who are vulnerable but fierce at the same time and they all ultimately find partners who love strong women. 

By Jessie Mihalik,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Polaris Rising is space opera at its best, intense and addictive, a story of honor, courage, betrayal, and love. Jessie Mihalik is an author to watch."--Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author

A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure-the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.

In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has…

Book cover of Cress

Elizabeth Caulfield Felt Author Of Wilde Wagers

From my list on historical novels that are light and silly.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach writing and children's literature at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and for many years worked as a librarian. (Once a librarian, always a librarian!) First and foremost, I'm a reader. The real world can be an unpleasant and depressing place, so I regularly escape inside books. Although serious books are great, it's also nice to escape to a world where you can laugh and not worry about anything too bad happening.

Elizabeth's book list on historical novels that are light and silly

Elizabeth Caulfield Felt Why did Elizabeth love this book?

I may be cheating here. Rapunzel is an old-time fairy tale, and Cress is a science fiction re-writing of that story, so I'm going to count it in this list as "historical." This is the third book in Meyers' Lunar Chronicles and it is my favorite of the bunch. Cress (Rapunzel) is incredibly smart and completely naive to the world. Her romantic interest is a completely dopey bad guy, who you shouldn't waste your time disliking. The odd situations they get themselves into mirror, to an extent, the famous fairy tale. Lots of fun.

By Marissa Meyer,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Cress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Cress is the third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, following Cinder and Scarlet.

Incarcerated in a satellite, an expert hacker and out to save the world - Cress isn't your usual damsel in distress.

CRESS grew-up as a prisoner. With only netscreens for company she's forced to do the bidding of the evil Queen Levana. Now that means tracking down Cinder and her handsome accomplice Emperor Kai. But little does Levana know that those she seeks, and the man she loves, are plotting her downfall . . .

As paths cross and the price of freedom rises, happily…

Book cover of Rocket Says Look Up!

Alison Hawkins Author Of Time to Go, Larry

From my list on children’s illustrated stories by Black artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a lover of the arts and spent a lot of time coloring and drawing as a young person. I remember the feeling of being fully immersed in picture books and cartoons. My interests led to a career as a graphic designer which turned into a career as an illustrator and author. There are so many wonderful children’s books that can engage young (and not so young!) readers that it was hard to choose just 5. Here are a few from artists that will wow you with creativity, humor, and imagination.

Alison's book list on children’s illustrated stories by Black artists

Alison Hawkins Why did Alison love this book?

Rocket is a little girl who loves outer space and the famous astronaut, Mae Jemison.

She’s on a mission to spread her enthusiasm for the subject and also to see the Phoenix Meteor Shower. Dapo Adeola creates the most endearing characters in this story. All the details in Rocket’s neighborhood and the characters’ wonderful expressions will keep you chuckling and totally engaged.

You might also be wondering where you can see a meteor shower near you!

By Nathan Bryon, Dapo Adeola (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rocket Says Look Up! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Meet Rocket--a plucky aspiring astronaut intent on getting her community to LOOK UP! from what they're doing and reach for the stars in this auspicious debut picture book. Honored as a Chicago Public Library 2019 Best of the Best Book!

A comet will be visible tonight, and Rocket wants everyone to see it with her--even her big brother, Jamal, whose attention is usually trained on his phone or video games. Rocket's enthusiasm brings neighbors and family together to witness a once-in-a-lifetime sighting. Perfect for fans of Ada Twist, Scientist and Cece Loves Science--Rocket Says Look Up! will inspire readers of…

Book cover of Deception Point

Zena Shapter Author Of Towards White

From my list on Arctic Circle philosophical suspense.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning speculative fiction author who loves logic and reason, so when philosophising over life’s greatest mysteries I often layer debate with scientific knowledge, and I found my way to the afterlife theories behind Towards White in my late teens. I was reading English at university at the time, but it wasn’t until I went to Iceland in 2001, and fell in love with the stark beauty of its lonely lava plains, steamy natural springs, glaciers, and auroras, that I was inspired to turn my ideas into a story. I then spent years thoroughly researching my theory, and wove it into a grippingly suspenseful arctic adventure. I hope you enjoy reading the result!

Zena's book list on Arctic Circle philosophical suspense

Zena Shapter Why did Zena love this book?

The search for truth is such a powerful force that, in the right circumstances, it can not only propel us to explore the darkest, coldest, and most dangerous recesses of the planet, it can make us question everything we know about life and death, love and betrayal. This classic thriller indulges readers with an exciting adventure across the snow and ice to explore one of the greatest scientific mysteries of all time: is there extraterrestrial life? But perhaps what makes this book so memorable, at least to me, is how deliberately the story tests our faith in friendship, family, and those we trust to lead us.

By Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deception Point as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the eve of a presidential race in which NASA's budget is a pivotal issue, the space agency announces the discovery of an ancient meteorite filled with fossils deep in the Arctic ice.

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