Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

steelheartIn the first few pages of the book Steelheart, the world was hit by a burst of energy in the sky. It came to be known as a The Great Calamity. When the Calamity hit, a small number of people developed super powers just like in superhero movies. These people were referred to as Epics. For the most part, these Epics took over cities and acted like villains instead of heroes. But there wasn’t a whole lot anyone could do to stop them and nobody really tried.

But there are some groups of regular people who tried to fight the Epics. One of these groups is in Chicago. It is called The Reckoners. These guys spend their time trying to find the weaknesses of each Epic and defeat them. One of them is a teenage boy named David.

When David was a little boy, an Epic named Steelheart took over Chicago. Steelheart also killed David’s father right in front of David. Up until this point, no one has even been able to hurt Steelheart or find his weakness. But David has a secret that no one else knows. When David’s father was killed, he saw Steelheart bleed. David thinks he knows how to kill Steelheart and he will try by any means necessary.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Icvr9781416912057_9781416912057_hr[1]t’s the near future and the United States has fought a second civil war. This time it was between members of the pro-choice and pro-life movements. They ended it with a compromise. Abortion of fetuses is illegal, but children between the age of 13 and 18 can be “unwound.” You, should your parents or the state decide, because you are out of control or no longer useful, could be sent to a facility and have all of your organs removed and transplanted to a donor who needs replacement organs. You are not technically murdered because you will live on in other people.


Conner is a troubled, rebellious boy whose parents have given up on him. Risa is a ward of the state. She is a talented pianist who is apparently not talented enough to make it past adolescence. And Lev is a tithe, a boy who has grown up knowing that his family’s obligation to God is not money to support a church, but instead the sacrifice of his life.

All three are about to be unwound.


Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link


Who knows why the monster didn’t eat James Lerber…right away…Maybe it was because he was a geeky kid from Chicago who thought monsters were cool and who didn’t want to go to camp in the first place. Maybe it was because the other guys made him wear a dress and he was covered in mud. Maybe it was because the monster was already too full after eating all of the campers in Barracks 4 and 6.

The Wrong Grave

He should never have gone back for the poems he had impulsively put in his dead girlfriends coffin, but Miles was one of those self-involved poet types. He had to try to dig up her grave almost a year later to try to get the poems back. Too bad it was  the wrong girl in the grave who then decided to follow him home so she could teach that idiot a lesson.



Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

ugliesIn the book Uglies, it is a few hundred years from now. All of our social problems have been taken care of. Not only have the scientists in this future figured out how to use technology to make sure everyone is housed and fed, they have also figured out how to make everyone equal. There is no judging people based on their appearance. No racism. The reason? Everyone looks like this [show slide of actors].

At the age of 16 everyone is required to get an operation that turns from an Ugly (normal) into a pretty. Plastic surgery turns you into the ideal beauty. At least the ideal in Hollywood and fashion magazines.

Tally Youngblood is going to turn in a few months. Like other Uglies, she enjoys riding on her hover board and playing pranks on her teachers and other adults. And of course she is looking forward to the operation that will turn her into a Pretty. They might shape her eyes, extend her legs, and raise her cheekbones. It is the event that every teenager looks forward to (not getting her driver’s license).

When you are turned into a Pretty, you spend the next few years attending parties and living a care-free life. Non-stop parties with the other Pretties in a nice apartment in New Pretty town.

Then she meets Shay who quickly becomes her closest friend. Shay doesn’t plan to get the operation. She tells Tally about a place called The Smoke. In The Smoke, people live without the technologies that have made life so easy and care-free where Tally lives. Smokies prepare their own food and live using the old ways. Most importantly, they don’t get the operation. Shay has offered to take her to the Smoke where she can meet the mysterious David, a boy who has lived his whole life there. Tally is not sure such a place really exists.

But The Smoke is a threat to the Pretties way of life. When the day for Tally’s operation arrives, instead of being going to the operating room, she is taken to the Department of Special Circumstances. She is given a choice: Go with Shay to the Smoke so the Specials can locate the colony or never get the operation.

This is her choice: Betray Shay and live the life she was meant to live or remain an Ugly forever.



Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

ashes17 year Alex is hiking in the mountains when, in the course of a few minutes, civilization as we know it comes to an end. It probably wouldn’t have mattered too much to her anyway. Both of her parents were dead and she had a brain tumor that would kill her in the next few months. What changed everything was an Electromagnetic Pulse that fried all electronics within its reach.

Alex had stopped on the trail to talk to a bratty eight year old girl named Ellie and her grandfather when it happened. The grandfather’s pacemaker was destroyed in the blast, killing him instantly. Alex got a massive nosebleed and, strangely enough, regained her sense of smell, a sense that the brain cancer treatment had taken away from her.

Now on their own, they soon discover something even worse than a world without electronics. The brains of most people, except for children and the elderly, have been altered by  the blast. The change has turned them into mindless cannibals with a single focus — feed on human flesh.

Now Alex and Ellie must find a way to survive the wilderness, avoid being eaten or being killed by other survivors who are only out for themselves.



Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

robopocalypseThe time is a little bit in the future from now. No one notices when it happens. Machines start to malfunction in a series of seemingly unrelated incidents that only make sense later.

A domestic robot, the kind that we have built to do domestic chores, goes into a frozen yogurt shop to get its owner some yogurt. All of a sudden, the robot starts to go crazy and tries to murder the store employees.

In another incident, a smart doll (think talking dolls like we have now, but smarter) that belongs to the daughter of a senator, starts to seem more self-aware and menacing than a little girl’s doll ever should.

And so it goes, around the world until zero hour.

When zero hour arrives, all of our technology—our computer networks, smart cars, robots, our power grids, our aircraft guidance systems and anything else with a computer in it (which by then is most things, comes alive.

All of our machines unite with one goal. Kill all human beings.

Behind it all is on powerful artificially intelligent computer named ARCOS, a computer program that has decided that humankind is obsolete. Starting now.


Legend by Marie Lu

legendIn the distant future, the United States has been split in half. The Western half is called The Republic and it is constantly at war with the other half, The Colonies. This means that most of the wealth and resources are concentrated in the war effort, and if you are a soldier, or otherwise useful to the war effort, then you are probably rich and powerful. If you are not, then you are destined to live in the slums, hungry and without much hope.

One teenager, 15 year old Day, is a kind of Robin Hood, fighting for the poor and causing trouble for the rich and powerful. He is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. One night when Day attempts to steal medicine from a hospital,  he is ambushed by soldiers. One of the soldiers is killed and Day is blamed for the death.

Another teenager, a brilliant 15 year old girl named June, is being groomed to be an officer in the Republic’s army. The soldier who was killed was her older brother. She vows to find Day and get revenge for her brother’s death. She volunteers to go undercover to find Day and bring him to justice.

Of course, nothing is that simple or easy. When she finds Day, she realizes that maybe that the government to which she has sworn her allegiance is not telling the whole truth about this boy or, as it turns out, about a whole lot of other things.



Darkness Creeping by Neal Shusterman

darknesscreepingThis is a collection of scary and sometimes funny short stories. Let me tell you about a few of them.
A nerdy kid who is constantly getting picked on finds a way to get revenge.
Two cousins are entrusted with a sacred box with a button on it . It is an ancient box that has been in their family for centuries. They are warned never to push the button because it will destroy the world and everything in it.
Find out what the phrase “growing pains” really means. One kid finds out when some creepy doctors visit his room in the middle of the night with a bone saw.
A teenage girl is called on to be the referee in a soccer game that will decide who wil win the battle between good and evil.
A big brother discounts his little sister’s nightmares about monkeys coming down their chimney are real until one night he hears a noise coming from the chimney…


Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

hungergamesIn the not too distant future, the United States has nearly destroyed itself with war, famine, and drought. What remains is a new country called Panem. It is divided into 12 districts, all of which are kept under strict control by the Capitol. The people in the districts are kept poor, hungry and obedient.

Once a year, districts are given a chance to earn some more food for its citizens, as well as some prestige. Each district holds a mandatory lottery where the names of two kids between the ages of 10 and 16 are selected from all the children of age. One boy and one girl are selected to compete in the Hunger Games. The yearly contest is supposed to be an entertaining contest of skill and strength. But it is much worse than that. It is a fight to the death where only one contestant out of the 24 makes it out alive. Everyone in the districts is required to watch the games on television.

Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen is chosen from District 12. She is a skilled hunter who supports her mother and younger sister by hunting illegally in the woods. The boy, Peeta, is her age as well. In our time, they might have been friends, maybe even more. But in the Hunger Games, there are no friends, only survivors.



Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

552886[1]Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, and Maximum Ride. 6 kids are living off the radar in a cabin in the woods. No parents, no school. These kids aren’t your normal runaways though.

They grew up in an evil place called “the school,” a facility that performs experiments in genetic engineering. Their caretakers were a group of adults who they refer to as the “white coats.”

These six were the result of a successful experiment. They are 98% human and 2% bird. They have wings which allow them to fly, they are really strong, as well as a lot of other special gifts because of they were made.

The white coats want them back. They have sent Erasers to track them down. The Erasers are a terrifying mix of human and wolf…with weapons.

The Erasers kidnap Angel, the youngest of the group, to perform experiments on. The other kids will do whatever it takes to get her back before it’s too late.

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is a race against time to rescue Angel and to discover the secrets of where they came from.


Recommended Reading: Escape!

Stories about teenagers held against their wills trying to escape before it’s too late.

F Bodeen,S
Bodeen, S. A. The Compound.
When a nuclear war starts, Eli’s billionaire father rushes his family in into their underground compound. They have everything they need to survive until it is safe to go above ground again. But when things start to go wrong, Eli realizes the real danger is not just on the surface but within his own family.

F Dashner,J
Dashner, James. The Maze Runner.
When Thomas wakes up on the lift, all he can remember is his first name. When the door’s open, he finds himself in a huge maze with stone walls called the Glade. He is surrounded by a group of boys his own age who have a similar story. Every 30 days a new boy arrives, but no one has ever escaped the Glades.

F Henry,A
Henry, April. Shock Point.
When Cassie finds out that her psychiatrist stepfather Rick has been illegally prescribing an experimental drug to teen patients who have then committed suicide. To silence her, Rick commits her to a sadistic boot camp for troubled teen in Mexico called Peaceful Cove.  Even if she can escape the brutal camp, she has to get through the Mexican desert and get back to Oregon. And even then, who will believe her story?

F Smith,A
Smith, Alexander Gordon. Lockdown: Escape from Furnace.
Furnace Penitentiary is the world’s most secure youth prison. It is a mile underground and its inmates are all serving life sentences. The guards and the other inmates are sadistic, but they aren’t the worst things about the prison. Alex Sawyer is a criminal, but he has been falsely imprisoned for murder. Together, with a group of other innocent kids and some cold blooded killers, Alex plans a dangerous escape.

F Strasser,T
Strasser, Todd. Boot Camp.
Harmony Lake is a boot camp for troubled teens and supposedly a godsend for desperate parents.  Like all kids at the camp, Garrett is taken in the middle of the night. He knows that some of the kids deserve there, but when he is beaten and subjected to psychological abuse, he knows he has to try to escape at all costs before it is too late.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

9969571[1]In the world of Ready Player One, James Halliday was kind of a big deal.  Like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. After all, he created the OASIS, a virtual reality game that had morphed into an Internet on steroids. It was a place where most of humanity went to school, worked, played  and even dated and got married (or at least their avatars did).

When the billionaire video game designer died, you would have expected a lot of news coverage, but, it was the year 2040 and global warming and constant war had almost destroyed the planet. Most people were in poverty or homeless. Who cares about some dead rich guy?

But it was his last will and testament that made everyone drop what they were doing and pay attention. Halliday was leaving all of his money (billions) and control of his company to the first person to win a video game.

It wasn’t just any video game either. To win the money, players had to travel across the OASIS, finding clues and solving puzzles on any of 10,000 virtual worlds.  All of the clues and puzzles reflected Halliday’s encyclopedic and obsessive knowledge of 80’s pop culture and players had to have the same. After 5 years, millions of players had not even been able to crack any of the clues, let alone solve a puzzle.

And then one day, Wade Watts, a poor teenager in a trailer park in Oklahoma City cracked the first clue…