21 Good Sci Fi Books For 8th Graders

Do you have an imaginative 8th grader in your life? Maybe you teach 8th graders. Maybe you are an 8th grader! Well, we've got a list for you: Good Sci Fi Books for 8th graders. The novels on this list have imaginative storylines from futuristic worlds. From adventure and exploration to dystopian and survival, these books have it all.

So settle in and find your next good book. Here are 21 sci-fi books for 8th graders that will leave you thinking.

Note the following list is in alphabetical order NOT by the best book.

1. The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1)

Rick Yancey - 2013


Cassie Sullivan has survived the first 4 waves. With each wave, fewer people survive and the world dips further into chaos. Now, the 5th wave is upon them. Cassie must avoid "Them" to stay alive and rescue her younger brother. 

The 5th Wave is certainly on the darker side when compared to other books on this list. Rick Yancey first book in a series of five explores the dark side of human nature in this dystopian story. The novel has been praised by critics for its characterization, pacing, and suspenseful plot.

Check it out on Goodreads.


2. Akata Witch (The Nsibidi Scripts #1)

Nnedi Okorafor - 2011


Born in America to Nigerian parents, Sunny is understandably a little lost when she and her family move back to Nigeria. It's only when she starts attending the local school that she makes a best friend, Orlu, and learns about the secret society of children who are born with magical abilities. When Sunny herself manifests a powerful power, she knows it's time to join the other akata witches and begin her training.  

Nnedi Okorafor's latest novel for young adults is an engrossing tale of a young girl's coming of age in a world of magic. Though some would categorize it with other fantasy books, Akata Witch blends technology science, and magic together. It's at least speculative fiction if not pure sci-fi. 

Check it out on Goodreads.


3. Cat's Cradle

Kurt Vonnegut - 1963 


John's a scientist. His life's work? Creating a new way to make ice. But his invention, ice-nine, comes with a twist. It has the potential to freeze the entire planet. On his journey to John becomes wrapped up in the search for the meaning of life and comes to understand that it is ultimately a futile quest.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle is a satirical science fiction novel. And I would gaurd against giving this to any 8th grader. The novel also explores the themes of religion, technology, and human destruction. These are certainly more mature themes. But the story is fun and Vonnegut's style is memorable.

Check it out on Goodreads.


Take delicious coffee on your journey to explore new worlds 

The Morning Lift Off coffee blend is a bold and full-bodied blend. Taste the robust chocolate, toasted marshmallows, & walnuts.

Enjoy a cup while reading a good sci fi book from this list.

Shop Morning Lift Off here → 


4. Caved of Steel (Robot #1)

Isaac Asimov - 1953


In the distant future, there are Spacers and there are Earthmen. The Spacers look down on the Earthmen. After the mysterious murder of a prominant Spacer police, Earthman and detective Elijah Baley must partner with a humanoid robot to solve the case.

Isaac Asimov is considered one of the best science fiction writers of all time. His writing influenced much of the sci-fi we now know and love. The Caves of Steel is a great introduction to his classic works and a fast read for the 8th grader reader.

Check it out on Goodreads.


5. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)

Marissa Meyer - 2012


Cinder is a cyborg mechanic who has been cruelly sentenced to life on the moon after being convicted of killing her stepfather. She is then chosen to be a part of a mission to return to Earth and save it from impending war with Mars.

Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles is a three-part series of young adult science fiction novels. It's a great series for middle schoolers all the way through high school.

Check it out on Goodreads.


6. Ender’s Game (Ender's Saga #1)

Orson Scott Card - 2004 


Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is special. He's 6 years old and playing computer games. But in reality, he's beating the best military minds in the world. Why? The world is hinging on destruction and they needed a master of warfare to protect them from a warring alien race.

Ender's Game is a timeless classic. Let this be your introduction to Orson Scott Card. Ender's Game is perfectly paced winning a Nebula Award in 1985.

Editor's note: This is the (or one of the) books that made me fall in love with sci-fi. I would highly recommend it to a young reader!

Check it out on Goodreads.


7. The Giver

Lois Lowry - 2006


Jonas is content. And he's told he's content every day. But during the "Ceremony of Twelve" where children are told what occupation they will do, Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver of Memory. What Jonas learns about the long history of human changes him and sets him on a path at odds with the rest of society.

Set in a future world where behavior is monitored and controlled. At first things are utopian. But Lowry slowly reveals the cracks in this future society leading to Jonas rejecting the premise of society. The book explores themes of autonomy, community, and finding your individuality.

Check it out on Goodreads.


8. Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)

Suzanne Collins - 2008


Katniss Everdeen lives in the 12th district. The poorest of all 12 districts across North America. And she has just volunteered as tribute for the 74th annual Hunger Games to protect her sister Primrose. Each year, Panem hosts a televised event called the Hunger Games. To win means prosperity for your district in the coming years. to lose is to mean death. 24 young people from each of the Twelve Districts face this challenge.

Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins has captured the public's attention since her debut novel, The Hunger Games is a fast-paced, suspenseful story. Most readers agree that her writing is gripping and her descriptions are vivid.

Check it out on Goodreads.


9. Jurassic Park

Michael Crichton - 1990


A technique to knit back together DNA from recovered archeology is discovered. Now, the entire human race is fixated on the zoo of dinosaurs known as Jurassic Park. But the discovery unlocks a prehistoric danger mankind is not ready for. 

Michael Crichton's groundbreaking novel was published in 1990 has been turned into a movie franchise. The first of which became a box office hit in 1993 with Steven Spielberg directing.

Check it out on Goodreads.


10. Lockdown (Escape from Furnace #1)

Alexander Gordon Smith - 2009 


14-year-old Alex Sawyer is imprisoned for a murder he didn't commit in the most secure prison in the world - Furnace Penitentiary. As he fights to survive in the harsh prison system, new horrors are discovered beyond the known horrors of being imprisoned. Creatures roam the jail in gas masks, killing indiscriminately. What will Alex do to escape?

If you're not up for the frights, move on to #11 on our list (it's probably not a great option for young readers). Alexander Gordon Smith's Lockdown is commonly reviewed as "truly terrifying". But on the flip side, SO MANY have a hard time putting this one down.

Check it out on Goodreads.


Take delicious coffee on your journey to explore new worlds 

The Morning Lift Off coffee blend is a bold and full-bodied blend. Taste the robust chocolate, toasted marshmallows, & walnuts.

Enjoy a cup while reading a good sci fi book from this list.

Shop Morning Lift Off here → 

11. The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner #1)

James Dashner - 2009


All he remembers is his name's Thomas. All he knows is that he's woken up in an elevator. When the doors open, Thomas finds himself in the "Glade" with a group of other teenage boys. Each day, two boys are picked to run the Maze and find an escape.

The plot is fast-paced with plenty of suspenseful surprises. The dialog is unique, but not so unique as to make it difficult to read. It's a real page-turner. In fact, the sci-fi book was so well-received that it was made into a movie series.

Check it out on Goodreads.


12. Ready Player One

Ernest Cline - 2011


The year is 2045. The world is a bleak and scary place. The only escape for many people is the virtual world of the OASIS, where they can be anyone they want to be and do anything they want to do. When the creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a challenge for anyone who wants to inherit his fortune. Wade Watts, a teenage orphan, is determined to complete the challenge and inherit the fortune.

When I talk to other sci-fi nerds, this is a rallying point. So many people love this book. It pleases every geeky part of people. It's also been critically acclaimed adapted into a movie and has won awards.

Check it out on Goodreads.


13. Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1)

Pierce Brown - 2014


Brown takes readers on an adventure through a future Earth where people have been forced to live in the underground and are ruled by a ruthless oligarchy. Determined to overthrow their oppressors, the characters must fight tooth and nail for control of an empire built on blood and iron.

Pierce Brown has done it again. The New York Times best-selling author of the "Red Rising" series has created a gripping, post-apocalyptic world that begs to be explored.

Check it out on Goodreads.


14. Ringworld (Ringworld #1)

Larry Niven - 1970


Louis Wu is recruited by Nessus an alien to join him, Speaker (another alien), and fellow human Teela Brown to explore an alien artifact. They discover a ribbon millions of miles long built around a distant sun called a Ringworld.

Larry Niven is one of the most renowned science fiction authors. He has written dozens of novels and short stories, many of which have won awards (including this one - Ringworld). Niven is known for his hard science fiction which focuses on fitting true science into functional works.

Check it out on Goodreads.


15. The Roar (The Roar #1)

Emma Clayton - 2008


Twins, Mika and Ellie live behind a wall that is meant to protect her from the animals who carry a deadly plague. Or at least that's what Ellie's been told her entire life. But the truth unravels before her and she's ready to escape at all costs.

Emma Clayton achieves a spot on our list for her well-written action scenes and strong characters. She has since gone on to write a second book in the series that received similar praise.

Check it out on Goodreads.


16. Rot & Ruin (Rot & Ruin #1)

Jonathan Maberry - 2010


A classic human against zombie flick puts mankind in a race to survive. A pandemic has wiped out most of the world’s population, leaving behind a wasteland of ruins and death. The remaining humans are left to fight for food, water, and safety as the undead threaten them every day. 15-year-old Benny Imura thinks apprenticing as a zombie hunter is boring. But when he gets his wish of having a new job, he's faced with challenges he never dreamed of.

Jonathan Maberry novel, Rot & Ruin, is a fast-paced read that grips the reader from beginning to end. This is a great choice if you're into post-apocalyptic zombie books with a thread of humor.

Check it out on Goodreads.


17. Skyward (Skyward #1)

Brandon Sanderson - 2018


Spensa, a teenage girl, wants one thing: To be a pilot. And she's determined to get her chance when she finds the remainder of an old ship that needs repair. Only, the ship is different. In fact, it might have a soul.

Brandon Sanderson is one of the most popular and well-known speculative fiction authors in the world today. He has written many successful books over the years and his latest, Skyward Brandon Sanderson, is no exception. The book is full of action, adventure, and suspense and it is sure to keep readers entertained from beginning to end.

Check it out on Goodreads.


18. Sleepers

Lorenzo Carcaterra - 1996


Four best friends living in New York playing pranks on their neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen. Life is good. Until one day everything is turned upside down and the boys find themselves caught in horrific home for boys. Decades later, the boys are now men. And they must face the dark secret of their past and the consequences of their decisions.

Carcaterra's style is elevated. Even with it's dark tone, Carcaterra brings out humor in the characters and compassion in the events of the story. A note of warning: The content can be disturbing. I would be discreet about who I give this novel to.

Check it out on Goodreads.


19. Steelheart (The Reckoners #1)

Brandon Sanderson - 2013


A decade ago, everything changed. Everyday men and women suddenly had extraordinary powers. Steelheart tells the story of David Robert Jones, an "hero" who has the power to turn himself into steel and fight on behalf of the people he loves.

Another one of Brandon Sanderson's young adult books on the list (He's one of the best in the business right now.). The pace is quick and the plot has some really satisfying payoffs.

Check it out on Goodreads.


20. The Vanished (Shuri: A Black Panther Novel #2)

Nic Stone - 2021


The Black Panther isn't the only Wakandan who fights for his people. His sister, Princess Shuri has a talent for uncovering clues and a heart to protect those who can't protect themselves. In this novel, she sets out to save a group of kidnapped girls.

This one's just fun. Nic Stone, known for her book Dear Martin, writes a fast-paced action thriller with fun characters. And the great news? It's part of a series! So you can get even more Shuri as you fall in love with the character.

Check it out on Goodreads.


21. A Wrinkle in Time

Madeleine LEngle - 1962


In a time-space continuum much different from our own, Meg Murry is sent to save her younger brother Charles Wallace from an evil genius called Dr. Calvin O'Keefe. Meg must cross through space and time to locate her brother he's harmed. Along the way they encounter odd creatures and worlds.

As an older book, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time still holds up as a standard. The novel has won awards like the John Newbery Medal and has been adapted into a movie.

Check it out on Goodreads.


Take delicious coffee on your journey to explore new worlds 

The Morning Lift Off coffee blend is a bold and full-bodied blend. Taste the robust chocolate, toasted marshmallows, & walnuts.

Enjoy a cup while reading a good sci fi book from this list.

Shop Morning Lift Off here → 

Honorable mentions

Alas, we couldn't include ALL the books that 8th graders would enjoy from the sci-fi genre. And there's a good number of middle grade books that didn't make the cut because the intended audience was too young. But there are 3 "honorable mentions" we'd be remiss if we didn't mention.

Check them out on Goodreads at each of their links.


So there you have it! That's our list of science fiction books for 8th graders.

BUT I would say this list is for just about anyone. From dystopian futures and a post-apocalyptic world to travel through outer space, there's an adventure series on this list for readers of all ages.

What do you think? Do you agree? If you pick up one of these amazing books from the science fiction genre, we'd love to hear from you! Send us a note at sip@scifi-coffee.com with your book review.

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