I'm over at The Book Smugglers today reviewing The Warrior's Apprentice for a guest dare. I gave Ana and Thea a list of genres outside my comfort zone and they suggested a book that would hopefully change my mind. I tend to avoid male protagonists, sci-fi and epic tales (among other things) and they came back with the third(ish) book in Lois McMaster Bujold's space opera. I loved it! I'm now a sci-fi convert (what do you know, it's not just for nerds!) and am on the lookout for more sci-fi of a YA bent, especially featuring female protagonists. Here's what I've come up with so far:
Enchantress from the Stars, Sylvia Louise Engdahl (1970)
Elana, a member of an interstellar civilization on a mission to a medieval planet, becomes the key to a dangerous plan to turn back an invasion. How can she help the Andrecians, who still believe in magic and superstition, without revealing her own alien powers? At the same time, Georyn, the son of an Andrecian woodcutter, knows only that there is a dragon in the enchanted forest, and he must defeat it. He sees Elana as the Enchantress from the Stars who has come to test him, to prove he is worthy. One of the few science fiction books to win a Newbery Honor, this novel will enthrall teenage and adult readers.
Podkayne of Mars, Robert A Heinlein (1962)
While accompanying their uncle, a wily politician, on a trip from Mars to Earth, Podkayne and her brilliant, but pesky brother are caught in a plot to keep Uncle Tom from an important conference.
This Place has no Atmosphere, Paula Danziger (1986)
It's the year 2057 and fourteen-year-old Aurora couldn't be happier with her life on Earth—she's part of the "in" crowd, her best friend is a celebrity, and Matthew has asked her to Homecoming. But Aurora's parents have new jobs on the moon, and she and her little sister must leave their friends and schools to go with them. Aurora is sure she will hate life on the moon, because there are only 750 people in the whole colony. What if none of them is a cute boy her age?
Friday, Robert A. Heinlein (1982)
Engineered from the finest genes, and trained to be a secret courier in a future world, Friday operates over a near-future Earth, where chaos reigns. Working at Boss's whimsical behest she travels from far north to deep south, finding quick, expeditious solutions as one calamity after another threatens to explode in her face....
Alien Secrets, Annette Curtis Klause (1993)
Puck, expelled from boarding school on Earth, is on her way to stay with her parents on the planet Shoon. On board the spaceship she befriends Hush, a native Shoowa who is also returning home in shame. He is desperately seeking a stolen treasure that was entrusted to him, a symbol of freedom for his people.
Puck and Hush must find the precious Soo before they reach Shoon. But who can they trust? And how will they save their own skins as they hurtle through space on a ship haunted by terrifying ghosts?
Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey (1968)
To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise—and take back her stolen birthright.
But everything changes when she meets a queen dragon. The bond they share will be deep and last forever. It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa’s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches. Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread, but there are very few of them left these days. Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world. . . .
Cordelia's Honor, Lois McMaster Bujold (1996)
In this two-part story, Cordelia Naismith, made an outcast after being forced into marriage with her arch enemy, finds further trouble when her husband is made the guardian of the infant heir to the imperial throne.
Beggars in Spain, Nancy Kress (1993)
Leisha Camden was genetically modified at birth to require no sleep, and her normal twin Alice is the control. Problems and envy between the sisters mirror those in the larger world, as society struggles to adjust to a growing pool of people who not only have 30 percent more time to work and study than normal humans, but are also highly intelligent and in perfect health. The Sleepless gradually outgrow their welcome on Earth, and their children escape to an orbiting space station to set up their own society. But Leisha and a few others remain behind, preaching acceptance for all humans, Sleepless and Sleeper alike. With the conspiracy and revenge that unwinds, the world needs a little preaching on tolerance.
Thanks to my dad for a few of these. Who else has recommendations for me? I sense a reading challenge coming on!