Dune by Frank Herbert- ok, so I do love sci-fi, but I really liked these and once you read the first, the sequels and prequels just scream at you from the shelves. Herbert has created an amazing and complex system of worlds complete with varying cultures, societies, and governments.
Ender’s Game* by Orson Scott Card- classic science-fiction. I read this in 6th grade and it was passed throughout my honors reading class. My mom (a middle school teacher) recommends people red it in high school, not middle school. I didn’t really like the sequels, but I liked the shadow books: Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, First Meetings: In the Enderverse, etc.
Shade’s Children by Garth Nix- Creepy and quite Matrix-like. The main characters are children but live in a futurist society where coming of age means one’s body parts are harvested for use in robotics. A very dark book with underlying social and governmental criticism (like any good science-fiction novel). By the author of the Abhorsen trilogy (see fantasy section).
The Terrorists of Irustan* and The Child Goddess by Louise Marley- Unfortunately, Terrorists is out of print, though you can get it for very little if you buy it used on Amazon (and it is worth buying a copy). I started reading Terrorists in a Barnes and Noble, but didn’t have the money to buy it, so put it back on the shelf. I went back to read the second chapter, but still didn’t buy it. The third time I went to buy the book, but I didn’t know the title or author, just what the cover looked and felt like. Two years later, browsing the Sci-fi section at a library, I pulled out a book- with the correct cover! Then, two years later, while looking through a Society of Illustrators annual, what should I find but an image of the cover! Both books bring up currently relevant social and political questions.
The Handmaid’s Tale- by Margaret Atwood- for older readers (high school/adult). A 1984ish novel dealing with a future society where sex is strictly for procreation. If you liked Children of Men, try this.
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson- A very dark young adult novel, the first in a series (I have not read the rest of the series…yet). The children in this novel have all been genetically changed (they have wings, hence the “angel”). Unfortunately, the novel ends with no real conclusion, so have the next volume waiting. Not recommended just before bed. Though appearing a hefty tome, this can be polished off in a long night (and you will probably want to read it in one go). It is a tense, fast-paced book.