Out of This World: Outer Space, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Don’t let the recommended grades fool you – if you’re interested in a certain topic, you’re bound to love the book.

Beyer, Kat. The Demon Catchers of Milan. 2012. 8th Grade
Mia’s ordinary life is disrupted for good in the most horrifying way possible: she’s possessed by a hungry and powerful demon. Her life is saved only by the arrival of relatives from Italy, the country her grandfather fled many decades ago. Now her cousins, the charming and gorgeous Emilio and stern, elderly Giuliano, say the only way to keep Mia safe is for her to come back with them to Milan, to live, to learn Italian, to fall in and out of love, and most importantly, to master the family trade: fighting all demons with the ancient lore of bell, book, and candle. Milan is not what Mia expected, but it will change her forever.
Ties in with: 8th Grade English

Billingsley, Franny. Chime. 2011. 10th Grade
In the early twentieth century in Swampsea, seventeen-year-old Briony, who can see the spirits that haunt the marshes around her town, feels responsible for her twin sister’s horrible injury until a young man enters their lives and exposes secrets that even Briony does not know about.
Ties in with: 10th Grade English and Social Studies

Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. 2002. 12th Grade
In a world where you can actually get lost (literally) in literature, Thursday Next, a notorious Special Operative in literary detection, races against time to stop the world’s Third Most Wanted criminal from kidnapping characters, including Jane Eyre, from works of literature, forcing her to dive into the pages of a novel to stop literary homicide, in a wildly imaginative, mesmerizing thriller.
Ties in with: 12th Grade English
Great for those who are taking AP Literature, and/or love alternative histories, or want to live in their favorite book. First book in a fantastically wild series.

Gaiman, Neil. American Gods. 2001. 12th Grade
On the plane home to attend the funerals of his wife and best friend, Shadow, just released from prison, encounters Mr. Wednesday, an enigmatic stranger who seems to know a lot about him, and when Mr. Wednesday offers him a job as a bodyguard, Shadow accepts and is plunged into a dark and perilous world, where the soul of America is at stake.
Ties in with: 12th Grade English
Of note: winner of the 2002 Hugo Award

Gill, David Macinnis. Black Hole Sun. 2010. 8th Grade
On the planet Mars, sixteen-year-old Durango and his crew of mercenaries are hired by the settlers of a mining community to protect their most valuable resource from a feral band of marauders.
Ties in with: 8th Grade English and Science
Of interest: first in a series; great for those who love space operas like Star Wars and Firefly

Grant, Mira. Feed. 2010. 10th Grade
In the year 2014, a new virus emerges; taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command, FEED. Twenty years later, two reporters, Georgia and Shaun Mason, will stop at nothing to expose the dark conspiracy behind the infected.
Ties in with: 10th Grade English, Biology, Chemistry
Read if: you’re interested in journalism, have watched every zombie movie out there, or wondering how good things can go horribly, horribly wrong. First in a trilogy.

Roach, Mary. Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in the void. 2010. 12th Grade
Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, and privacy. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? Or vomit in your helmet during a spacewalk? To answer these questions and more, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule, Mary Roach takes us on a surreal and entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
Ties in with: SCIENCE! Physics, Engineering, Biology