According to Goodreads, “space opera is a subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing powerful (and sometimes quite fanciful) technologies and abilities. Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale.” (https://www.goodreads.com/genres/space-opera)
Amanda, library teens specialist, has put together a list of young adult space operas (6th grade to adults). The following recommendations are all on display on the second floor Teenspace and compiled in Beanstack as a recommended reading list.
Aetherbound by E. K. Johnston
After escaping her abusive family’s interstellar merchant ship, seventeen-year-old Pendt lands on a remote space station run by the Brannick twins, and together they make plans to thwart the destinies they never wanted.
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Told in separate voices, eighteen-year-old Tyler Jones, top graduate of Aurora Academy, and a group of misfits and troublemakers embark on their first mission with Auri, a stowaway from the distant past.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The planet Kerenza is attacked, and Kady and Ezra find themselves on a space fleet fleeing the enemy, while their ship’s artificial intelligence system and a deadly plague may be the end of them all.
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Two star-crossed lovers must fight for survival when they crash land on a seemingly uninhabited plane.
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
When a long-term attack against her world by the alien Krell escalates, Spensa’s dream of becoming a pilot may come true, despite her deceased father being labeled a deserter.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Teenaged Amy, a cryogenically frozen passenger on the spaceship Godspeed, wakes up to discover that someone may have tried to murder her.
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
When their paths cross after a brutal attack Aly is falsely accused of making on Rhee, they are forced to work together to save their own lives and the universe.
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Teenaged soldier Noemi and an enemy robot, Abel, who is programmed to obey her commands, set out on an interstellar quest to save her home planet, Earth colony Genesis.
Starflight by Melissa Landers
The outer realm may be lawless, but it’s not like the law has ever been on Solara Brooks’s side. Since off-world travel doesn’t come cheap, Solara indentures herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich pretty-boy who made her life miserable in school. When Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets.
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Living on a violent planet where everyone develops a unique power meant to shape the future, Akos and Cyra, youths from enemy nations, resent gifts that render them vulnerable to others’ control before they become unlikely survival partners.
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Stranded on a spaceship speeding away from Earth, Romy is euphoric when she gets word that she will soon be joined by another ship, but as the Eternity gets closer, Romy begins to suspect that the captain has a mission all of their own.
Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aquirre
Petty criminal Zara Cole is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans chosen by the Leviathan to explore the outer reaches of the universe.
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Ana, an orphan found drifting through space, joins with an Ironblood boy to find the coordinates of a lost spaceship which may hold clues to her identity, as they end up discovering dark secrets in a forgotten part of the universe.
The Disasters by M. K. England
Nax and a handful of other space Academy washouts are the only surviving pilots after the school is hijacked by terrorists, but in order to spread the truth about the attack, Nax and his fellow failures must execute a dangerous heist.
Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis
Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen must save her brothers in this outer-space retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans.
Zenith : The Androma Saga by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings
Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Part of the first generation to be conceived in deep space, fifteen-year-old Waverly is expected to marry young and have children to populate a new planet, but a violent betrayal by the dogmatic leader of their sister ship could have devastating consequences.