Take the cast of Ender's Game, the cyberpunk ethos of Neuromancer, the tech of the Matrix movies, and the classroom setting of Hogwarts. Boom. This amazing book.
This coming-of-age war story follows teenager Tom Raines as he is recruited into a futuristic adventure. Living in the late 21st Century, World War III is being waged throughout the solar system. Brilliant teens are made into living computers who control drones with their minds, waging epic space battles to avoid destroying earth. There are five divisions of teens-in-training at the Pentagonal Spire -- a institution that I couldn't help but compare to the different houses at Hogwarts. Instead of wands and spells and potions, they have Trojan programs and firewire pranks. Great stuff.
S.J. Kincaid wrote a killer debut for teen and adult gamers and sci-fi buffs. She paints a compelling picture of future repercussions humans may face and how the lines continue to blur between people, technology and privacy. Her Hunger Games-like tone warns against authoritarian rule, the power of money, and corporate-interest over public-interest. In addition to a great plot, I loved how this book presented memorable and empathetic characters from both sexes. This book a total stand-out.
Recommended by Matthew Lowder