Science Fiction/Fantasy

4 YA Books to Read if You Liked Ready Player One

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Simone Jung

Staff Writer

Simone is a bookstagrammer with a penchant for writing. When she's not working at her day job, she spending her nights following the rabbit hole of good reads. She's an advocate for diverse reads, but she also loves a good thriller, a romantic meet cute, a coming-of-age story, a historical drama, and the everyday mishaps of life. You can find her blogging at

With Ready Player Ones release, now is the perfect time to pick up the book for the first time or reread it. While I’m really excited about the movie being produced, I’m afraid that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book. It definitely appealed to my science fiction side and my video game side, but overall I didn’t really enjoy it.

I know that many people here did and that’s great! The story spoke to you better than it did me and sometimes that happens. But I wanted to find some other YA books like Ready Player One that might take place in a video game–esque world where strong teens are hacking the systems bridging the gap between what is real and what is virtual.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably want to read Ready Player One before you see it. However, if you’re looking for something else in the meantime, here’s four books YA books like Ready Player One that can challenge your brain with their augmented realities:

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Catarina is a gene-hacker. In this science fiction novel, DNA is programmable as a computer, so if you wanted to hack into someone’s DNA and change a few things, then it’s completely possible.

However, with humanity about to die out, Catarina must take her father’s gene-developing work and help to bring the survival of the human race. While this isn’t a strict video game novel, this does have some more dystopian/science fiction feels to it.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

What if you were a kid training to fight against a pre-emptive alien attack against the world? Well, you would do your training in a virtual world against virtual enemies in hopes to take what you learn and lead your troops to victory.

Little does Ender know that what may feel like a game is actually reality. In this dystopian sci-fi novel, who can you really trust? After all, it’s all a game right?

Editor’s note: Scott Card is a vocal homophobe who uses his income to support those “causes,” so this one might be best borrowed from a friend or picked up second-hand.

Warcross by Marie Lu

Very similarly to Ready Player One, this book written by the amazing Marie Lu is the story about Emika Chen and how she is able to hack into the final game of the world’s most popular video game, Warcross. The game is considered un-hackable, but that’s not a problem for Emika.

When the creator of the game asks for her help to save the world, she implants herself on one of the champion Warcross teams. The kicker? Well, I guess not every video game is made for the enjoyment of others.

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley

If you’re a huge fan of video game culture like Wade Watts, then you must also be a huge fan of the graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim.

While it’s not like the virtual game world Wade Watts finds himself in, you get to follow along as Scott Pilgrim lives out a real video game where the ultimate boss battle has some pretty sweet rewards.


What are your favorite YA books like Ready Player One? Get even more recommendations (25 of ’em) for books like RP1.