1) Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
Matt is the youngest worker on an airship, and he's hoping for a promotion. When a wealthy young lady comes aboard and tells Matt about her secret research project (which involves a creature scientists have never seen), he becomes drawn into her work. This book is full of action, and Matt is a compelling character. Technically, it belongs to the steampunk genre, but it's a fun read for sci-fi fans.
2) Matched by Ally Condie
This book shares many similarities with The Hunger Games, but it focuses more on relationships than action. It opens as Cassia is attending her match banquet, where she will essentially be engaged to someone the government has chosen for her, based on her personality and his. After her match is announced, a tiny technological glitch makes Cassia wonder if the government really made the best choice for her. She begins to push the boundaries of her society's expectations, wondering if individual choice is a necessary element of happiness.
3) The Limit by Kristen Landon
Matt's parents have spent too much, and according to a new government program, that means Matt can be taken from his home without warning and sent to a work house. After some testing, Matt turns out to be good at solving problems, so his work is full of interesting challenges. However, there's no word about when he can go home, and some of the kids working there are getting strange headaches. When Matt's younger sister arrives at the work house, he becomes determined to uncover whatever strange secrets are behind this government program.
4) The Giver by Lois Lowry
If you haven't ever read this book, you're missing out. Although the writing style seems simplistic, it is rich with important questions about what matters most in life. Jonas lives in a regimented culture where the same number of babies are born each year, where each child is assigned a specific item at each birthday, whether it's a stuffed animal, a bicycle, or a job. It turns out that Jonas is slated to become the community's new Receiver of memories of their cultural past. Talk about great power and responsibility! This book is a remarkable illustration of the conflict about whether ignorance is bliss, as well as what it means to be a responsible and moral member of society.
5) The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
This is a dark look at an ugly future, where various criminal gangs control areas around the wealthy, powerful center of government. The main character has learned how to survive in his own corner of the world, but when he receives a message that his young sister's life is threatened, he begins a quest that takes him through countless dangerous adventures. Rodman Philbrick is also the author of the award-winning Freak the Mighty.