The Martian, by Andy Weir
My husband and 15yo child told me I had to read this book right away, as soon as possible. "But it's RIP right now!" I protested. "I'm trying to focus on scary books!"
"The Martian is scary," they pointed out.
"It's supposed to be more like Gothic or horror," I explained. "It's called Readers Imbibing Peril."
"There is peril on every page! He spends the whole time in peril!" they said.
Well, that was pretty convincing. So my final RIP title is The Martian.
In the near future, NASA is sending manned expeditions to Mars. It takes a really long time to get to Mars! During the Ares III expedition, a month-long mission is cut short by a bad storm. As the astronauts struggle toward the module that will take them back into space, the most junior member of the team is struck by flying debris and thrown out of sight. His biometric systems all show him to be dead. The team has to give up the search and leave without him, but Mark Watney is alive.
Once Watney wakes up, he realizes what's gone wrong--and that if he can figure out how to survive for four years, he could meet the next Mars expedition at their landing site. Watney is an engineer and botanist, so he starts working on one problem at a time. Water. Food. Communications. And every day, Mars does its best to kill him.
This is a great, exciting SF novel. Everything in it is carefully researched and possible; Weir got all the orbits right and everything. There is a lot of engineering talk, which you can enjoy or kind of skim. Watney is a fun guy who is easy to root for; Weir does not go all dark and psychological in his book. I suspect that in order to have the story work at all, you have to make your survivor an extremely stable personality with a penchant for jokes. He does take care to point out that any astronaut chosen for a long-term mission would have to be like that, so it's not totally out there, and it lets Weird focus on the survival stuff.
It's hard to put down once you get into it, which is pretty quickly. About 30 pages from the end I started begging my teen to just reassure me of Watney's survival. She wouldn't.
I really enjoyed it, it's exciting and fun, and incidentally I learned a lot about Mars. I haven't seen the movie yet, but we do plan to go.