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Kaufman & Kristoff - Illuminae cover.png
AuthorAmie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
GenreScience fiction, Young Adult fiction, Fiction
PublisherKnopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date
October 20, 2015
AwardsPrime Minister's Literary Award, ABIA, Aurealis Award, Inky Award
Followed byGemina 

Illuminae is a 2015 young adult[1] space opera epistolary novel written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This is the first novel of the series The Illuminae Files.[2][3] The story is told through a series of documents including classified reports, censored emails, and interviews.[4] Illuminae is set in 2575 and is the story of teenage colonist Kady Grant and her fighter pilot boyfriend Ezra Mason.[5]

The series was acquired by Random House in a preempt in 2013.[6] The first book in the series was published in late October 2015. It debuted at #5 on the New York Times Best Seller List Young Adult Hardcover list,[7] and eventually reached the #2 spot.[8] Illuminae was nominated for the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award,[9] won the 2015 Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction novel,[10] the 2016 Gold Inky Award for best teen fiction,[11] and the 2016 Australian Book Industry Award Book of the Year for Older Children.[12]

The sequel, Gemina, debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list[13] and won the 2016 Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction novel.[14]

The third book in the series, Obsidio, debuted at #6 on the New York Times children's series list,[15] as the #1 young adult bestseller in Australia,[16] and as a USA Today bestseller.[17]

An 82-page prequel novella, Memento, was released as a pre-order bonus in the United States for the authors' subsequent unrelated novel Aurora Rising.[18][19]


The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other after almost breaking up—are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again![20]

Film adaptation[edit]

In November 2015, Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B Entertainment, and Warner Bros. bought the rights to Illuminae.[21][22] Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner are set to produce.[23]

Audio adaptation[edit]

The audiobook Illuminae, produced for Penguin Random House, is an Audie Award Winner. It is a full cast audio adaptation rather than a narrated audiobook, and features a cast of twenty starring Olivia Taylor Dudley as Kady Grant, Lincoln Hoppe as AIDAN and Jonathan McCain as Ezra Mason.


  1. ^ Feldman, Lucy (2015-12-08). "Best Books of 2015: Best of the Best-of Lists". WSJ. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  2. ^ Bell, Crystal (2015-09-21). "This Sci-Fi Space Adventure Will Be Your New YA Obsession". MTV News. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  3. ^ "Holiday romances are headed our way". USA TODAY. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  4. ^ "Bustle". Bustle. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  5. ^ Morris, Linda (2015-11-21). "Brad Pitt to turn Australian young adult thriller Illuminae into major Hollywood film". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  6. ^ "Literary Giant". November 11, 2013.
  7. ^ "Young Adult Hardcover Books - Best Sellers - November 8, 2015 - The New York Times". Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  8. ^ "Young Adult Hardcover Books - Best Sellers - November 29, 2015 - The New York Times". Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  9. ^ "This year's winners and shortlist: 2016". Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  10. ^ 2015 Aurealis winners
  11. ^ "Inky Awards winners". Archived from the original on 2018-02-06. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  12. ^ "ABIA awards (dead-url)". Archived from the original on 2016-09-04. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  13. ^ New York Times bestsellers
  14. ^ "Announcing the winners of the 2016 Aurealis Awards!". Aurealis Awards. 2017-04-14. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  15. ^ "Children's Series Books - Best Sellers - April 1, 2018 - The New York Times". Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  16. ^ "Jay Kristoff on Instagram: "In the past 20 days I have: - Visited 14 cities - Boarded 13 aircraft - Flown around 50,000kms - Signed countless books - Met thousands of…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-26. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  17. ^ "Obsidio". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  18. ^ "Aurora Rising Preorder Giveaway". Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  19. ^ "Aurora Rising Preorder Offer". 2019-03-01. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  20. ^ "Illuminae". Amie Kaufman. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  21. ^ McNary, Dave (2015-11-20). "Brad Pitt, Warner Bros. Developing Sci-Fi Movie 'Illuminae'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  22. ^ "Brad Pitt, Warner Bros Team to Adapt Sci-Fi YA Novel 'Illuminae' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  23. ^ "Brad Pitt, Warner Bros. Developing Sci-Fi Movie 'Illuminae'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-11-15.