What with the popularity of steampunk, there are a WHOLE LOT of books that feature airships. As there are SO MANY, I've tried to focus on stories in which the majority of the action takes place ON AN ACTUAL SHIP.
Here are a very few of them!
Emilie and the Sky World, by Martha Wells:
In Emilie and the Hollow World, which I wrote about over at Kirkus, Emilie stows away on a MAGICAL SUBMARINE and has a very Jules Verne-y adventure. It is an AWESOME book, perfect for readers who're always looking for old fashioned adventure stories. Shipwrecks, sunken cities, action, adventure, different cultures and species, politics and family drama, a plucky heroine (who, by the way, is described as having "brown skin and dark eyes," as are most of the other people from her region), a super blend of fantasy and science fiction elements, a strong emotional core, humor, heartache, and even a smidge of romance.
In Emilie and the Sky World, our heroine—who is now employed by the folks she stowed away with in the last installment—heads into the sky (duh), where she has ANOTHER adventure, this time involving a patchwork planet, a missing expedition, an intelligent plant-based lifeform, and yes, there's another stowaway. Like the first book, it's super-fun in every way, and this one has the added excellence of multiple storylines about trust, friendship, and family dysfunction that play off of and complement each other really nicely.
I LOVE THIS SERIES, AND WANT MORE PEOPLE TO READ IT.
SO READ IT, MORE PEOPLE.
Etiquette and Espionage, by Gail Carriger:
In this book—I still haven't read Curtsies & Conspiracies, so I can't speak for that one—Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is located on a bunch of connected dirigibles. Which adds even more entertainment value to a world and plot that is already bursting with it.
How have I not written about these? Traction cities! Pirates! And yes, LOTS OF AIRSHIP ACTION! Just looking at the cover art makes me want to read them all over again.
Okay, these were actually published for the adult market, but there were some sexytimes that OCCURRED on an airship in the first book, and one of the main characters in the second one is an airship captain, so I'm including them.
And, now for a bunch I haven't read:
Take Back the Skies, by Lucy Saxon
Girl stows away on an airship to avoid an arranged marriage, but it turns out to be a smugglers' ship; adventures and romance ensue. This one is due out next week, and is the first in a SIX-BOOK SERIES.
I know, I KNOW. I'll get to them! (Especially the Oppel series, as the comparisons to Verne and Stevenson are PULLING ME IN. I think I might even have Airborn on my Kindle. But then again, Josh loved Leviathan, so I should probably buy the other two so that we have them in the house...)
Multiverse story about a boy from our world who hooks up with the crew of the airship Everness (and gets romantically involved with the captain, I think?) and proceeds to have lots of adventures. The cover art of the first one, especially, doesn't do much for me, but the book itself sounds SUPER, so I'm bumping this one right up the list.
A society girl is accused of unlawful magic and is headed for a live of slavery as an airship battery... or something like that. Every description I've read has been slightly different.
Charmed Vengeance, by Suzanne Lazear
This is actually the sequel to Innocent Darkness, which appears to be a futuristic-steampunk-faerie-reform-school mashup. After the events of the first book (which, based on the descriptions I've read, sounds ridiculously fun), the heroine joins the crew of an airship. SO ONTO THE LIST IT GOES.
Girl Genius, by Phil & Kaja Foglio
Steampunk comics that take place (in part) on/in an airship city! I AM SO THERE.
Quillblade, by Ben Chandler
Twin slaves on an airship that gets hijacked by a guy on an altruistic (OR IS IT??) mission.
Uncrashable Dakota, by Andy Marino
ANOTHER airship hijacking, this one was apparently at least partly inspired by A Night to Remember. It's had pretty mixed reviews, but I'm curious enough that I'm planning on giving it a try.
Did I miss your favorite? Let me know in the comments!