I remember reading the Andromeda Strain by Michael Chriton as a kid in primary school and being quite freaked out by the movie and the concepts that Michael Chriton writes about. We also watched the movie in school and it was eery, especially in the opening scenes of the movie and book.
Michael Chriton has quite a fascination with science, technology and the consequences and ramifications that advances in those areas have on society. He seems to have a common thread in his novels about what we could be bringing on ourselves by the uncontrolled and monitors pursuit of scientific advancement. From what I have read he is not against the advancement of science, but rather that we need to think through the consequences of them.
The Andromeda Strain is an interesting commentary on the consequences of space travel and research about space. The lack of foreknowledge about what the researchers are studying leads to VERY dire consequences.
The Andromeda Strain is a relatively easy read that looks at some very deep concepts. I would highly recommend this book, although as a parent you might want to read it yourself so that you can determine if you child is ready for it. It would be suitable for teens, but maybe not for pre-teens.
Below is a trailer for the original movie. There has recently been a mini-series made based on the book, but the original movie stays very close to the original, whereas the new series takes a lot of creative liberty with the story line.