Young Adult Dystopia has exploded over the last few years, and there are so many to choose from that knowing where to start is kind of overwhelming. That being said, some of these novels stand out and shouldn’t be missed. The below titles (and sequels) should be at the top of your to-read list.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Unwind by Neal Shusterman
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- Uglies by Scott Westerfield
- Delirium by Lauren Oliver
- Matched by Allie Condie
- Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien
Did I miss your favorite YA Dystopian story? Let me know!
Precisely one million souls exist, reincarnated over and over again. Then one night, a soul dies and the temple goes dark. She never comes back. Ana is born in her place, the first new soul since the beginning. Many people believe her existence is a threat and the woman who birthed her considers her a ‘no soul’ without any right to exist. At the age of eighteen, Ana leaves her care and sets out on a quest to discover the truth of her origins. Many stand in her way, but she also meets Sam who teaches her about kindness, friendship, and even love.
It is fascinating to be in Ana’s point of view as she hungers for a longer life than the mere span of seventy years and struggles with the feeling of being insignificant because she may only have one lifetime. The fast-paced story sprinkles touches of history throughout the book so that everything makes sense but is never an information dump. Ana is a likeable character, maybe not to deep in contrast with the people around her but she can’t be–they have all lived several lives compared to her mere eighteen years. Sam and Ana’s relationship is a prominent thread in the story, but dragons, sylphs, and the mysterious Janah make it much more than a romance.
I definitely recommend this book, and am excited to see what happens in the rest of the trilogy.
YA Dystopia at its finest, with mystery, danger, romance and sacrifice.
“Grace Somerfield was the first to die. The first in my fourth grade class, at least.”
From the very first line, Bracken paints a vivid picture of the broken world the main character, Ruby, lives in. At the age of ten, children either die or develop strange abilities that make them a menace to society. Parents ship their surviving children off to ‘rehabilitation’ camp, and the President of the United States manages to persuade America that he needs to stay in office long after his two terms have come and gone.
Sound a little farfetched? Then you haven’t heard Bracken describe it.
A fast-paced plot and life like characters ensure that readers will keep turning pages. Even in this first book, it is already evident that Ruby’s character is growing as she overcomes the obstacles thrown at her. Liam, Chubs and Zu might be secondary characters, but they are developed in a way that readers know exactly who they are, and still want to know more. A strong ending and a powerful hook guaranteed that I couldn’t wait to start on the second book.
The Darkest Minds is the first book in Alexandra Bracken’s Darkest Minds series. More information about the author can be found at the website listed below.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Every thought is known by all, but secrets still are kept…
The Noise germ killed every woman in Todd’s town and enabled the survivors to hear each other’s thoughts. Todd’s upcoming birthday and the rituals that follow will make him a man, but until then, his only companion is a dog that he never wanted in the first place. Todd stumbles across something he did not believe existed, a human girl. He quickly realizes that even though he can hear the thoughts of everyone in his settlement, secrets still exist. This one might cost Todd his life.
It took me a couple of chapters before Todd’s dialect stopped bothering me. As his character developed, I couldn’t imagine the mostly illiterate boy speaking any other way. Each character in the book has a distinctive voice, but my favorite was Todd’s dog, Manchee. It is a perfect representation of how I imagine a dog talking if they actually could. There is some violence in the book, but the overall meaning of the story justifies it. The novel fits in the young adult dystopian category, but the idea is fresh and original. I can’t wait to start on the sequel.
The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book in Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series. More information about the author can be found at the website listed below.
Eve by Anna Carey
A promising future turns into a living nightmare.
A plague ravishes Earth and wipes out most of the human population. The world that survives is a savage and cruel place. Eve is fortunate enough to have been rescued and brought to a girl’s orphanage. There, she is given a rich education and taught to fear all men except the king. She and the other girls are promised remarkable futures to help rebuild the world. When Eve discovers what the reality of that horrifying future is, she escapes into the wild. Eve is pursued by the king’s men and quickly realizes that nothing she has been taught is of any use in the real world. She manages to find friendship and maybe even love, but her freedom might cost Eve her life.
For me, this book had a few rough edges. The methods the king uses to keep the human race from dying out and Eve’s reactions to events in contrast with how she was raised bothered me, especially in the beginning. Despite that, the idea behind the story was intriguing enough that I decided to try to accept the story world for what it was. After I did that, it was hard to put the book down. Eve isn’t the best character in the book, but she does show the potential to do exceptional things in the rest of the series. Eve ends with a strong hook and enough unanswered questions that I definitely want to read the sequel to find out what happens next.
Eve is the first book of Anna Carey’s Eve Trilogy. More information about the author can be found at her website listed below.