Young Adult Dystopias

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Young Adult Dystopias

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May 12, 2008, 9:12pm

Hi everyone-

While I love dystopian novels, I especially love YA dystopias. Any recommendations?

I'll add The Giver, Uglies, Life as We Knew it and Feed to the list of great YA dystopian novels. Others?

May 12, 2008, 10:08pm

Hey blissful--nice to see you around on the forums.

I've heard a fair amount of buzz around Cory Doctorow's new novel Little Brother. I haven't read it yet, so I can't vouch for it.

On the advice of another LTer, I recently bought a copy of The Shadow Speaker, a YA novel by a Nigerian author. It's post-apocalyptic (nuclear war), so it might be up your alley. Again, though, I haven't read it yet...

May 13, 2008, 8:06pm

heh heh, I loved The Shadow Speaker . . . but I don't think of it as dystopian as much as post-apocalyptic. Life is different but no more screwed up than present day, imo. Would love to hear what you think of it, Medellia12.

For a post-apocalyptic juvenile novel, I recommend The City of Ember and its sequel People of the Sparks. I don't think of it so much as dystopian though.

May 28, 2008, 12:48am

Little Brother is _definitely_ dystopian. It deals with a near future of survellience and DHS crack-downs with strong echoes of 1984.

Hmmm, The Tripods Trilogy is a bit post-apocolyptic, but I think I would call it dystopian.

A number of William Sleator's YA fantasies have dystopian settings: The Green Futures of Tycho uses time travel to present a series of increasingly dystopian futures (although more at the level of the main character's family than society at large) and House of Stairs takes place in a society where orphans are used as fodder for psychological conditioning experiments.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH deals directly with negative impacts of technology on society.

The Phantom Tollbooth takes a more allegorical approach to a society that has lost "rhyme and reason".

There is a book I remember reading in the 80's, the second in a series about a child inventor, where the main character time-travels to a dystopian future in which computers dictate every aspect of life (career choice, etc.). Can't remember the name...

May 28, 2008, 1:02am

John Christopher, who wrote the Tripods trilogy, wrote quite a few other juvenile science fiction books where the protagonist has to make choice between a seeming utopia and a "more real" underworld - The guardians, Wild Jack and The prince in Waiting trilogy.

Heres one tag mash to trigger some more titles:,young%20adult

I like that Watership Down pops up on it.

Jan 13, 2009, 12:39pm

I've not read it myself but The Declaration by Gemma Malley is both Young Adult and dystopian.

Edited: Mar 9, 2009, 2:42pm

Shadow Children Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix -- In an overcrowded world where only two children are permitted per family, illegal third children are killed by the Population Police.

You didn't mention the other titles in the Uglies series (Pretties, Specials and Extras) or The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer or the other titles in The Giver series Gathering Blue, Gossamer and Messenger. Those books should be mentioned for those readers who aren't aware of them.

Does Holocaust literature count as dystopian? If so, add The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti.

Also, there is 47 by Walter Mosley, Octavian Nothing and Octavian Nothing, Vol II by M.T. Anderson. These are all slavery dystopias.

Bar Code Tattoo and Bar Code Rebellion by Suzanne Weyn are about a society in which everyone is required to get a bar code tattooed unto their skin. The bar code provides access to everything in society and even contains your genetic code.

Noughts and Crosses, Knife Edge and Checkmate by Malorie Blackman are a trilogy of books about a society where Blacks are in charge and Whites are their servants who have only recently been emancipated from slavery.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman is about a world in which parents can have their children executed if they are unhappy with them.

That's all I can think of right now, but I love YA dystopian literature as much as you do, and I'm a YA librarian, so I'll let you know if I think of more.

Mar 10, 2009, 9:38am

#5 - John Christopher also wrote The Empty World about a plague that kills everyone and the only survivors in London are 4 or 5 teenagers. Probably the most chilling post-apocalyptic novel I have ever read.

Jan 16, 2010, 6:28pm

You might add The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. (It's the first in a series, followed by Catching Fire and the third not-yet published book, the title of which hasn't been released.)

Jan 16, 2010, 6:39pm

Your question about Holocaust Literature falling under the genre of Dystopian literature is a really good one. Thinking about my definition of what makes a novel Dystopian, along with typical definitions from co-teachers, I personally wouldn't count Holocaust literature, because it's based on actual events from history.

Edited: Feb 11, 2010, 1:38pm

Anthem, Folk on the Fringe Orson Scott Card, Obernewtyn Isobelle Carmody, The Roar Emma Clayton, Hunger Games and Catching Fire Suzanne Collins, Maze Runner James Dashner, Little Brother Cory Doctorow, Tomorrow Code Brian Falkner, House of Scorpion Nancy Farmer, Dirt Eaters Dennis Foon, The Other Side of the Island Allegra Goodman, Sofwire series PJ Haarsma, Secret under my skin Janet McNaughten, The Host Stephenie Meyer, THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO NESS, Patrick, Adoration of Jenna Fox Mary Pearson, and Big Empty JB Stephens to name a few. : )

Apr 13, 2010, 2:48pm

I'm a librarian doing a project for work. I've posted this in a few other forums, so apologies for cross-posting.

If any of you are librarians, how do you look for dystopian YA novels in your catalog? "Dystopias" brings up only 4 novels in my catalog and it takes a lot of hunting and pecking to find other dystopias this way.

I know of websites to refer to (including librarything!), but I wondered if any librarians had a secret wonderful way to find them.

I appreciate any help you can give! :)

Apr 13, 2010, 5:06pm

I'm not a librarian, but are you familiar with LibraryThing for Libraries? I'm not particularly familiar with it, but I believe it integrates LT data (most importantly, tags) into your catalogue, so you could easily find the books you're looking for. It's not free, though.

Apr 15, 2010, 3:43pm

Oh, yes. I know about it. I'd love to have it. But, I'm not in charge of purchasing in any way and there are several layers of management above me. Right now I am just referring to many other non-catalog resources.

Thank you!

May 22, 2010, 8:19pm

#12 - I posted an article in the Young Adult Group that listed the forthcoming YA Dystopias for 2010 and 2011. You might have to search for it, but it is there. Ack - just checked my favorites list and the artcle is no longer available on-line, but it was Publisher's Weekly and it was February 15, 2010 - I hope this helps for suggestions.

I also recommend Unwind for YA dystopias.

Jun 13, 2010, 6:41pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Jun 13, 2010, 6:42pm

That's one of the resources I used. It was great! Thanks!

Edited: Jun 16, 2010, 1:00pm

HERE'S a recent New Yorker article titled "Fresh Hell:
What’s behind the boom in dystopian fiction for young readers?" by Lauren Miller.

Jun 22, 2010, 1:33am

I just read a pretty good YA dystopia called The Declaration by Gemma Malley. There is a sequel, but I haven't rushed to get it yet - more of a will read eventually as I had a problem with the central thesis of the book and couldn't completely suspend disbelief.

Dec 7, 2010, 8:16am

Restoring Harmony is a new dystopia published this year.
Would Shade's Children count as a dystopia? It's been a while since I read it.

Jun 27, 2011, 12:58pm

I just read Delirium by Lauren Oliver and it was pretty good. Its about a city where love is a disease and people have to get "cured".

Jun 27, 2011, 3:51pm

Is it just me, or are a lot of the recent YA dystopian releases focused on more "girly" topics such as that of Delirium? I'm looking at Matched, Wither, and Delirium, though Memento Nora and Across the Universe are also aimed at a similar audience.

Jun 27, 2011, 4:07pm

For delirium the author said she already wrote one about death(Before I Fall) so she wanted to write one about love.

I havent read any of the others except Across the Universe. But yea I see what you mean. But Delirium did have some action and brutal fighting(so it wasnt all lovey dovey haha).

Edited: Jul 10, 2011, 8:43pm

The Bridge by Jane Higgins (Australia)

"The Bridge is a gritty adventure set in a future world where fear of outsiders pervades everything. A heart-stopping novel about friendship, identity and courage from an exciting new voice in young-adult fiction.

The City is divided. The bridges gated. In Southside, the hostiles live in squalor and desperation, waiting for a chance to overrun the residents of Cityside. Nik is still in high school but destined for a great career with the Internal Security and Intelligence Services, the brains behind the war. But when ISIS comes recruiting, everyone is shocked when he isn’t chosen. There must be an explanation, but no one will talk about it. Then the school is bombed and the hostiles take the bridges. Buildings are burning, kids are dead, and the hostiles have kidnapped Sol. Now ISIS is hunting for Nik. This novel was the winner of the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing."

The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (UK)

"Women are dying in their millions. Some blame scientists, some see the hand of God, some see human arrogance reaping the punishment it deserves. Jessie Lamb is an ordinary girl living in extraordinary times: as her world collapses, her idealism and courage drive her towards the ultimate act of heroism. If the human race is to survive, it's up to her.

But is Jessie heroic? Or is she, as her father fears, impressionable, innocent, incapable of understanding where her actions will lead?

Set just a month or two in the future, in a world irreparably altered by an act of biological terrorism, The Testament of Jessie Lamb explores a young woman's determination to make her life count for something, as the certainties of her childhood are ripped apart."

Jul 27, 2011, 8:56am

Empty by Suzanne Weyn is a near future story in which the world's oil supplies are nearly depleted. YA books always seem to have a romance and Empty is no exception and in this case it didn't add to the story. The ending was a little tooooo perfect. I thought the descriptions about life without oil and its derivative products was good.
3-3.5 of 5*

Sep 11, 2011, 7:52pm

I'm reading The Giver as I've heard so many good things about it. Not sure how I overlooked it all these years.

Sep 12, 2011, 10:12am

Started The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman. Liking it so far.

Edited: Sep 26, 2011, 5:43pm

I can't find Divergent anywhere in this thread. It definitely deserves a spot here. Great book.

Oct 23, 2011, 5:27pm

I managed to obtain bk 2 of that series Pandemonium its out on March 2012 and that is really good too

Oct 23, 2011, 5:28pm

Apr 10, 2012, 5:15pm

I read Pure by Julianna Baggott and enjoyed it very much. I think she meant it as a YA (all the important characters are teens) but it's clearly being sold (according to price) as an adult book. It's action-packed, thought-provoking, and has certain inventive touches (I would call them Miévillian!) I think it might suffer by coming out while the Hunger Games movie is out.

Dec 6, 2012, 4:29pm

Anyone download The Algae Voices of Azule? I just finished book 2 and it was awesome. I got it off Smashwords, but also found it on other sites. Rumor has it there are more books coming and something big coming soon. I heard the title was The Crystal Tear, but it seems kinda hush-hush, maybe a big release???

Apr 4, 2013, 10:08pm

Divergent, Legend, Matched, Maze Runner

At least the first three have sequels

May 7, 2013, 11:37pm

Edited: Jan 10, 2014, 9:32pm

Anomaly, reboot,
ready player one while it is YA it is for all ages
legend, inside out, haven,
red rising is coming out this Jan (2014)

Jan 11, 2014, 1:29pm

Feb 11, 2014, 10:06am

Maze Runner also has a prequel The Kill Order. It's better if you read it last, otherwise it will spoil some things in the trilogy.

May 23, 2017, 8:09am

Sunwalker by S. T. Sanchez is a good one. It's post-apocalyptic with a few vampires thrown in the mix:)

Jun 16, 2019, 8:01am

What about Dark Eden by Chris Beckett.