Enjoy this list of the best young adult dystopian books you’ve ever heard of. Plus, some you haven’t!
Best Young Adult Dystopian Books
If you love dystopian books, you have to check out this list of the best young adult dystopian books. Check out all twenty one books and you’ll have something to read for months to come. Need more books to add to your To Be Read pile? Check out my books or check out my FREE short stories.
Being a human lie detector is great… until you realize how often people lie.
Imara’s life is finally going the way she’s always dreamed. Until her sister is taken hostage by crazed fanatics, forcing her into a fight she wants no part of.
A hundred years in the future, Imara’s evolved senses as a truth seer give her an advantage over the obstacles ahead. But her gift is also a curse: years of baggage weigh heavily on her shoulders.
Imara descends into the catacombs, leading a rescue mission for her sister and the other hostages. Secrets are uncovered at every turn that threaten to tear the group apart and soon it’s not just the lives of the hostages that are at stake.
When Imara finally understands what the fanatic kidnappers are planning, she’s forced to make a choice that will change her life forever.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Winning means fame and fortune. Losing means certain death. The Hunger Games have begun…
Sixteen-year-old Katniss is happy to hunt and live a simple life. Everything changes when Reaping day arrives. In a sudden twist of fate, she must participate in the annual Hunger Games. The games are a fight to the death on live TV, but Katniss has promised she’ll try to win.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Her powers are too great to not be feared.
Rube is imprisoned in a “rehabilitation camp” where the only constant is fear. She can’t help that her power is one of the dangerous ones. All she can do is hide her power and hope no one finds out her secret. When the secret is finally revealed, she’s set on a course to do so much more than just survive.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Everything seems perfect… until you realize it isn’t.
Twelve-year-old Jonas lives a world that seems perfect in every way. When he is given an assignment to work as the Receiver of Memory, he starts to understand how far from ideal his world really is. As secrets unfold, he begins to make choices he never imagined possible.
The Selection by Kiera Cass
To win the crown, she must fall in love.
America Singer loves her simple life in the musician caste. She’s in love with Aspen who is a caste below her. But as a member of a lower caste, her family urges her to compete in the Selection. The prize is a crown and a gorgeous prince.
America doesn’t want any of it… until she meets Prince Maxon. Only then does she realize how much better the future could be.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Anyone can betray anyone.
Mare Barrow is a thief who lives in the slums. She avoids the silver-blooded elite who rule the world with special powers and evil intent. Her world is turned upside down when she’s forced to live a palace and pretend to be a silver blood herself. She risks everything for a growing red blood rebellion, but the only certainty is betrayal.
The Elements of the Crown by Kay L Moody
Talise has a gift that could save her life.
If you love dystopian fantasies like Red Queen and The Selection, this will be the book of your dreams. With elemental magic, conflicting power, and a dark and dangerous land, this desperate fantasy world has a little bit of everything. A gripping coming of age story.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Even if life doesn’t “technically” end, is it still living?
Connor, Risa, and Lev are all set to be “unwound.” Their body parts will be salvaged and they won’t be able to do much of anything. But because they’ll still “technically” be alive, it isn’t illegal. Their only chance for survival is to make it to eighteen. They make a journey across the country, hiding and fighting. In a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.
Legend by Marie Lu
An aristocrat and a criminal cross paths in a game of survival and revenge.
She was born wealthy with never ending privilege. He was born in the slums and is now the country’s most wanted criminal.
When her brother is murdered, she seeks revenge. He fights for his family’s survival. But soon, they both learn the sinister truths behind what really brought them together. And how far the country will go to hide its secrets.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
In a world where normal is ugly, pretty is the only choice.
Tally can’t wait to turn sixteen. She’ll get to have an operation that will change her from an ugly to a pretty. Once she becomes a pretty, her only job will be to have fun.
When Tally makes a friend who doesn’t want to become a pretty, Tally doesn’t understand. Her friend runs away and Tally soon discovers a hideous underside to the pretty world. In the midst of her confusion, the authorities force her to turn in her friend. If she doesn’t, she’ll never get to turn pretty at all.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A slave and a soldier who never should have met, embark on a dangerous journey.
The world is controlled by the Martial Empire. Anyone who dares defy the government is quickly put to death.
Laia is a slave who lives with her grandparents and older brother. They hang on the edge of survival, but they would never dream of challenging the Empire.
Elias is a soldier whose life is not his own. He fights for an Empire he doesn’t believe in, but the only alternative is death. When they cross paths by chance, everything begins to change. If they are caught taking one step out of line, death will be their only reward.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
In this gripping dystopian world, one trait defines you.
In Beatrice’s world, everyone belongs to one of five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).
The day is coming that Beatrice (Tris) must choose whether she wants to stay in the same faction as her family or transfer to a new one. Her choice shocks everyone including herself.
But Tris has a secret. One that she’ll do anything to keep.
The Gender Game by Bella Forrest
The world is divided by gender. A toxic river divides the land, women control the east, men control the west.
Violet Bates tried to help her brother escape to the other side of the river. He disappeared and she was sent to prison. Ever since that fateful day, she has struggled to control her anger. But now she’s been given the chance of a lifetime. If she acts as a spy in the land the men rule, she’ll be exonerated from her crimes. But for a girl who already rebelled in the east, the land of the west is a mine field.
Can she save herself or will the world be too much?
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Her touch can kill, and all she feels is alone.
Juliette has an incredible power that has made her family and everyone around her afraid. She’s been left to rot in a facility that is little more than a prison. But then, the Reestablishment decides her power could become a deadly weapon.
Despite her power, Juliette has never wanted to harm anyone. When she is reunited with the one person who ever cared about her, she finds a strength she never knew she had.
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
When his father is murdered, David dedicates his life to revenge.
David’s father is murdered by a man with incredible power. But just because Steelheart can bend metal and stop bullets, doesn’t mean David will stop seeking revenge. The beings like Steelheart have destroyed the city with their abilities and their lust for power.
David’s only chance to destroy Steelheart and the others is to join the Reckoners. This shifty group of rebels are bent on maintaining justice, no matter what the cost.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
The monsters have overrun the city. Safety doesn’t exist.
Kate and August couldn’t be more different from each other. Kate is ruthless and wants to profit from forcing people to pay for protection against the monsters.
August has a good heart and longs to protect the innocent… but he’s a monster. When a failed assassination attempt forces the pair of them to flee for their lives, it’s only the beginning of their luck running out.
Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol
Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are slaves to them.
Roselle is a secondborn who dreads her eighteenth birthday. She will be taken from her family and forced into servitude.
She has spent her entire life in front of cameras thanks to her family’s fame. She has been taught to be the perfect secondborn, sworn to the cause, happy to sacrifice her life for the good of the world.
But when she discovers a rebel group who oppose the mistreatment of secondborns, her whole life is turned upside down. Now she must choose where her loyalties really lie.
Ice Crown by Kay L Moody
It’s an honor to train at the academy…
Talise is from the Storm, the crime-laden and desperate outer ring of the continent of Kamdaria. Each day, mere survival nearly takes away her ability to manipulate the elements.
Her only chance of escape is to train at the academy and eventually become Master Shaper. Talise knows the stakes, but she also fears what she must leave behind.
Her future awaits, but only if she can stop clinging to the past.
Fans of Red Queen and Avatar the Last Airbender will love this heart-wrenching dystopian fantasy.
Compound 26 by Krista Street
A deadly virus has ravaged the world.
Dr. Meghan Forester is the youngest and smartest scientist to fight against it, despite living in a world with sanctions and curfews.
She studies the survivors of the virus who now have superpower-like abilities. But she soon discovers the inhumane treatment these survivors are subjected to.
Her work is further complicated when she falls in love with one of the survivors.
Faced with an impossible choice, she must decide whether her work or her love truly holds her heart.
Modified by Harper North
The sky is filled with toxins.
Fin has spent her whole life under the surface of the Earth. She has a monotonous existence filled with sweat and grime.
She works for the Enhanced Human Coalition. The EHC control the underground from the Earth’s surface. They spend their days enjoying the spoils of the people who work underground.
But then, Fin discovers a piece of technology that can give her the same abilities the EHC has.
Life on the surface is now within her reach.
Age of Order by Julian North
Intrigue. Deception. Fear.
In post-democracy America, the Orderist movement has created a world that rewards those with “merit.” Though the merit is little more than those with the most wealth.
Manhattan is the capital of what was once the United States. High-born cities are cocoons where residents can enjoy the pleasures of farm-grown food and private parks, while schools have become battlegrounds for rich and dangerous.
Daniela has the chance to attend an elite school. Though the opportunity is impossible to refuse, she wonders… what do the richies really want from her?
Configured by Jenetta Penner
What if love could get you killed?
Avlyn Lark lives in a world where emotions are nothing and function is everything. All she wants is to blend in.
Her twin brother, Ben, died when they were four. Since then, she’s just grateful to be alive. And even more grateful that she was taken from her biological parents and assigned to a Level Two family.
But mastering her emotions is more difficult than she could ever imagine. Especially when an attractive rebel comes along, introducing her to a world she never knew existed.
Even More Books!
I hope you enjoyed this list of the best young adult dystopian books. Do you need even more books to read? Don’t forget to check out my books. You’ll also love this list of Science Fantasy Books and Soft Sci Fi Books with Strong Female Leads. Have a book I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments.