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…
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed.
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Everything seems perfect… until you realize it isn’t.
The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Prepare to be swept into a world of breathless fairy-tale romance, swoonworthy characters, glittering gowns, and fierce intrigue.
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, live in a palace, and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want.
Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would “unwind” them
Connor’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.
Legend by Marie Lu
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
The first installment of Scott Westerfeld’s New York Times bestselling and award-winning Uglies series.
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.
But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world—and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The gripping story of a dystopian world transformed by courage, self-sacrifice, and love.
One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior’s society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she’s determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.
The Gender Game by Bella Forrest
A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates’s world by gender. Women rule the East. Men rule the West.
Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet’s life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes.
But one decision could save her life.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
One touch is all it takes. One touch, and Juliette Ferrars can leave a fully grown man gasping for air.
No one knows why Juliette has such incredible power. It feels like a curse, a burden that one person alone could never bear. But The Reestablishment sees it as a gift, sees her as an opportunity. An opportunity for a deadly weapon.
Juliette has never fought for herself before. But when she’s reunited with the one person who ever cared about her, she finds a strength she never knew she had.
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
How far would you go for revenge if someone killed your father?
How far would you go for revenge if someone killed your father? If someone destroyed your city? If everything you ever loved was taken from you?
David Charleston will go to any lengths to stop Steelheart. But to exact revenge in Steelheart’s world, David will need the Reckoners—a shadowy group of rebels bent on maintaining justice.
And it turns out that the Reckoners might just need David too.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters.
Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol
Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.
On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.
Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein
The Vampire Diaries with faeries. Welcome to Rowan…
Founded two centuries ago by a powerful tribe of Gottwa Indians, Rowan was a quiet town, so quiet that I fled after graduation. Staying away was the plan, but Mom died suddenly.
Dad said she suffered a stroke after she dug up one of the ancient graves in our backyard, which happens to be the town cemetery.
Compound 26 by Krista Street
A deadly virus. A brilliant, young researcher. And an infected survivor who threatens to steal her heart.
In a society ruled by sanctions and curfews, Dr. Meghan Forester emerges as the youngest and most promising scientist to join the fight against Makanza – the deadly virus that’s ravaged the world.
Inside Compound 26, a giant government-controlled research facility, Meghan’s new job involves studying the Kazzies, the rare survivors who carry the virus and now exhibit supernatural powers. But as her work unfolds, Meghan’s horrified at the brutal and unethical practices the Kazzies are subjected to.
Modified by Harper North
What if the sky was deadly?
Fin has never stepped foot on the surface of the Earth. Working the mines, deep below, has been the only life she’s ever known. The underground is nothing more than an existence of sweat and monotony in service to the Enhanced Human Coalition—the genetically-modified who control the underground from the world above. Every Dweller underground understands that you serve the EHC up top, or you don’t eat.
Age of Order by Julian North
Intrigue. Deception. Fear.
In post-democracy America, the Orderist movement has spawned a society that rewards those who supposedly possess “merit,” which includes the nation’s wealthiest. Manhattan has become the capital of the forty-nine Orderist-led states. Cities are cocoons where the so-called “highborn” enjoy the pleasures of farm-grown food and private parks, while schools have become battlegrounds for rich and dangerous.
Configured by Jenetta Penner
There will come a day… when love will mark you as a traitor.
In a society where emotions are nothing and function is everything, Avlyn Lark is just trying to blend in.
She’s lucky to be alive, unlike her twin brother Ben who died when they were four. And she’s lucky to have been taken from her biological parents and assigned to a Level Two family. But mastering her emotions? That’s a problem,especially when a rebel bomb blows up a building right in front of her.
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.