Dystopian Novels for Teens

A Top Picks List

Dystopian novels are the current sensation in many young adult books (what's dystopian?). In addition to the very popular Hunger Games series, here are several other dystopian novels and series for teens that include strong heroes and heroines battling tyrannical governments and grim futures. Check out this list of dystopian novels for teens.

01
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Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth - book cover
Divergent by Veronica Roth. HarperCollins

Debut author Veronica Roth has created an exciting new dystopian series for teens. Sixteen year old Beatrice Prior must choose a faction. Will she chose Abnegation, Dauntless, Candor, Amity, or Erudite? Despite the faction she chooses, Beatrice harbors a secret that if discovered could bring harm to herself and the ones she loves. This book is recommended by the publisher for teens 14-up. (Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins, 2011. ISBN: 9780062024022)

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Love is dangerous and brings nothing but destruction and disease. Seventeen year old Lena Haloway is counting the days when she will turn eighteen and have the mandatory government operation that will remove her ability to feel love. All is well and going according to plan until Lena meets Alex and discovers that the feelings she is taught to fear are far more powerful and pleasant than she realized. Lauren Oliver delivers a fast paced and deeply romantic dystopian book about what happens when a government controls a society's emotions. This book is recommended by the publisher for teens 14-up. (HarperCollins, 2011. ISBN: 9780061726828)

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Hoping to eradicate death and disease, scientists unleashed a genetic virus that's killing second generation males by 25 and females by 20. In an attempt to preserve family lines, wealthy males are kidnapping young women and turning them into polygamous brides. When Rhine is captured and separated from her twin brother, she enlists the help of Gabriel, a house servant, to help her escape. Lauren DeStefano's debut novel is an exciting dystopian tale with a strong heroine and unpredictable outcomes. This book is recommended by the publisher for teens 14-up. (Simon and Schuster, 2011. ISBN: 9781442409057)

Read the review of Wither.

04
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Unwind

The Second Civil War in America over reproductive rights turned into a compromise now called The Bill of Life. Abortion is illegal, but any teen between 13 and 18 can be unwound or harvested for body parts if they are unruly, a ward of the state, or a tithe. Connor, Risa, and Lev are "Unwinds", but they are on the run and trying to flee from the government who would use their bodies for the benefit of others. Award winning author Neal Shusterman opens the door for a profound discussion about organ donation and personal rights about choice. This book is recommended by the publisher for teens 13-up. (Simon and Schuster, 2009. ISBN: 9781416912057)

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The Hunger Games

When Katniss Everdeen's sister's name is drawn in the reaping she steps in to take her place. The annual Hunger Games is a battle to the death and Katniss will not let her little sister die, but now she must be partnered with the one boy from District 12 she cannot bear to harm. Katniss must rely on keen battle skills and sharp wit to protect both her and the baker's son while thinking of a way to outsmart the government that would control them all. This is the first book in Suzanne Collins' popular Hunger Games trilogy. This book is recommended by the publisher for teens 14-up. (Scholastic Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780439023481)

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Seventeen year old Nailer scavenges the beach looking for copper and other treasures found in  ship wreckage. In a world trying to survive the ravages of global warming, Printz award winning author Paolo Baciogalupi introduces readers to teens trying to survive in the leftovers remaining from the environmental choices of earlier generations. This story of survival in a grim and dreary world is lesson to be heeded by readers. This book is recommended by the publisher for teens 14-up. (Little, Brown & Co, 2010. ISBN: 9780316056212)

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