Basically every time I look at the news nowadays something horrible is happening and the world is falling apart. And if you follow me on Goodreads—even though I’m kind of horrible at Goodreads—or checking my reviews you’d notice that I’ve read a couple of dystopians lately. And honestly they just felt so relevant and pertinent when I was reading them it was scary, but also like a good reminder to be active and kind and keep striving for what I believe in.
So in light of everything, I thought I’d make a list of some dystopians I’ve read, an introduction almost. Some you will most definitely will have heard of or read and some you might not have. Let me know any other dystopian recommendations you have in the comments.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This is the series that really started it all I think when it comes to YA dystopian. I’m not talking about people writing dystopian, but the genre really becoming popular to readers and really everyone with the movies and all the hype this series got. If you haven’t read it yet please do. It’s the OG and so good really. I will never not love this trilogy.
I feel like the Divergent series really read the coattails of The Hunger Games. Or at least in my reading experience it did. I actually really enjoyed the books, the characters can get a little frustrating and annoying in the third and second book (yes another trilogy) but it worked. If you haven’t read these yet, again what are you doing? But also don’t go by the movies. Like you can watch the first one, that’s fine, but just ignore this second and third movies.
I feel like a lot of people know about this trilogy (there’s just something about YA dystopians being trilogies), but I’m not sure if a ton of people have read it. I enjoyed it. It’s told in a dual point-of-view, which was unique and fun for me, and the characters are very different. Day is a beloved criminal while June is a military prodigy. And the world basically the United States has split into two, one half is run by the military and the other corporations and they’re constantly at war.
This series is literally book crack. They’re a little trashy and just basically like The Bachelor, but they’re addicting. And I’m not trying to be offending by saying trashy, I love them, the writing is good I’m not bashing on that, but you’re literally reading straight Bachelor material. Basically, America is not America any more, something has happened in the distant past and we’re now ruled by a monarchy and the prince finds his bride through means of a contest. I’d ignore the last two books though, they were kind of an add on and aren’t as good.
I know this series is a bit old now, but I just got into it. If you haven’t I HIGHLY recommend it—you can read my review for the first book here. Juliette’s touch is basically lethal and she has been locked up in an alyssum for the past year. The Reestablishment—the ones that put her in there—are now taking her out and trying to use her as a weapon. So The Reestablishment is this dystopian’s authoritarian government basically. Read this, this series gave me one of my top OTPs for life.
I can only speak to the first two books in this trilogy but damn. These books are so good. And they’re officially making a movie, it’s casted and everything! The United State’s population of children has been attacked by a disease, where half of the children died and the surviving half gained a unique set of powers. Those remaining are put into horrible camps, the country’s economy, housing and job market is in shambles, and the president refuses to leave office. Honestly this series is so relevant to where we’re at right now it’s scary, you can read my review here.
It’s been a while with this one, since high school probably, but I remember truly enjoying it. I will say this is a little bit more sci-fi than the other books on this list. IT’S ALSO THE ONLY ONE THAT ISN’T PART OF A SEIRES! I’m going to go as far to say looking back I think this is probably better than Meyer’s Twilight plot and quality wise. Earth has been invaded and the species takes over the bodies of human hosts, pushing their minds out. But the “soul” who took over Melanie’s body can still feel and hear her and Melanie is filling her head with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding.
The story’s protagonist, Violet Lasting, was born in The Lone City’s poorest caste—the Marsh. Select girls born in the Marsh have a strange mutation that makes them invaluable to The Lone City’s royalty. Violet has this mutation. She is able to carry royal children to term as a surrogate; this is key as royal women have lost the ability to bear their own children. I was really interested in this series because the whole surrogacy aspect was unique. The romance bothered me a bit and I gave it a three-star review but the ending and cliffhanger kept me going enough to read the second book. You can ready my review here.
I’ve seen this on some lists as dystopian, I categorized it in my review as a sort of blend between dystopian and fantasy. This series is a little trope-y, but I still really love and enjoy it. I just loved spending time with Mare, Cal, and Maven and the world. Essentially, the world is divided into Reds and Silvers—where Reds are commoners and the Silvers are elite and posses powers. That is until Mare, a Red teenager from the Stilts, displays a deadly power she’s never known about in front of a room of Silvers. You can read my review here.
Okay so this wasn’t the most gripping or like best written dystopians—I don’t even think it’s that big or well known—but to me the plot was pretty interesting and different. Essentially we decimated ourselves in a nuclear war—not that farfetched—and a small group of survivors banded together, only for conflicts to arise over which family would lead. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later the peace is maintained by marrying the Westfalls daughters to the winning family. It’s Ivy Westfalls’ turn to be married, but instead Ivy plans on killing her soon-to-be husband and restoring her family’s name.
Again, the was an okay dystopian character and writing wise—nothing to be blown away by—with a unique and interesting premise. This king of the Eastern Empire—a man who does not seem to age—has been taking over the world bit by bit for the last year. All Serenity has known is blood and war. As the future emissary of the Western United Nations she must forge alliances where she can, even if it means facing the king that has taken everything from her. Like I said, thought the first book was unique and I enjoyed it, but things started to get a little too weird for me toward the end of the second book beginning of third and I stopped reading.