Dystopian Books for Teens have become an increasingly popular genre in recent years, with young adult readers embracing stories of imagined worlds that are both terrifying and fascinating.
These books often explore themes of power, oppression and the struggle for freedom in a society that has been turned on its head.
Through these stories, teen readers can experience the thrill of adventure, the suspense of survival and the power of hope in the face of adversity.
Don’t miss these other terrific books for teens!
You can find these dystopian books for teens at your local library or through the affiliate links provided for your convenience.
Why Do Teens Like Dystopian Fiction So Much?
Whether your teen is a die-hard fan of dystopian fiction or simply curious about this exciting genre, these books will take you on a journey to alternate worlds and thought-provoking visions of the future.
My son had a hard time getting into books. But the moment we turned him to YA Dystopian books, he was absolutely hooked! His personal favorites have been the Scythe and Maze Runner series.
One reason kids like this genre is that they help us feel better about our existing society which, even if imperfect, is far better. Another reason is that we identify with the heroes in the stories, who usually are brave and capable. – The Canberra Times
Dystopian fiction can help us understand why we’re right to be afraid of certain things. – Prestwick House
Dystopian novels can challenge readers to think differently about current social and political climates and, in some instances, even inspire action. – Masterclass
Dystopian Books for Teens
The Giver, Lois Lowry's Newbery Medal–winning novel, has become one of the most influential books of our time. Placed on countless reading lists and curricula, translated into more than forty languages, and made into a feature film, The Giver is a modern classic.
The Giver Quartet Series contains 4 books, including:
The haunting story of twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity, is as resonant today as when it was first published.
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined -- every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death.
Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute... and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
Winning means fame and fortune. Losing means certain death. The Hunger Games have begun.
The Hunger Games Trilogy contains 3 books, including:
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.
Apocalypse Reincarnation Series contains 3 books, including:
This is the story of a man out of time, appearing ten years after his death within a rift. Armed with a cheat skill, he’ll grow stronger and stronger as a Spellblade and summoner. Mixing post-apocalypse with magical realism and LitRPG flair, System Reborn is an easy LitRPG Adventure to pick up while waiting for the next big release
Book one in the blockbuster Maze Runner series spawned a movie franchise and ushered in a worldwide phenomenon.
The Maze Runner Series contains 5 books, including:
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers — boys whose memories are also gone.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out — and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying: Remember. Survive. Run.
Shatter Me Series contains 6 books, including:
One touch is all it takes. One touch, and Juliette Ferrars can leave a fully grown man gasping for air. One touch, and she can kill.
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.
This dystopian series set in a futuristic Chicago has captured the hearts of millions of teen and adult readers.
Divergent Trilogy contains 3 books, including
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.
An epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity's future.
The Skyward Series contains 3 books, including:
Spensa's world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what's left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa's dream.
No one will let Spensa forget when her father deserted his team, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.
Dance of Thieves Series
Dance of Thieves Series contains 2 books, including:
A formidable outlaw family that claims to be the first among nations. A son destined to lead, thrust suddenly into power. Three fierce young women of the Rahtan, the queen's premier guard. A legendary street thief leading a mission, determined to prove herself. A dark secret that is a threat to the entire continent.
When outlaw leader meets reformed thief, a cat-and-mouse game of false moves ensues, bringing them intimately together in a battle that may cost them their lives―and their hearts.
The Selection Series contains 5 books, including:
Prepare to be swept into a world of breathless fairy-tale romance, swoon-worthy characters, glittering gowns, and fierce intrigue perfect for readers who loved Divergent, Delirium, or The Wrath & the Dawn.
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.
In this timeless trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.
The Remnant Chronicles contains 3 books, including:
In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia's life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight―but she doesn't―and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom―to a prince she has never met.
On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive―and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets―even as she finds herself falling in love.
Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book.
Arc of a Scythe Series contains 4 books, including:
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
The Reckoners Series contains 3 books, including:
Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary people extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man, you must crush his will.
Now, in what was once Chicago, an astonishingly powerful Epic named Steelheart has installed himself as emperor. Steelheart possesses the strength of ten men and can control the elements. It is said that no bullet can harm him, no sword can split his skin, and no fire can burn him. He is invincible. Nobody fights back... nobody but the Reckoners.
A shadowy group of ordinary humans, the Reckoners spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in.
Humans saved bees from extinction and created the deadliest threat we’ve seen yet.
The Sovereign Code Series contains 5 books, including:
The loss of bees was heralded as the sixth wave of extinction. Economies crashed. Ecosystems collapsed. Wars were waged as countless starved. Luckily, humans were able to alter bees’ genetic code to deal with the hazards of pesticides and disease. Inadvertently making their venom fatal to humans.
River grew up in the Green Zone, a haven for those who are Immune. Bees are free to fly, pollinating their prolific crops. Echo was raised in the Dead Zone where bees are exterminated so vulnerable humans like her can live. Stealing from the heavily guarded Green Zone is a necessary part of survival.
River and Echo are both in their seventeenth year. They’re both about to have their immunity tested. And they’re both about to have their futures forever altered. Ultimately, they’re about to become part of the final fight for human survival.
Before the Blight, becoming an adult was something teenagers looked forward to. But now, turning eighteen means certain death. Unless you prove yourself worthy of the Cure.
The Cure Chronicles contains 5 books, including:
On her seventeenth birthday, Ashen Spencer is blindfolded and escorted to the massive, mysterious building known as the Arc to begin her year of training and testing in hopes that she can earn the Cure — a powerful drug given only to those deemed worthy to survive beyond their eighteenth birthday.
Ashen has a chance to rise up from her former life of squalor and be granted a place in society, if the Panel—the mysterious group of powerful men and women in charge of the Arc—deems her year a success.
She’s assigned to work for twelve months as a servant for a wealthy family whose son is the most alluring young man she’s ever met. At first, Ashen is thrilled for the opportunity to earn her place in a society she’s always dreamed of inhabiting.
At the end of the world. Nick Peterson never expected to be stuck with a bunch of kids. A seventeen-year-old boy shouldn’t be responsible for keeping other people alive. But he didn’t have much choice in the matter. That’s what happens when everyone else dies.
The End of Everything Series contains 3 books, including:
A CIT (counselor in training) at a summer camp high in the Poconos, Nick is left in charge of nine kids and fellow CIT Jenny O’Brien. No big deal. But when the people in charge don’t return Nick and the others slowly learn the truth. No one will ever be returning.
A deadly virus has broken out across the world at the same time. A virus with a 100% fatality rate. Only those who are lucky enough to be on their own will survive.
after a winter of starvation, Nick has no choice but to brave former civilization and pray the virus has died away. It is either risk death to get food or die of starvation. The discovery of a sanctuary on the other side of the country becomes their goal. Loading everyone into a bus, they start their way there. Fighting both the few remaining people, and the elements, to reach safety only to discover it isn’t as safe as they hoped.
The Mistborn Series has the thrills of a heist story, the twistiness of political intrigue, and the epic scale of a landmark fantasy saga.
Mistborn Series contains 7 books, including:
- The Well of Ascension
- Hero of Ages
- The Alloy of Law
- Shadows of Self
- The Bands of Mourning
- The Lost Metal
For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible.
Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison. Kelsier "snapped" and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.
But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel's plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she's a half-Skaa orphan, but she's lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.
Beyond the God Sea Series contains 3 books, including:
Envy of the other girls, Zaria was born for the sea. Nobody questions her fate as the chosen braenese to marry Keroe, God of the Sea -- least of all her. And even if she did, she has no choice. When Zaria’s wedding day finally arrives, she'll become the only islander of her generation permitted to cross into the God Sea. There’s nothing more she could possibly want.
There are only two possibilities with his strange (and strangely handsome) face: he’s either a village anomaly or the Sea God himself, in disguise. The alluring boy-creature couldn’t have come from anywhere else, because there is no other land in all the ocean.
As three pageants leading up to her wedding turn unexpectedly deadly, and the enigma of its true purpose looms, Zaria is torn between her long-desired fate as Sea Queen and the infuriating boy who tells her that everything her people know is a lie.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
Legend Series. Contains 4 books, including:
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.
One of Time Magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time * Amazon's Best Young Adult Book of 2015 * and MORE
An Ember in the Ashes Series contains 4 books, including:
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.
When Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
The books in the New York Times bestselling series that inspired the hit CW television show.
The 100 Series contains 4 books, including:
No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now. Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents -- considered expendable by society -- are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.
Three teens fight for their lives and each other in this breathtakingly suspenseful first book in the twisted, New York Times bestselling Unwind Dystology series by Neal Shusterman.
Unwind Dystology Series contains 4 books, including:
After America’s Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement. According to their Bill of Life, human life may not be terminated from the moment of conception until the age of thirteen. But between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, the child may be gotten rid of by their parent through a process called “unwinding.”
By repurposing a teen’s organs and other body parts in living recipients, the unwound child’s life doesn’t technically end. According to society’s leaders, unwinding leads to a healthier and safer community, as troublesome and unwanted teens are used for the greater good.
Curtis is a rebel whose unwinding was ordered by his parents. Rita, a ward of the state, has been slated for unwinding due to cost cutting. And Lev, his parents’ tenth child, has been destined for unwinding since birth as a religious tithe. As their paths intersect, they start to fight for their own destinies. But do they stand a chance of escaping their fate or proving their lives are worth saving?
The Darkest Minds Series contains 4 books, including:
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.
When the truth about Ruby’s abilities ― the truth she’s hidden from everyone, even the camp authorities ― comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. On the run, she joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp.
While they journey to find the one safe haven left for kids like them―East River―they must evade their determined pursuers, including an organization that will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. But as they get closer to grasping the things they’ve dreamed of, Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
One dose is all it takes to become immortal. Every year, a lottery is held for the hard-working people of Lutum. The prize? Eternal life.
The Immortal Ones Series contains 5 books, including:
Everyone wants immortality. Well, everyone except for seventeen-year-old Silverstasia Blackwood. She doesn't think it's fair that the rich get to live luxurious lives, while the people of Lutum are enslaved, forced to work hard every day to support the immortals.
When something unexpected happens during this year's annual lottery, Silver makes a bold move that surprises everyone. Now, everything is about to change
Perfect for fans of For fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.
The Resistance Trilogy contains 3 books, including:
In the Valta, no matter what month you were born, everyone is assigned the same birthday. November 1st. It's the anniversary of the day when the government declared war on the Eastern Order. The day you turn seventeen, the Recruiters come to take you away. And no one ever hears from you again.
Tomorrow, Kress will be taken. The good news? So will her best friend Cardyn, and Brohn, the handsome, enigmatic boy she's avoided all her life. The bad news? Recruitment isn't what any of them expected.
Weeks of training await. Military and psychological tests, escape rooms, hand-to-hand combat. The Recruits are told they're the key to winning the war. But with each day that passes, things begin to make less sense.
In an instant, everything stops. No lights. No phones. No transportation.When coordinated EMP and Cyber attacks wipe out the nation’s power grid and communications, ultra marathon runner, Maddie Langston, is forced to run for her life.
Days of Want Series. Contains 7 books, including
Stranded in a Chicago airport when the lights go out, Maddie is in a race against time. According to her father, she doesn’t have long before the city descends into chaos. She must leave the airport before it is too late.
Although she knows she must flee the Windy City, Maddie’s first battle is to overcome her fear of the violence she knows is coming. She’s a fighter; she just doesn’t know it yet. The perilous journey out of the city becomes even more difficult when Maddie takes responsibility for an orphaned ten-year-old girl. Together, as chaos fills the streets, they must fight to survive in a Turbulent new world.
Seven different kingdoms. Seven different journeys to love.
Desolation Series contains 4 books, including:
In this post-Desolation world, the Council of Essentials controls everything, especially the royalty who govern each kingdom.
Can love be an essential part of being a ruler?
No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.
In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.
With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.
In their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.
The Rule of One Series contains 3 books, including:
In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret―one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life. She has an identical twin sister, Mira.
For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.
Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.
The nation goes dark. Technology fails. Help isn’t coming. An EMP has destroyed the nation’s power grid. The country is plunged into chaos during one of the coldest midwest winters on record.
Gateway to Chaos Series contains 4 books, including:
Pre-med student Raine Caldwell is in a race against time. Eight hundred miles from home and separated from her parents, Raine is forced onto the dangerous streets of St. Louis, Missouri.
A storm is brewing. While fires rage, deadly gangs roam the streets. After joining a group of fellow survivors, it becomes a fight for survival as they race to escape the city before the violence and a bitter winter storm overtakes them.
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