Top 5 Dystopian Young Adult Novels

top 5

a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.

Time for another favourite/tops list and this time I thought it might be fun to take a look at my favourite dystopian young adult books I’ve read over the last year or so (that I’ve been book-blogging):



The Hunger Games

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before – and survival, for her, is second nature. “The Hunger Games” is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever.


Life as We Knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life as We Knew it

No shops. No TV. No Electricity. No Daylight. No idea if your family is alive or dead. Could you survive? When a freak asteroid knocks the moon from its orbit, horrific tides engulf parts of the globe, and life on earth changes overnight. For 15-year-old Miranda as power, communications and food supplies start to break down, a desperate battle for her family’s survival begins.


how I live now

How I Live Now

Daisy is sent from New York to England to spend a summer with cousins she has never met. They are Isaac, Edmond, Osbert and Piper. And two dogs and a goat. She’s never met anyone quite like them before – and, as a dreamy English summer progresses, Daisy finds herself caught in a timeless bubble. It seems like the perfect summer. But their lives are about to explode. Falling in love is just the start of it. War breaks out – a war none of them understands, or really cares about, until it lands on their doorstep. The family is separated. The perfect summer is blown apart. Daisy’s life is changed forever – and the world is too.


Among the Hidden

Among the Hidden

Government regulations limit families to two children each, so Luke, an illegal third-born, must live his life in secret, hidden in his family’s farmhouse. Then he joins Jen, another “shadow child, ” for a chance to come out into the light–a dangerous gamble with high stakes.


Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick

FloodlandImagine that a few years from now England is covered by water, and Norwich is an island. Zoe, left behind in the confusion when her parents escaped, survives there as best she can. Alone and desperate among marauding gangs, she manages to dig a derelict boat out of the mud and gets away to Eels Island. But Eels Island, whose raggle-taggle inhabitants are dominated by the strange boy Dooby, is full of danger too.

So… Which books would you add or leave out of the above list? Discuss your selections in the comments!


Bart, is a fully signed up member of Book Addicts Anonymous ;) Despite, constantly fighting a losing battle against his T.B.R pile, he is never happier than when he manages to sneak a new book in to the house! Darren can be found on Twitter & Google+ amongst other places!

34 Responses

  1. Lenore says:

    I agree with your number 1! I wasn’t such a big fan of 2 and 3 and haven’t read 4 or 5.

    I’d definitely add The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, and Feed by MT Anderson.
    .-= Lenore´s last blog ..Where my last 20 reviewed books came from =-.

  2. Nymeth says:

    I’m sure The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer would be on your list if you’d read them, so do that :P

    I agree with 2 and 3. The others I’ve yet to read. I will do that too :P
    .-= Nymeth´s last blog ..Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente =-.

  3. Court says:

    I LOVE dystopian fiction, but I’ve never actually read any of these ones. Life As We Know It sounds REALLY good, I’m going to have to put that on my TBR list.

  4. Care says:

    OK! I’m game! I want to read all of them.
    .-= Care´s last blog ..I Dare Ya! =-.

  5. Parker P says:

    I love HOW I LIVE NOW. One of my favorite books. Not such a fan of FLOODLAND, but some of Sedgwick’s other books are great.
    .-= Parker P´s last blog ..Book Trailers =-.

    • Bart says:

      I’ve liked every Sedgwick I’ve read so far. I think my favourite would have to be either My Swordhand is Singing, or The Book of Dead Days, which is yours?

  6. JA macTavish says:

    I’m with Lenore on #2 – it was, indeed, excruciating at times, and I thought the ending was surprisingly realistic in that, in times of duress, people dig in and often lose the energy or insight that might mean the difference between life and death. But it was also curiously hollow in places where I felt it needed more introspection. I also agree w/ her on Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series; if you haven’t read them, you must. As for my pick, I’d say Skin Hunger, the first in “A resurrection of Magic” series by Kathleen Duey, was a very compelling Dystopian novel, with the twist being that one dystopian society evolves into an equally maladjusted society, only different. One assumes that things are set at least nominally to rights in subsequent novels!

  7. Fyrefly says:

    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, for sure. And I read Exodus by Julie Bertagna a few months ago; it sounds somewhat like #5, but it’s 100 years in the future and the whole world is underwater.
    .-= Fyrefly´s last blog ..Sunday Salon: Building Mt. TBR: The Movie! =-.

    • Bart says:

      I’ve been meaning to read Little Brother for ages! And I’ve picked up Exodus a few times in the bookshop, never quite bought it yet though.

  8. aerin says:

    Ah, Fyre beat me to it – I was going to say EXODUS. I was not at all fond of HOW I LIVE NOW, though. I’ve also read HUNGER GAMES (of course) and it certainly deserves to be #1. Off to add the other 3 to my wishlist….
    .-= aerin´s last blog ..GHOSTGIRL and GHOSTGIRL HOMECOMING by Tonya Hurley =-.

  9. christina says:

    First, I love the cover art of the Hunger Games you posted. I had to open it in a larger window to get a better view.

    Also, I’m surprised that you didn’t list The Giver. Not that I necessarily believe that it should be on the top five, but because it always seems to come up in conversation when YA dystopian is brought up. Pretty interesting.
    .-= christina´s last blog ..Hunger Games =-.

    • Bart says:

      It’s the UK cover, and the first run had flip covers so you could fold it a diferen’t way and have either Katniss or Peeta showing. (the latest version just has either or)

  10. Kailana says:

    I enjoyed the first three, but I haven’t read the last two yet. I don’t read a lot of dystopian novels really unless they get really good reviews. It is not something I pick up on impulse.

  11. Valentina says:

    I don’t know why but I love dystopian novels. I agree about The Hunger games and How I live now, and I haven’t read the others. What about The Giver?
    .-= Valentina´s last blog ..Some photos… =-.

  12. Nathan says:

    Others have already mentioned The Giver, but I guess I will add another vote to it. “Messenger” is the ultimate end to the series. It is also one of my favorite books of all time. The heartrending ending is a real masterpiece of writing that sets a high standard for other dystopian books to reach for.

    • Nathan says:

      Finally got my comment past the spam blocker, it didnt’ like me using my website’s name as my commenter name. (Oh well.)

      Anyway, I have to mention that another one of my favorites is the Atherton series, by Patrick Carman. “The Dark Planet” is the last book of the series and it features an amazing dystopian world.
      .-= Nathan´s last blog ..“Rules,” by Cynthia Lord =-.

      • Bart says:

        Sorry, you had trouble posting a comment. I had to tighten the controls somewhat, a while back when I was being overwhelmed by spam. Thankfully not much got through Akismet, but it was a nightmare locating real comments that were getting caught.

        Anyway more importantly, welcome! I hope you decide to stay a while.

    • Bart says:

      I really must try and get a copy. I’ve yet to see anything other that glowing reviews about it.

      • Nathan says:

        Don’t just get “The Giver”

        The entire series is:

        “The Giver” – Introduction to the world, and one of its main characters
        “Gathering Blue” – A parallel exploration of female character in another similar dystopian community.
        “Messenger” – The last book, which ties together the characters from the first two books.

        The complete series is simply amazing as far as dystopian fiction goes.
        .-= Nathan´s last blog ..“Hard Hit,” by Ann Turner =-.

  13. Mandy says:

    Unwind by Neal Shusterman

    Genesis by Bernard Beckett

    (I have interviews with both guys on my blog. Their books are great)

    I love your inclusion of How I Live Now. Thanks for this list!
    .-= Mandy´s last blog ..Once Upon a Time *Pretty Monsters* =-.

  14. Kasey says:

    A bit late but here are my thoughts.
    The Hunger Games and the second book in the trilogy are amazing as far as dystopian literature goes. I also greatly enjoyed Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children. Life as We Knew It was like reading about the ice storm of 2008 that I lived through, only never ending. Not one of my favorites. Some must have additions to this list is the entire Giver Trilogy, the Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld, the new book The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. All of these are truly excellent books and among my very favorites ever.

  15. Kasey says:

    I also can’t forget to add Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Definitely a good book that makes you think.

  16. cara says:

    I just finished The Hunger Games… in love with it. Though I heard its almost an exact replica of Battle Royale by Koushun Takami…. has anyone read that?

    • Darren says:

      I’ve not read it, but I think the only real similarity is kids having to fight each other to the death, at least from what I’ve heard.

  17. sargatanas says:

    Spoiler Alert!!!!

    I loved the Shadow Children series. Philosophically rich for Ya and adult. The Hunger Games was a great page turner but I saw The Running Man so I knew the Katniss would win, especially when she had to win over the crowd. Katniss was the same as Arnold minus the juice and snappy one liners. If Katniss said “Follow me Christmas tree,” I wouldn’t have been shocked. I don’t mean to trash. It’s great for those new to story lines such as these.

    I recommend The Giver to the list. (or the entire trilogy).

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