Giving Books: Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

A seventeen year old friend of Brown Bear Daughter asked for some book suggestions. She just finished The Hunger Games trilogy (Semicolon review here), and she’s asking for “more dystopian fiction like The Hunger Games, with a little romance thrown in.”

First of all, The Classics:
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
On the Beach by Nevil Shute. Published in 1957, this novel has the requisite romance, but it’s very, very, very sad. Nuclear holocaust slowly and inexorably moves over the whole earth, and one of the last habitable places is in Australia, near Melbourne. The last surviving humans must decide how to end their lives honorably.
Semicolon review here.
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. This one is a bit dated, but it must have scared some people silly when it was first published back in 1959 at the beginning of the Nuclear Age. In the story, a massive nuclear strike by the Russians destroys most of the large to medium-sized cities in the United States, including Tampa, Miami, Tallahassee, and Orlando. The survivors must decide what to do about nuclear fallout, government, and survival in general.
Reviewed at Upside Down B.
Semicolon review here.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This book grew out of a short story by the same author. The short story was published in 1977, and the book was published in 1985. It’s more of a boy’s book, and there’s some crude soldierly language. Nevertheless, it’s tremendously compelling and exciting. Ender is a boy genius, chosen by the Powers That Be to train to save the world from an alien species that is coming to attack from outer space. No romance that I remember.
Reviewed by Girl Detective.
Bonnie at Dwell in Possibility hated it.
Semicolon review here.
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. A deadly microorganism from space is released on Earth, and a team of scientist must find a way to combat and eradicate the disease before everyone is killed or driven insane.

O.K. so those classics are probably not exactly what my daughter’s friend is looking for. She’s looking for a Hunger Games read-alike.

Published pre-Hunger Games:
The Giver by Lois Lowry. Classic Newbery award winning dystopian fiction. Companion novels are Gathering Blue and Messenger.
Reviewed by Zee at Notes from the North.
Semicolon review here.
Reviewed by Marie at Fireside Musings.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman. This dystopian stand-alone novel is one of Karate Kid’s favorites.
Reviewed by TeacherGirl.
Semicolon review here.
The Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. This series might be more appropriate for younger teens (ages 12-15), but I enjoyed it. In the series, it is illegal to have more than two children, and the illegal “thirds” are on the run from the law.
Semicolon review here.
The Declaration by Gemma Malley. “If the chance to live forever came with a price, would you opt in or out?” Sequels are The Resistance and The Legacy.
Semicolon review here.
Uglies by Scott Westerfield. Sequels are Pretties and Specials. What if you were ugly as a child (like everyone else), but on your sixteenth birthday you could undergo a procedure to turn pretty? In Westerfield’s dystopia, Tally can’t wait to have her surgery and become a Pretty. But maybe being pretty isn’t the most desirable goal in life.
Epitaph Road by David Patneaude. What if most of the men in the world were killed by a virus that only affected males, and as a consequence women ruled the world?
Semicolon review here.

Published post-Hunger Games (or at about the same time):
Divergent by Veronica Roth. This one is thee book I would suggest first for reader who is “hungry” for a follow-up to Hunger Games.
Semicolon review of Divergent at The Point: Youth Reads.
Matched by Ally Condie. There’s not so much action and adventure in this book, but more romance and thoughtful commentary on the pros and cons of a “safe” society bought with the price of complete obedience to an authoritarian government. The second book in the series is Crossed.
Review of Matched by Megan at Leafing Through Life.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Lena lives in a managed society where everyone gets an operation when they turn eighteen that cures them of “delirium,” the passion and pain of falling in love. Sequels will be Pandemonium (2012) and Requiem (2013).
Delirium reviewed at A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust.
Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men. In Prentisstown everyone can hear the thoughts of all the men in town, a situation that makes for a lot of Noise and not much privacy. These books should be read together, if at all. They’re all one story, and they should have a violence warning attached.
The Knife of Never Letting Go reviewed at Becky’s Book Reviews.

5 thoughts on “Giving Books: Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

  1. My teenage daughter and her friend, Cat – both homeschooled, have a book blog, where they also write reviews. Cat particularly enjoys dystopian fiction. There might be something there of interest.

    Sharon J.

  2. My first Internet “gig” was as an administrator on an emergency preparedness website where I specialized in (you won’t believe this)… books. 🙂

    Anyway, this was in the 90s and Alas, Babylon was still quite popular. I actually thought it more hopeful than a lot of other similar fiction of the times and a very good read even if I did deepen my pantry about twice as much after reading it.

    I saw the movie of On the Beach. Really good. Really sad.

  3. Thanks for this post. Some titles are listed and you gave me an idea for my 16 and 14 year old daughters.

  4. Depending on the teen, you could also go with many of Margaret Atwood’s books. Another good one is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

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