Best Dystopian Books for Teens and Young Adults

Sonia Akavan
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I remember when I was in highschool, I had to read one of the classics I had to read. However, I didn’t really clicked with any of them. I kept on reading because I had to read a classic in my upcoming exams. However, the books were boring, and I couldn’t stick with them for more than a few pages.

Then, I couldn’t complete any of my classes and my grades in other subjects went down. So, I finally decided to challenge myself, and I started reading one book.

I’m talking about the first book of the Hunger Games series. It was better than what I thought, and I ended up loving it and reading the entire series.

So, if you find it hard to reach your target, whether it´s read a set number of books or reading a classic, this post is for you. I’m going to explain to you in detail the top dystopian books for teens, which are not boring, but quite the opposite.

We hope that you enjoyed our book and that it will serve you well.

All the best,.

The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games / Catching Fire / MockingjayBest OverallThe Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games / Catching Fire / Mockingjay
ScytheBudget PickScythe
The Dust Lands Trilogy: Blood Red Road; Rebel Heart; Raging StarUpgrade PickThe Dust Lands Trilogy: Blood Red Road; Rebel Heart; Raging Star

1. The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games / Catching Fire / Mockingjay

Our rating: 9 / 10

The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games / Catching Fire / Mockingjay

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  • Multiple Characters to Invest In
  • Interesting Twist On Survival
  • Exciting Action and Plot
  • Great For Teens and Young Adults
  • Brings Intriguing Political Themes To The Table
  • Memorable Characters and Story


  • The Writing Isn't For Everyone
  • Thoughtful And Thought Provoking
  • Sometimes A Little Too Depressing


The Hunger Game Trilogy is a dystopian classic not to be missed.

2. Scythe

Our rating: 7 / 10


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  • Great world-building
  • Interesting story
  • In-depth characters
  • Free for kindle unlimited subscribers
  • SciFi meets murder-mystery


  • May be difficult to follow story if no knowledge of phonetic alphabet
  • No graphic descriptions of violent deaths

Opposites are easy to tell apart, but every once in a while science tells us that what we thought were opposites are actually very much the same. Take war for example: it’s supposed to be hell on earth, but there are somethings about it that are downright heavenly.

For example, every one dies in war, but sometimes that death is just, and sometimes, it is war that is evil. The major conflict in this novel is between two factions that have the same principles, but the principle they fight for is against the other’s.

Scythe is the story of this conflict and the Government (which wants to kill those who are traditionally killed) and the Independent (who want to learn who has the right to kill). The conflict turns into a murder-mystery-slash-thriller.

3. They Both Die at the End

Our rating: 6 / 10

They Both Die at the End

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  • Unique premise
  • Thought provoking
  • Quick read


  • Won’t appeal to everyone
  • Travelogue plotline can be slow at times

The best dystopian books for teens and young adults are all about questioning the status quo and exploring the issues of society that make us who we are today.

Today’s best dystopian books often blur the lines between light and dark, young and old, and the what ifs… Make sure to check out our list of other great young adult dystopian books for more great stories.

4. Shatter Me

Our rating: 6 / 10

Shatter Me

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  • Strong female protagonist
  • Action-packed storyline
  • Sci-fi aspect
  • Romance
  • Plenty of twists
  • Short read
  • Great for teens and young adults
  • Great for Hunger Game fans
  • Great for Divergent fans
  • Great for Throne of Glass fans

Shatter Me is a dystopian novel by Tahereh Mafi that far exceeded my expectations. While there are some clichés, the vivid imagery that Mafi creates in this story is surprising and extremely rewarding. Readers are introduced immediately to the character Juliette who is locked up in a cell and forced to watch the world through a small opening.

Juliette describes herself as a monster and everyone else in the world seems to agree. No one can touch her, aside from the guard Warner who isn’t afraid to mangle her bones.

We’re told that the world has gone to hell in a hand basket and that there is an infectious disease tearing people apart. We’re thrown into this new world where everything is foreign and scary. For this reason, Shatter Me by Mafi is a fantastic introduction to dystopian literature.

5. Ink and Bone

Our rating: 6 / 10

Ink and Bone

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  • Tons of Fights
  • Interesting Characters
  • Fast Paced

Ink and Bone is a steampunk novel set in a futuristic dystopian universe where civilization has fallen and books are heavily censored and banned.

The book presents a restored world following an Armageddon in which knowledge has become a very valuable commodity and books are tightly controlled by the Great Library. The story features a fantastic mix of characters with special abilities. It’s one of the best books on a unique journey of escape and investigation.

Chapters: 15

6. The Dust Lands Trilogy: Blood Red Road; Rebel Heart; Raging Star

Our rating: 5 / 10

The Dust Lands Trilogy: Blood Red Road; Rebel Heart; Raging Star

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  • Strong female characters
  • Post-apocalyptic setting
  • Plenty of action and adventure
  • Easy to read and keep interest in
  • Great for teens and young adults
  • Available in various e-book formats or print
  • Available as part of a box set

The Dust Lands Trilogy from Moira Young is a terrific series you and your pre-teen or teen should read. It's all about control: fighting the system or giving in. It's really a unique dystopian concept.

Young's books have a wild west feeling with an edge of sci-fi. It's set in a post-apocalyptic world where a plague has decimated the population. Now there are machine-like hexee that patrol the desert and there's a shortage of water to go around.

The first novel is Blood Red Road, which follows a sixteen-year-old girl named Saba. Her world is brutal and unforgiving. Everyone's got to fight for survival and keep an eye out for the deadly Tonton and their leader, The Nightmare. Saba's got a special power: an ability to read the past and future through colors.

7. Only Ever Yours

Our rating: 5 / 10

Only Ever Yours

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  • Offbeat story
  • Freedom of choice
  • Feminist perspective


  • Expert advice is missing
  • Some may find it hard to read through

This book is a dystopian romance novel that kicks off right away. I read this as part of a book challenge I got from my teacher. Our job was to find a book with a feminist theme. Well sure enough my teacher's last name was Ferrante and her daughters' names were Elena and Lila, so I decided to read her book. I really enjoyed reading this book because of the plot and the realisticness of it.

This book takes place in a city called the Republic of Gilead. It is inspired by the society we have today where boys and girls are given certain roles. In the Republic of Gilead, Girls are forbidden to do anything they want, their only role is to be a wife and they are not allowed to work. Boys on the other hand are able to do whatever they want. There is a point in the book where the Director of the Joy School tells everyone that the girls are to get married soon and it is a big deal that they enter into the marriage willingly or not.

8. Pacifica

Our rating: 4 / 10


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  • For fans of the Divergent Series
  • Action Packed
  • Clean Romance
  • Great for reluctant readers

The debut series from first-time author Brooke Williams, the Pacifica Series is a perfect choice for young adults looking for great dystopian fiction. Williams’ erotic page-turner is set in a 22nd century Los Angeles overrun by hackers, earthquakes, and pollution.

The series is aimed at teens and young adults, but offers plenty of action for adults to enjoy. The first in the series is Pacifica, which is set to be followed up by Pacifica: Dirge.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a good book series to read for young adults?

What books should every teenager read?

Sometimes it can be difficult to choose a good book to read. If you prefer to read science fiction and fantasy books, then don’t miss these popular books that have been published over recent years.

What is a good book for a 14 year girl?

There are a lot of great fantasy novels for teenage girls out there, but I would recommend Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. It's a touching story of friendship and has some emotional depth to it. It's the story of a young imaginative girl and her headstrong friend and their incredible adventures into an imaginary world of their own creation. The book is filled with imagination and adventure and explores themes of friendship, loss, and the importance of having dreams.

The story chronicles the friendship of Jess and Leslie. Although they are quite different from one another, they become fast friends and create their own magical world that only they know about. Then tragedy strikes and Jess must try to cope with life without her best friend.

What age group is young adults for books?

Most of the books on this list are geared towards older teens with a few exceptions. When evaluating which books are appropriate for you, you should consider your own maturity level, your reading level, and the themes of the book.

No matter your personal age, if you are not mature enough as a reader to handle the heavier themes of the books in this category, then books about dystopian societies are not for you.

If you are concerned about your teen reading more mature books, then speak to them about why the book is on the list. If your teen reads the book and likes it, they may feel comfortable venturing further into the dystopian genre.


"Dystopian" is a word that has grown in popularity since the late 20th century and it is used to describe a futuristic world in which there is great social inequality, a loss of individual freedoms, and almost always, a form of government that is totalitarian and oppressive. Young adults are often drawn to these worlds because of the defiance of a fictional character who stands up to the government and heralds a better future for himself and others. Please enjoy and share this list of excellent dystopian books.

Our Recommendation

The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games / Catching Fire / MockingjayBest OverallThe Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games / Catching Fire / Mockingjay
ScytheBudget PickScythe
The Dust Lands Trilogy: Blood Red Road; Rebel Heart; Raging StarUpgrade PickThe Dust Lands Trilogy: Blood Red Road; Rebel Heart; Raging Star