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If you’ve read any teen books in the past 5 years, you know that dystopian settings are a very common theme. You’ve probably heard of bestsellers such as the Hunger Games triology, the Divergent trilogy, and the Uglies quartet.
1. Pawn by Aimee Carter (Pawn series Book 1)
A girl in a lower class gets transformed to look like the daughter of one of the country’s rulers after her mysterious death. I read this book incredibly fast and although it’s not all that interesting in terms of world-building, the character conflicts alone are somewhat interesting.
2. Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano (Perfect Ruin series Book 1)
Morgan must solve the mystery of how a classmate of hers, who wrote a controversial essay, died. It’s a combination of your average teen dystopia and a murder mystery, with plenty of interesting background details.
3. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina (The Tribe series Book 1)
In the future, people with supernatural abilities, called Illegals, are hunted down by the government for research. Ashala and her Tribe of Illegal friends live in the Firstwood, a mysterious forest that protects them. With a plot told a little bit like the movie “Inception,” dream-travel and all, as well as superpowers, political conflict, character development, and creatures reminiscent of dinosaurs, this genre-blending novel is the perfect summer read.
4. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (The Testing series Book 1)
Although it’s very similar to The Hunger Games, those who prefer an intellectual battle to the death will greatly enjoy this strong beginning to a teen dystopian trilogy. The main character is unique and relatable, although the side characters leave something to be desired and some of the background information ultimately doesn’t make much sense. However, what would be the point of a dystopian book if the dystopia actually made sense?
5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This classic dystopian book was assigned to me in English class and I really didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find a frightening, ambiguous, and oddly readable story about a society in which women are treated as objects and have no hope of escape. (Note: This book does contain some violence and relationship themes that some readers may wish to avoid.)
Happy (dystopian) reading!