16 Dystopian Reads You Must Try

16 Dystopian Reads You Must Try

Dystopian literature is a unique type of literature that exploits dangers, choice, and usually explores social and political structures in a dark and dangerous world. It is used in science fiction, fantasy, and other fiction genres. In my opinion, it’s the best type of literature. Full of top-notch drama regarding family, choice, passion, and love.

Dystopian literature is recommended for teens and young adults. It’s truly divine and completely addicting. Here are 16 Dystopian reads that you must try. I’m surely positive you’ll enjoy them very much and will seek out more novels like them.

1. Legend Series by Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu

First, in the trilogy, Legend is an addicting, young adult dystopian novel. It takes place in a broken United States now known as The Republic. The book is told from two perspectives: June Iparis, a 15-year-old Republic soldier who comes from an elite family and is also known as The Republic’s Prodigy, and Daniel “Day” Wing, a rebellious boy from the slums who is also America’s most-wanted criminal. There is no reason the two paths should ever cross but when June’s brother is murdered, Day is the number one suspect. When June sets out to hunt Day down the streets of Los Angeles, she discovers shocking, dark facts about her society.


2. Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

One of the best novels you’ll ever read in your lifetime, Divergent is a pure dystopian novel. Taking place in a man-made city located somewhere in a futuristic Chicago, Divergent focuses on the protagonist, Beatrice (Tris) Prior, a 16-year-old who is unsure of what her true faction is: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, or Erudite. When she finally decides, she is overwhelmed by electrifying choices and even powerful consequences. You won’t be able to stop yourself from reading the second book, Insurgent.

3. The Hunger Games Series by Suzzane Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Packed with top-notch action, violence, and choices, The Hunger Games takes place in a chaotic version of North America known as a nation called Panem. The Capitol is surrounded by twelve districts that are all sunk in deep poverty. The Capitol holds the Hunger Games as a reminder that they are in charge. Every year a boy and a girl from each district are chosen to fight in the Hunger Games. It is either victory or death. Lucky for Katniss Everdeen, a brave sixteen-year-old who is fighting for her family’s survival, and Peeta Mellark, a friend of Katniss, they get the chance to either kill or be killed. But will Katniss be able to survive this situation and give up her true love, for there can only be one survivor and one winner?

4. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

As a classic dystopian novel, The Giver was the inspiration for many other novels like Divergent. It takes place in an ideal utopian society. Or that’s what the citizens think, but as the story goes on the society starts revealing its true colors. In society, when everyone turns twelve, they get assigned a job that they have no say in. Unlike all his companions, Jonas gets chosen to be the Receiver of Memory. He who holds all the knowledge of the past and knowledge of what is beyond the society. Slowly, Jonas uncovers the dark, horrible secrets of his society. He and the current Giver decide the community has lost too much, it is time something changes around here.

5. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kierra Cass

America Singer would have never imagined she’d try out for the Selection, a competition held by the government to decide the crown heir’s life partner. America’s mother has been trying to convince her for a while since the winner becomes queen and America’s family needs the money, but America already has a secret lover. However, when Aspen breaks up with America because he believes she deserves better and he has a lower caste than her, America has no choice but to put her name in. She is chosen as one of 35 candidates for the prince to decide from. Slowly, she develops a special bond with the prince. A friendship many others don’t have. Slowly, she also develops more enemies and not all are willing to play by the rules.

6. Matched Series by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie

Fifteen-year-old Cassia has always trusted society to make all her choices. In this world, young adults are automatically paired up with their life partners. Lucky for Cassia, she gets paired up with her best friend, Xander, but for a moment the screen glitches, and abomination Ky Markham’s face flashes on the screen. At that moment Cassia feels an instant pull towards Ky and begins to question her society’s wisdom. Even though society tells her it’s a rare malfunction, something tells Cassia otherwise. She is faced with a difficult choice: Xander or Ky, and a path no one has ever dared to follow.

7. Graceling Series by Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

This story takes place in a realm where there are people with special skills known as Graceling, someone who has the ability to perform a skill or grace impossible well. The main character Katsa, unfortunately, is gifted with the grace of killing. Even though she is the niece of the King of Middlums, Katsa is forced to torture and kill servants of the crown and is often called a monster. Many want to control Katsa and use her power for their own purposes, but Katsa wishes to use her power for good and forms a resistance group. While on a mission to save the King of Liend’s father, Katsa runs into a Graced Liend Prince whose fighting skills match hers. Slowly, she uncovers a mysterious, one-eyed King who wishes to control all with his and Katsa’s Grace.

8. The Young Elites Series by Marie Lu

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

She was tired of being hurt and tossed aside, it’s time for payback and she started with the one who hurt her the most, her father. A decade ago, a “blood fever” swept over her nation. Killing all adults and leaving some survivors. Those survivors bared markings of the blood fever for the rest of their lives and were often referred to as malfettos, abominations, and lower-class. Adelina’s markings were her new silver hair and a jagged scar where her left eye once was. But in this group of malfettos emerged the Young Elites, blood fever survivors who were “gifted” with special powers. Adelina’s father has always abused her, trying to figure out if his abomination daughter was an Elite that he could use for his own good. Eventually, he found out, indeed, she was. Gifted with the cruel powers of illusions and he was the first to die by them.

9. Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Ever since they found out her touch was lethal, Juliette was locked away in an asylum. Abandoned by her family and once of age, given the choice to work for the Reestablishment and torture prisoners. The Reestablishment was a pure dictatorship and Juliette was the only threat to them, and the most powerful weapon they could ever get their hands on. But before anything can happen, a former childhood friend and current future romantic partner, Adam, takes her away into an underground rebellion that is planning to take down the government. Soon, Juliette discovers there are more like her and is faced with life-changing problems and consequences.

10.  The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Built long ago by “The Builders”, the City of Ember was supposed to be a shelter for the human race who had to go underground for safety measures. The city was only provided supplies that would last for two hundred years. After those two hundred years were completed, a box that was supposed to be passed down generations would open and allow the inhabitants to access further instruction. However, due to some circumstances, the box was misplaced and forgotten about. Now two hundred forty-one years later, the city is suffering but Lina Mayfleet may just have found the instructions and has set off to find more clues about reality with her friend Doon. She must hurry because lamps that light the city are starting to flicker, and it won’t be long till the lights in Ember go out completely.

 11. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Second, in the series, This Shattered World follows Jubilee (Lee) Chase, captain of the forces sent to Avon to destroy the rebellious colonists, and Flynn Cormac, leader of Avon’s rebellion. The two cross paths on a late night in a bar. Flynn does the only thing that makes sense to him: he kidnaps Lee and takes her back to his base. But as Flynn’s fellow rebels prepare for Lee’s execution, he makes another choice that will change him forever. He escapes his base with Lee, and now they are caught between two sides of a senseless war. The Starbound trilogy is a truly divine series of events revolving around a story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.

12.  Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner 

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

A sequel to This Shattered World, this novel revolves around Sophia Quinn, Flynn Cormac’s childhood friend and a charming con artist in Corinth who is trying to figure out the cause of her father’s mysterious death, and Gideon Marchant, an underworld hacker known as the Knave of Hearts who is willing to do anything to reveal LRI true colors. They meet at LRI Headquarters during a security breach and escape together. Later on, they join Lilac LaRoux, Tarver Merendsen, Jubilee Chase, and Flynn Cormac in their fight against LRI. With their lives, loves, and loyalties at stake, they must tread carefully or much more will be lost.

 13. Court of Fives Series by Kate Elliot

Court of Fives by Kate Elliot

Jessamy’s life is torn apart in acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of having the freedom of the Commoners. At times, she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multilevel, athletic competition. There she meets Lord Kalliarkos, a descendant of the crown. But as Lord Ottoner, Jessamy’s father’s sponsor dies, her family is placed in deep debt. Her father is sent away for battle and forced to marry a high-born patron woman, her mother and sisters are nowhere to be seen, and she is sent away to train for The Fives at the palace’s own court. Now, Jessamy has to choose between her passion, her family, and her true love.

14.  Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard 

The perfect mix of power, love, adventure, and betrayal, Red Queen is about a young woman named Mare Barrow. A Red who steals for the survival of her family until she meets Cal or as she learns later, Prince Tiberias Calore VII. For the first time, Mare sees the Silver Court. And for the first time, she realizes she also hosts the supernatural powers of the elite Silver even though she has red blood. She is compelled to marry the second prince, Prince Maven Calore. But little do they know, she is just using her position to help out the Scarlet Guard, others like her. One wrong move can lead her to death and the only certain thing in this game is a betrayal.

15.  Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas 

When an infamous teenage assassin has served her time in the mines, she is offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If she manages to defeat twenty-three killers, warriors, and thieves in a deadly competition, she’ll be released from prison to serve the tyrannical King as his Champion. Celaena Sardothein, Ardalan’s Assassin, has no choice but to accept the offer. The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil lurks in this castle of glass and Celaena’s fight for freedom turns into a fight for survival. Can Ardalan’s Assassin survive the secret killer, new responsibilities, and the truth?

16.  Renegades Series by Marissa Meyers 

Renegades by Marissa Meyers 

Secret identities. Extraordinary powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice. Two prodigies from two different gangs meet by coincidence. Nova Artino (Nightmare), an Anarchist, wants to get revenge for her family and kill the Renegades, but Adrian Everhart (Sketch), a Renegade himself, believes in justice . . . and in Nova. But what will happen when Nova’s leader, the true villain, has headed out to end them both. Renegades is packed with adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal. The perfect mix for a dystopian society.

Suggested Read: World Book and Copyright Day

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Diya Kamboj

Diya Kamboj is a content writer at Ritiriwaz and she is interested to share her ideas with readers. She loves to write about fashion and fitness articles.