Dystopias! Worldwide disasters! Post-apocalyptic societies! From questionable social practices to communities where the limits of individual freedoms are put to the test, these novels bring out the dark side of the future.
The Diary of Pelly D by L. J. Adlington
When Toni V, a construction worker on a futuristic colony, finds the diary of a teenage girl whose life has been turned upside-down by holocaust-like events, he begins to question his own beliefs. Sequel: Cherry Heaven.
Feed by M. T. Anderson
In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.
The Kindling (Fire-Us Trilogy 1) by Jennifer Armstrong and Nancy Butcher
In 2007, a small band of children have joined together in a Florida town, trying to survive in a world where it seems that all the adults have been killed off by a catastrophic virus.
Followed by The Keepers of the Flame and The Kiln.
X-Isle by Steve Augarde
Baz and Ray, survivors of an apocalyptic flood, win places on X-Isle, an island where life is rumored to be better than on the devastated mainland, but they find the island to be a violent place ruled by religious fanatic Preacher John, and they decide they must come up with a weapon to protect themselves from impending danger.
Candor by Pam Bachorz
For a fee, "model teen" Oscar Banks has been secretly--and selectively-- sabotaging the subliminal messages that program the behavior of the residents of Candor, Florida, until his attraction to a rebellious new girl threatens to expose his subterfuge.
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
Trella's life is consumed by her job--testing, cleaning, and making sure the pipes in her world are working. She spends her free time exploring the forbidden Upper Levels, but Trella's solitary, peaceful life is about to be disturbed when a prophet comes and promises a better life for her people.
Sequel: Outside In.
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
In a world where water has become a precious resource, Vera and her brother befriend a boy who seems to have unlimited access to water and who suspiciously disappears, prompting a dangerous search challenged by pirates, a paramilitary group, and corporations.
The Big Empty by J. B. Stephens
After half of the world's population is killed by a plague, seven teenagers seek a better life in a nightmarish future by deciphering coded messages and trying to avoid the Slashers. Sequels: Paradise City, Desolation Angels and No Exit.
The Comet’s Curse by Dom Testa
Desperate to save the human race after a comet’s deadly particles devastate the adult population, scientists create a ship that will carry a crew of 251 teenagers to a home in a distant solar system.
Welcome to the Ark by Stephanie Tolan
In the near future, a time of global violence, four gifted young people are put in a psychiatric home they call the Ark. In the real world, they're freaks. In the Ark, they discover amazing powers within themselves--powers that can change the way other people behave. Sequel: Flight of the Raven.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Teenaged Amy, a cryogenically frozen passenger on the spaceship Godspeed, wakes up to discover that someone may have tried to murder her. Sequels: A Million Suns and Shades of Earth.
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
To get away from her pregnant stepmother in New York City, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to England to stay with her aunt and cousins, with whom she instantly bonds, but soon war breaks out and rips apart the family while devastating the land. Printz Award winner.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Through twists and turns of fate, orphaned Mary seeks knowledge of life, love, and especially what lies beyond her walled village and the surrounding forest, where dwell the unconsecrated, aggressive flesh-eating people who were once dead.
Sequels: The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives "unwound" and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to uphold their beliefs--and, perhaps, save their own lives. Sequels: Unwholly, UnSouled, and UnDivided
Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
Fifteen-year-old Liza travels through war-ravaged territory in a struggle to bridge the faerie and human worlds and to bring back her mother while learning of her own powers and that magic can be controlled. Sequels: Faerie Winter and Faerie After.
The Virtual War by Gloria Skurzynski
In a future world where global contamination has necessitated limited human contact, three young people with unique genetically engineered abilities are teamed up to wage a war in virtual reality.
Sequels: The Clones, The Revolt, and The Choice.
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl. Printz Award winner. Sequel: The Drowned Cities.
Exodus by Julie Bertagna
In the year 2100, as the island of Wing is about to be covered by water, fifteen-year-old Mara discovers the existence of New World sky cities that are safe from the storms and rising waters, and convinces her people to travel to one of these cities in order to save themselves.
The Compound by S. A. Bodeen
After his parents, two sisters, and he have spent six years in a vast underground compound built by his wealthy father to protect them from a nuclear holocaust, fifteen-year-old Eli, whose twin brother and grandmother were left behind, discovers that his father has perpetrated a monstrous hoax on them all.
The Hermit Thrush Sings by Susan Butler
After a natural disaster has all but destroyed the earth, the orphaned and "defective" Leora, while searching for her sister, defies the oppressive laws of the land and joins a band of rebels trying to overthrow the government.
Sharp North by Patrick Cave
In a futuristic world, Great Families rule Britain through a caste system where reproduction is seriously restricted, while the families keep illegal clones or "spares" of themselves
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another in a fight to the death, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.
Sequels: Catching Fire and Mockingjay.
Matched by Ally Condie
All her life, Cassia has never had a choice. The Society dictates everything: when and how to play, where to work, where to live, what to eat and wear, when to die, and most importantly to Cassia as she turns 17, who to marry. When she is Matched with her best friend Xander, things couldn't be more perfect. But why did her neighbor Ky's face show up on her match disk as well? Sequels: Crossed and Reached.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.
Sequels: The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. Prequel: The Kill Order
Wither by Lauren Destefano
In a world where a botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years, young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When sixteen-year old Rhine is taken, she vows to do all she can to escape. Sequels: Fever and Sever.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right. Sequel: Homeland.
Witch and Wizard by James Patterson
A sister and brother, along with thousands of young people, have been kidnapped and either thrown in prison or turned up missing after accusations of witchcraft were made against them, and the ruling regime will do anything in order to suppress life and liberty, music and books. Sequels: The Gift, The Fire and The Kiss.
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. OneBook NJ selection. Sequels: The Dead and the Gone and This World We Live In.
Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci
Six teens face a bioterrorist attack on American soil as four are infected with a mysterious disease affecting their small New Jersey neighborhood and two others, both brilliant computer hackers, assist the United States Intelligence Coalition in tracking the perpetrators.
The Copper Elephant by Adam Rapp
In a world where children under twelve are used as slave labor in subterranean lime mines, eleven-year-old Whensday Bluehouse struggles to survive the continuous poison rains and evade the ruthless Syndicate Soldiers.
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
In the distant future, when cities move about and consume smaller towns, a fifteen-year-old apprentice is pushed out of London by the man he most admires and must seek answers in the perilous Out-Country, aided by one girl and the memory of another. Sequels: Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain. Companion novels: Fever Crumb, A Web of Air and Scrivener's Moon.
The Unidentified by Rae Mariz
In a futuristic alternative school set in a shopping mall where video game-playing students are observed and used by corporate sponsors for market research, Katey "Kid" Dade struggles to figure out where she fits in and whether she even wants to.
The Girl Who Owned a City by O. T. Nelson
When a plague sweeps over the earth killing everyone except children under twelve, ten-year-old Lisa organizes a group to rebuild a new way of life.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony's true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World. Sequels: The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men.
Shade’s Children by Garth Nix
In a savage postnuclear world, four young fugitives attempt to overthrow the bloodthirsty rule of the Overlords with the help of Shade, their mysterious mentor.
Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien
Seemingly the only person left alive after the holocaust of a war, a young girl is relieved to see a man arrive into her valley until she realizes that he is a tyrant and she must somehow escape.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, she falls in love. Sequels: Pandemonium and Requiem.
The Sky Inside by Clare Dunkle
Martin lives in a "perfect world" under the protective dome of suburb HM1, where every year a new generation of genetically-engineered children is shipped out to meet their parents. And it's all about to come crashing down because a stranger has come to take away all the little children, including Martin's sister, Cassie, and no one wants to talk about where they have gone. Martin has a choice either to remain in the dubious safety of HM1, or to break out of the suburb into the mysterious land outside.
Sequel: The Walls Have Eyes.
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions. Sequels: The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood, and The Diamond of Darkhold.
Dark Life by Kat Falls
When fifteen-year-old Ty, who has always lived on the ocean floor, joins Topside girl Gemma in the frontier's underworld to seek and stop outlaws who threaten his home, they learn that the government may pose an even greater threat.
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patron, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States. A Printz Award and Newbery Honor Book.
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
To free herself from an upcoming arranged marriage, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a futuristic prison with a mind of its own, decides to help a young prisoner escape. Sequel: Sapphique.
Truancy by Isamu Fukui
In the City, where an iron-fisted Mayor's goal is perfect control through education, fifteen-year-old Tack is torn between a growing sympathy for the Truancy, an underground movement determined to bring down the system at any cost, and the desire to avenge a death caused by a Truant.
Sequel: Truancy Origins.
Gone by Michael Grant
In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have "The Power" and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not. Sequels: Hunger, Lies, Plague, Fear and Light.
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family's farm, until another "third" convinces him that the government is wrong. Sequels: Among the Impostors, Among the Betrayed, Among the Barons, Among the Brave, Among the Enemy, and Among the Free.
Girl in the Arena by Lisa Haines
In a future Massachusetts, eighteen-year-old Lyn, who has grown up in the public eye as the daughter of seven gladiators, wants nothing less than to follow her mother's path, but her only way of avoiding marriage to the warrior who killed her last stepfather may be to face him in the arena.
Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
Living under a strict code of conduct in the all-female community sometime in the future, a teenaged girl in training for the border patrol discovers forbidden relics from the Time Before.
Hole in the Sky by Pete Hautman
In a future world ravaged by a mutant virus, sixteen-year-old Ceej and three other teenagers seek to save the Grand Canyon from being flooded, while trying to avoid capture by a band of renegade Survivors.
The Enemy by Charles Higson
After a disease turns everyone over sixteen into brainless, decomposing, flesh-eating creatures, a group of teenagers leave their shelter and set out of a harrowing journey across London to the safe haven of Buckingham Palace. Sequels: The Dead, The Fear and The Sacrifice, The Fallen, The Hunted, and The End.
Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin.
Epic by Conor Kostick
On New Earth, a world based on a video role-playing game, fourteen-year-old Erik persuades his friends to aid him in some unusual gambits in order to save Erik's father from exile and safeguard the futures of each of their families. Sequels: Saga and Edda.
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies that have overtaken civilization, fifteen-year-old Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter. Sequels: Dust and Decay, Flesh and Bone and Fire and Ash.
The Declaration by Gemma Malley
2140 England, where drugs enable people to live forever and children are illegal, teenaged Anna, an obedient "Surplus" training to become a house servant, discovers that her birth parents are trying to find her. Sequels: The Resistance and The Legacy.