Dystopian and post-apocalyptic fictions often overlap each other. Recently both genres have experienced a surge in popularity, with books such as The Hunger Games, City of Ember, and Incarceron generating newfound interest in these areas. Publisher’s Weeklyhas a good article, “Children’s Books: Apocalypse Now,” about this trend. Included in this bibliography is a mix of newer and classic examples of these genres. The majority of these books are for young adults, while a few (City of Ember and Witch & Wizard) span late elementary school level reading as well.
*Article cited: Springen, Karen. “Children’s Books: Apocalypse Now.” Publishersweekly.com. Publishers Weekly, 15 Feb 2010.
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.
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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.
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The Hunger Games. 2008.
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through a gory annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place. See also the sequel Catching Fire.
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The Maze Runner. 2009.
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.
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Neptune’s Children. 2008.
When a biological terrorist attack kills all adults on Earth, children stranded at an amusement park work together to survive, led by Milo whose father was an engineer there, but when new threats arise and suspicions grow, rebellion erupts.
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Dunkle, Clare B.
The Sky Inside. 2008.
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. Then a stranger comes to take away a group of 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.
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City of Ember. 2003.
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. She soon finds that her underground city cannot survive much longer. See also the sequels People of Sparks, Prophet of Yonwood, and Diamond of Darkhold.
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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.
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The Other Side of the Island. 2008.
Born in the eighteenth year of Enclosure, ten-year-old Honor lives in a highly regulated colony with her defiant parents, but when they have an illegal second child and are taken away, it is up to Honor and her friend Helix, another “unpredictable,” to uncover a terrible secret about their island and the corporation that runs everything.
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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.
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Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited. 1965.
Brave New World is Huxley’s fictional vision of the future, where through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. Brave New World Revisitedis nonfiction and compares the modern-day world with the fantasy of Brave New World, including threats to humanity, such as overpopulation, propaganda, and chemical persuasion.
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Children of the Dust. 1985.
After a nuclear war devastates the earth, a small band of people struggles for survival in a new world where children are born with strange mutations.
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The Giver. 1993.
Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.
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The Declaration. 2007.
In 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.
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The Secret Under My Skin. 2000.
In the year 2368, humans exist under dire environmental conditions and one young woman, rescued from a work camp and chosen for a special duty, uses her love of learning to discover the truth about the planet’s future and her own dark past.
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The Knife of Never Letting Go. 2008.
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. See also book two The Ask and the Answer, and book three Monsters of Men — coming September 2010.
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Z is for Zachariah. 1975.
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.
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George Orwell’s famous novel is a satire on the possible horrors of a totalitarian regime in England in 1984.
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Patterson, James and Gabrielle Charbonnet.
Witch & Wizard. 2009.
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.
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Pfeffer, Susan Beth.
Life as We Knew It. 2006.
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. See also the companion novel The Dead and the Gone and the sequel to both novels, This World We Live In.
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The Forest of Hands and Teeth. 2009.
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. The second book in this series is The Dead-Tossed Waves. The third book is due out in spring 2011.
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In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world — and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. See also sequels Pretties, Specials, and Extras.
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