Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Modern Dystopian Books

This week, I’m listing my favorite dystopian and post-apocalyptic books. I’ve read so many novels from these genres that I needed a way to narrow down my list, so I’m keeping it modern. I’m only going to feature books published in the last 40-ish years.

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Best Modern Dystopian Books

10. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it's a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy's uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

9. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

A class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing.

8. The House Of The Scorpion (Matteo Alacrán #1) by Nancy Farmer

At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacrán asks El Patrón's bodyguard, "How old am I? I know I don't have a birthday like humans, but I was born." 

"You were harvested," Tam Lin reminds him. "You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her."

To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is considered good enough for him. But for El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico—Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.

7. Unwind (Unwind #1) by Neal Shusterman

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

6. The Giver (The Giver #1) by Lois Lowry

Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.

5. The Stand by Stephen King

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides—or are chosen.

4. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

3. The Year Of The Flood (MaddAddam #2) by Margaret Atwood

The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners—a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life—has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible. 

Have others survived? Ren's bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers.

Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo'hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can't stay locked away.

2. The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as "The Long Walk." If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying.

1. The Handmaid’s Tale (The Handmaid’s Tale #1) by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.

What is your favorite dystopian book?


  1. The only one I've read here is The Long Walk but I am planning to read The Stand over Thanksgiving break this year. I will need some time to focus.

  2. I adore your list! Dystopians can be so interesting to read, and you picked some of my favourites like Unwind and The Handmaid's Tale.

    If you're open to book suggestions, I'd highly recommend The Farm by Joanne Ramos. It's more of a realistic dystopia that takes its time to reveal certain frightening things to the audience, but I think it's wonderful.

    My TTT.

  3. Great list! I've read the Hunger Games. One day I would like to read the Stand and Unwind.

  4. I remember reading the unabridged version of The Stand many years ago and just being floored by it. And The Hunger Games sucked me right in. It’s been a long time since I read the trilogy, though, so it seems like now when I think of THG my thoughts go to the movies.

  5. This is my kind of list! I remember being blown away by The Long Walk when I read it and of course I loved The Hunger Games! I really need to read Battle Royale. It has been on my TBR for years!

  6. I've only read The Hunger Games and The Giver, but both good choices!! I'm never sure what classifies as dystopia sometimes, but other books I like are Brave New World and I Am the Cheese.


  7. I love dystopia and The Hunger Games and The Handmaid's tale would be top of my list too. I need to read The Long Walk ASAP, as it sounds so good!

  8. I just started an old dystopian novel called We. I'm just a few chapters in, but it is quite good so far.

  9. I loved both The Handmaid's Tale and The Giver! both gave me shivers for sure. Of course, the whole Hunger Games trilogy is among my favorites as well.

    Have you tried Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me series? I love that one - but not everybody I know enjoys her writing.
    The Scoripus Syndrome series by Rebecca Zanetti is really good, too - partly because what is going on there seems plausible.
    The Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa is another one I truly enjoyed.
    The Line series by Anne Tibbets is chilling.
    Another one I enjoyed was The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau - I need to continue with the series, actually.
    Two more:
    Penryn and the end of Days by Susan Ee, and The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent :)

    Have a terrific Tuesday!!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

  10. You chose three of my favs: The Giver, The Hunger Games, and of course, The Stand. :)

  11. Of course The Hunger games!!! But what is a modern dystoopian? Aren't all dystopian well ...modern?

  12. Great list! I used to be obsessed with dystopia a few years back, but now I'm more into fantasy. Still, there are a couple of important dystopian novels on my 2019 TBR, like "The Handmaid`s Tale".

    Carmen`s Reading Corner

  13. Modern dystopians - look at you with such an interesting genre. Have read some dystopians, but none of these. My daughter and you could talk though, because I see a few of her all time favorite books on this list.

  14. I loved The Hunger Games, and last year I read The Handmaid's Tale - the last time I read that was in high school and it was quite a different experience.

  15. WELL my TBR just grew a ton. I am such a dystopian/post-apoc whore. Honestly, I love them and I don't get why they've fallen out of favor. I have read some of these- obviously The Hunger Games, which started my love affair. The Giver, Handmaid's, Unwind (such a favorite!)... but now I obviously must check out the rest. I just read a book called The Wanderers by Chuck Wendig and apparently people are comparing it to The Stand so guess I better read The Stand, huh? LOVE this list!

  16. Great list. The Hunger Games is probably my favorite dystopian read, but The Handmaid's Tale was really good too. Reminds me that I still need to watch the Hulu series.

  17. I really need to read “The Handmaiden Tale” and “The GIver”. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a movie made from “How I Now Live”


  18. I love a good dystopian. Other than the daily news haha. But seriously though- Battle Royale sounds like something I'd like. And The Hunger Games- love it!

  19. I can't BELIEVE that I've read none of these books. The Handmaid's Tale is at the very top of my TBR and I'm very excited for it.

  20. I thought I was the only one that read House of the Scorpion, so underrated!

  21. I love dystopians. This is a good list. I've only read The Hunger Games.

  22. I've been really wanting to check out Battle Royale for a while, it sounds great. I've only read a few of these, so I'm definitely using this as a recommendations list to check out the others! I've been wanting to read some new good dystopian.

  23. You know how I feel about Unwind---so amazing!! There are a few on this list I haven't read. Guess I need to fix that!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  24. I love Unwind, Hunger Games, and The Handmaid's Tale! Such great books.

  25. Ahh this is a wonderful list! I really like dystopian stories, though I need to read a few and far apart, otherwise I grow a bit tired of the genre. I have to read Unwind sometime, it sounds SO good! :)

  26. The Hunger Games is so good. I remember reading all 3 books within 3 days :)

  27. There are a lot of fantastic looking books in your lost. Among them, I've read and love THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION and THE GIVER. I've heard great things about Neal Shusterman and Stephen King, and I love the cover to HOW I LIVE NOW.

  28. I've only read THG's from your list but a friend actually just asked me about this so I'm sending over your rec's.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  29. It seems that everyone loves the Stand and I'm the only one who didn't. That one just didn't work for me at all.

  30. I've read The Giver and The Hunger Games. I have Unwind to read, but it's been on my Kindle forever. I need to get to it. 👍✨

    How I Live Now sounds wonderful. 📚✨

  31. I still have to read Battle Royale which I picked up years ago. My dad loves the film! Yes to The Hunger Games and The Stand!

  32. I really want to read Battle Royale at some point. Great list!

  33. It's been an age since I've read a dystopian. Of yours I read the Giver way back in school but it's been decades now (yikes!)