35 Binge-Worthy Young Adult Dystopian Novels You Must Read Today
I love getting lost in a good dystopian novel. Nothing beats the feeling of being part of this imaginary world the author creates for you and experiencing all the events right alongside the characters.
Finding a good series to binge is like waking up on Christmas morning.
That’s why I compiled this list of the best dystopian binge-worthy books (and series) for you to read.
Some, you may have already read, while others may be new to you.
Check out these top 35 most binge-worthy young adult dystopian novels you must read today.
By: Neal Shusterman
I’m a huge fan of Shusterman. Basically every book I’ve ever read from him I’ve binged because his style is so conversational.
The Unwind Dystology is no different.
You don’t even feel like you’re even reading as you fly through this series. You feel like you’re living in this world he’s created, following along with the characters.
The concept of this series is amazing, but also terrifying. Unwind is based in the future, after a civil war in the United States called the Heartland War. The aftermath is that abortion becomes illegal, but “unwinding”, the option to pull apart troubled teens for parts, becomes legal. These teens, once unwound, live in a “divided state”. Freaked out enough, yet?
It doesn’t take long before you realize all the issues this raises – from the black market to sell parts illegally, to the political platform the government raises and more. The biggest question in place: what happens to someone’s soul when they are “divided”?
Trust me, you’ll want to binge this one if only to learn more about this scary-believable world. You’ll find yourself thinking how real this is and how this society could exist today.
By: Suzanne Collins
You’ve probably seen the movies, but this is one of those cases where the books are even better. You’ll find that many “main” themes from the books were missed in the movie adaptation.
Hunger Games follows Katniss, a teenager who lives in a future version of the United States, called Panem. In Panem, there are 12 districts, each divided up by different industries, and each of the 12 districts is to send one teenage boy and one teenage girl to fight in the Hunger Games.
In the games, they fight to the death until one person makes it out alive. Katniss’s sister is selected for the games, and she instead volunteers to compete in her place, essentially signing her own death certificate.
The series is riveting, with one of the best love triangles of all time all mixed together between tons of action.
I quote so many lines from the series still today and I’m still wholeheartedly #teamPeeta.
If you haven’t already, you should definitely read this series (even if you’ve seen the movies!)
By: Sophie Davis
The Talented series follows Talia, who’s at the McDonough School for the Talented, because, well, she’s talented.
She is a Mental Manipulator. Which means you can not only hear her inner workings in the book, but also those of someone with whom she’s made a mental connection. She can read minds! It’s awesome. But not stereotypically so.
This series has that love triangle like Hunger Games that makes you take a side (and probably switch it as the series goes on!), which would be the hook, line, and sinker for many. But what’s also great is there is this spy-who-takes-on-the-government theme to the series that you don’t see in any other.
Talia is tough. She’s strong. And her inner thoughts are actually believable.
Overall, amazing. You’ll find yourself bingeing this exciting, fun series.
By: Heather Sunseri
The Mindspeak series is probably the best series nobody’s ever heard of. Seriously.
It’s so well-written and so captivating, you won’t want to stop reading. I read this series a couple of years ago and I still think about themes from it today.
Similar to the female lead in Talented, Lexi can read peoples’ thoughts. But there’s one glaring difference: she can also influence others’ thoughts. I know. Sounds cheesy, but bear with me.
She falls in love with the new kid at her boarding school, the-most-perfect-human-to-have-ever-existed-in-book, Jack, and he also has a secret: he can heal people.
As the series goes on, you run into a bunch of “I can’t believe that just happened” moments, because the story is amazing. It’s an awesome, well-developed plot that keeps you guessing.
There’s a HUGE twist in the series that is phenomenal and shifts the entire focus of the series to become better and better and better.
If you take nothing else from this post, know that you must read this series. If it’s not already on your list, it should be.
By: Veronica Roth
Divergent is another book series where you may have seen the movie(s), but the books are significantly better.
Beatrice Prior lives in a world divided into five factions. In this world outside of Chicago, teens are tested for faction placement, then given the chance to join a faction of their own choosing. Beatrice (Tris) has something weird happen during her test, where it is erased and manually keyed in by the test instructor, who tells her she is divergent – which isn’t good.
In this series, you learn the differences in these factions, the issues that arise because of factioned living, and a deep secret within the government.
This three-book series was easy for me to read quickly, but also had one of the strangest, most unfulfilling series endings I’ve ever read.
I’d love to hear your experience with this series and to get your thoughts on the ending.
I consistently hear mixed reviews on this one, but that doesn’t take away from the binge-worthy factor of it. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of love/hate with the ending, you’ll want to binge it.
By: James Dashner
The Maze Runner series comprises of five captivating books.
Thomas wakes up in a lift that eventually takes him to a foreign compound inside towering stone walls filled with other teenage boys. Just outside the walls is a limitless, ever-changing maze.
The maze is the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive. Everything changes when a girl suddenly arrives in the maze. The only girl ever.
This series follows Thomas and others as they determine the real reason they’ve been trapped in this maze and attempt to overtake those who’ve put them there.
This is a thrilling series, full of energy and action. The pace keeps you reading, and the twists and turns in the series are unlike any other. Start bingeing it today!
By: Lois Lowry
The Giver follows Jonas, a 12-year-old who lives in a society of “sameness” which eliminates pain, climate, and even color (yes, it’s all black and white!) People are incapable of lying and society seems to function in harmony.
Jonas attends the Ceremony of Twelve once he turns 12 to hear what he is assigned to his life’s work. However, he’s been given a special assignment as the Receiver of Memory, which is given to only one person in a lifetime.
As Jonas starts to receive memories from The Giver, he begins to realize that the world he knows really isn’t the truth at all. He begins to uncover the deep, dark secrets in his society and must learn how to handle it all.
Many read the first book in this series back in middle school, but if you read it again, you’ll have entirely different takeaways this time around.
Plus, I’m guessing you haven’t read the other three books in the series yet. Binge the Giver Quartet today!
By: Scott Westerfeld
The Uglies is the very first dystopian series I ever binged, mainly because it was written long before the others on this list (2006). But it’s sooooo good.
This series follows Tally, who can’t wait to turn sixteen because that means she can finally become pretty. The books are set in a world where everyone is born ugly until they undergo a surgery to become Pretties. Pretties have no worries and live life in this perfect euphoria.
She meets Shay, a person who has no interest in becoming Pretty, that changes her entire world. Tally learns the deep dark secret lurking behind Pretty culture throughout the series, and it’s so easy to become addicted.
Westerfeld was one of the pioneers of young-adult dystopian books, and this series won’t disappoint. It makes you think but is also captivating all the same. I highly recommend.
Have anything to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!