What is Dystopian Fiction? by Jennifer Hatch (NoveList Plus)

Derived from the Greek, dystopia means “bad or hard place,” and that’s the perfect nutshell description for the all-important settings of dystopian novels. To expand, the settings are imagined, usually futuristic societies where horrific things are happening. Most often, the source of the trouble is an oppressive government, corporation, or other powerful group.

A dystopia is the antithesis of a utopia, or ideal place, and the problems that create the dystopia are usually extrapolated from issues facing contemporary society. Dystopian novels are generally considered a subgenre of science fiction, though there are crossovers with other genres.


Red Queen by Victoria AveyardRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard

In a world divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities-Mare, a Red, discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess.



5 to 1 by Holly Bodger5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

In a dystopian future where gender selection has led to girls outnumbering boys 5 to 1, marriage is arranged based on a series of tests. It’s Sudasa’s turn to pick a husband through this ‘fair’ method, but she’s not sure she wants to be a part of it.



The Scorpion Rules by Erin BowThe Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The teenage princess of a future-world Canadian superpower, where royal children are held hostage to keep their countries from waging war, falls in love with an American prince who rebels against the brutal rules governing their existences.



The Darkest Minds by Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Sixteen-year-old Ruby breaks out of a government-run ‘rehabilitation camp’ for teens who acquired dangerous powers after surviving a virus that wiped out most American children.





Ink and Bone by Rachel CaineInk and Bone by Rachel Caine

In a world where the Great Library of Alexandria governs the flow of information to the people, Jess discovers that those who control the Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than human life after his friend inadvertently commits heresy.



Stone Rider by David HofmeyrStone Rider by David Hofmeyr

A young man who seeks revenge and redemption from his past joins a brutal race to win a chance to escape his dying world.




Hunter by Mercedes LackeyHunter by Mercedes Lackey

A teenage girl leaves home to join the legendary Hunters, who protect the people from the terrifying monsters that have overrun their world.




Reboot by Amy TinteraReboot by Amy Tintera

Seventeen-year-old Wren rises from the dead as a Reboot and is trained as an elite crime-fighting soldier until she is given an order she refuses to follow.




Y the Last Man by Brian K. VaughanY: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan

A plague suddenly kills every mammal and cell on earth with a Y chromosome except, inexplicably, a man named Yorick. Y’s escape artist talents come in handy as various groups try to kill him, protect him, study him, or use him for purposes he cannot even imagine.



The Young World by Chris WeitzThe Young World by Chris Weitz

Jefferson, with his childhood friend Donna, leads a tribe of teenagers in New York City on a dangerous quest to find an antidote for a mysterious illness that wiped out all adults and children.


last updated: February 2016

About Princess Leia

I am the Teen Services Librarian at the Grayslake Area Public Library.
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