Young adult novels love to dig into all types of imaginative worlds. There’s no end to what the YA reader can get lost in with this genre. A couple of the more popular sub genres today are Dystopian and Apocalyptic. Some of today’s more popular YA novels in these genres are Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, The Giver, Cinder, and on and on!
- According to Mirriam-Webster, a dystopia is “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives”. Sounds awesome! Sign me up!
- For the apocalyptic sub genre, you need a world that is in the midst of falling apart. There can be many reasons for this: famine, disease, medical mayhem, earthquakes and other natural disasters. The Mayan calendar, religion & the end times, zombies, aliens, and so are also really popular story themes.
Let’s discover some great NEW worlds that will fire up your survival instincts. Or might just scare the crap out of you!
1: Influence by David R. Bernstein – Thirty years after greed and corruption tore American society apart; powerful sector groups regularly recruit young people with the ability to shape the collective consciousness of others. Influences, as they are called, are forced to mold the populace for the group’s selfish desires. Wars between regions have broke out as they fight to gain power and resources in this harsh new world. Learn More
2: The Superiors by Lena Hillbrand – It is a dystopian vampire novel. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, The Superiors shows what would happen if vampires really existed. Vampires, who call themselves Superiors, own humans as nothing more than livestock. To them, humans are only a source of food and sometimes companionship, like a pet goat. Most humans live in large government facilities where Superiors can go to eat. Some work in restaurants, and others are owned by individual, wealthy Superiors. Owning a human is a great expense and it is considered a status symbol for a Superior to own one or more humans. Learn More
3: Ghost Hand by Ripley Patton – Set in a world where, for the last 23 years, children have been born with a rare paranormal birth defect known as Psyche Sans Soma, or PSS, manifesting their limbs as ethereal energy instead of flesh and blood. Some people think PSS is the next great evolutionary step for humankind, others think it is a dangerous mutation that must be wiped out, while still others have created a cult worshiping those with PSS as The Marked. When all three of these groups collide, seventeen-year-old Olivia Black, the girl with the ghost hand, is caught in the middle and propelled into a disastrous and thrilling fight for her life and for the future of every teenager with PSS. Learn More
4: Immurement by Norma Hinkens – A sci-fi/dystopian thriller set in a post-apocalyptic landscape after the earth’s core overheats, a day the survivors call the meltdown. All hell breaks loose after a ring of volcanos around the globe erupts and the sovereign leader issues a thermal radiation warning. Tidal waves build and lakes lurch, belching water for miles in every direction. Those who make it out of the lowlands huddle together watching helplessly as fireballs the size of football fields rip through the cities. Molten rock pushes miles of asphalt sky-high forming blacktop mâche mountains. Strip malls explode like piñatas, buildings shoot hundreds of feet into the air. Toxic ash clouds take out countless millions. And then the Sweepers come. They hunt the young to extract their DNA in a bid to replenish the earth. The only place left to hide is underground. Learn More
5: Flying Away by Caroline A. Gill – Set in a broken America, roughly present day, The Pacific Northwest is under attack. Only an orphan who talks to houseflies can stop the nocturnal hunters who steal memories, leaving town after town filled with emptied people who have forgotten everything. Over and over, one girl encounters abandoned cities, small towns that just stopped. How can she stop the madness? Learn More
6: The Deserted Lands by Robert L. Slater – In an alternate future with the crux point of separation occurred around 2008. Major differences are increased investment in renewable power and national power grids. So when the bat flu strikes in 2019 many places retain power. The pandemic kills 95% of the population and leaves another 1-2% with impacted mental functions, referred to as dog-people. With most of the population dead there is plenty of food, gas, and other supplies, left behind.
As time goes on clusters of humanity form, focused on surviving by scavenging, by technology or living off the land and the rebounding animal populations. A recurrence of the virus a generation later kills off a third of the remaining population, while climate change and natural disasters force humans out of areas they once controlled. These societies grow apart, maintaining some trade of technology and food. A hundred years later humanity stumbles along in a new feudal era where technology has been relegated to magic. Only a few dedicated monks try to maintain the store of knowledge for some future generation. Learn More
7: White City by Jessie Costin – Set in a world where for as long as anyone living can remember, the Citizens have lived confined within the fences of isolated camps, controlled by the Invaders, where they work in agriculture and industry to supply the Invaders’ cities. Everyone is assigned their number, their work, and when they turn 18, if they pass the genetic testing, they are Paired. A breeding program for future generations of workers. Babies are born and separated from their parents. There are no families. And twins never survive.
That is a Citizen’s life, a grey, concrete village, and work within its fences, with no knowledge of life beyond it, either in the forest that surrounds them, or in the distant cities. They receive limited education, with the focus on only practical skills and propaganda to know their place. There is no music or art or literature — only the faint memories of such things, found in hidden books, or passed down through old stories like myth and legend.
White City is a rumoured refuge – a new army of saviours, to overthrow the Invaders, and let Citizens live free within its utopian walls of human ingenuity and innovation.
But the forest contains a living memory, a music, that once heard begins to unlock the secrets of the history of this world. The truth that this is not the first war, and the lines between Citizen, Invader & Saviour are not as clear as they’ve been taught. Learn More
8: Breaking the Surface by Amanda Zieba – Set in a scientific community on the ocean floor. Beneath a fiberglass bubble scientists work to rid the oceans off the coast of Florida of water pollution. Surrounded by water and technology, these present day scientists dedicate their lives to the betterment of the world for all mankind. But don’t worry… it’s not all serious business. The teens and kids of the community play an underwater game that is a combination of basketball and dodgebal. Learn More
9: Prescient by Derek Murphy – When Zamonta, an agricultural research and development corporation, develops a genetically modified tomato with disastrous consequences, only one girl can save the human race. She travels into the dystopian wasteland looking for answers, but finds only monsters – humans have evolved into something much more terrible. And if that isn’t bad enough, Zamonta is still around, kidnapping the few survivors to conduct genetic research. The only way to stop it is to kill the lead scientist responsible – who just happens to be the father of her high school crush. Learn More