Best Books List, Dystopian, Thriller
The Best YA/Teen Fiction Books With Zombies

Zombies are probably everyone’s favorite monsters: shambling, reanimated, rotting corpses that look just like you and me, except more animal. Part of what’s scary about zombies is precisely the fact that they are people, or they used to be people. Whether the zombies are caused by some necromancer reanimating long-buried corpses, or by a bio-weapon released by pharmaceutical companies, zombies are strange, but they retain enough of their human appearance – and sometimes, their human traits – to unsettle and terrify us.

And YA fiction isn’t safe from these flesh-eating monsters. There are plenty of YA zombie books and zombie book series to seek your flesh-hungry teeth into – and we’re listing some of them down here! So if you’re hungry for some zombies, check out this list – you might find something new to devour.

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

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Benny Imura lives in zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America – a world where every teenager has to find a job before they turn fifteen, or else get their rations reduced. Benny doesn’t want to be apprenticed as a zombie hunter with his brother Tom, but he doesn’t have a lot of choices. But what he first thinks is a tedious job hunting down zombies actually turns into something more.

What do the readers say?

“Jonathan Maberry did an excellent job developing the characters and creating an interesting setting. The reader can get lost in Benny’s world. ROT & RUIN gets the Gold Star Award because I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I stayed up until 3:30 A.M. one night to finish. This story caused me to cringe, gasp, chuckle, and cry. Absolutely amazing!” – Karin Librarian of TeensReadToo, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

the-forest-of-hands-and-teeth-carrie-ryan

Mary’s world holds a set of simple truths. The Sisterhood knows best, the Guardians protect and serve, and the Unconsecrated will never relent. The fence that surrounds the village is also the only protection everyone has against the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But the truths are starting to fail Mary, and she begins discovering secrets about the Sisterhood, the Guardians, and the Unconsecrated. Now, torn between choosing between her village and her future, she must face another truth: the Forest of Hands and Teeth, and if there is a life in an outside world filled with death.

What do the readers say?

“…I found Mary to be a well-developed, great “teenage” character dealing with the adult in a very young adult mindframe. The plot itself is fantasy pure and simple (and though young love always seems to be based in the fantasy) the driving emotions behind the story are steeped in the reality of the fantasy world, taking into account complexities, obligation, family and devotion rather than hyperbolic “tunnel-vision” solely for the sake of turning pages.” Marie, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

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R is a zombie who has no memories, identity, or a pulse – but he’s different from the other zombies. He’d rather be riding airport escalators than eating people, listening to music and collecting souvenirs. His life – or un-death – changes, when he meets a girl who starts out as a captive but becomes his reluctant house guest. Julie injects color in R’s life, and something inside him starts changing. He doesn’t want to eat her – he wants to protect her. But their bond causes ripples, and they have to fight the world to maintain it.

What do the readers say?

“What an entertaining delight! I first heard of this book through the movie trailer. I was very skeptical about this, yet oddly curious at the same time. A zombie who falls in love…. I did not know what to expect getting into this. What I ended up experiencing was a story like no other.”Jamie E., Amazon user. [Review on Amazon]

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

hollowland-amanda-hocking

Remy King needs to get across the American wasteland, and she’s determined to get through. Nothing will stop her – not violent marauders, not a spoiled rock star, and certainly not legions of flesh-eating zombies.

What do the readers say?

“There is no question that Ms. Hocking is a talented, unique storyteller. The action never stops, but at the same time, neither does the blood and gut letting. At times I actually felt nauseous, but the story, much like a train wreck, has an irresistible draw that lured me back to reading even after I had to put it down.”D. Thorne, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

 

Soulless by Christopher Golden

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A mass seance in New York City causes the undead to rise all over the place and chaos to ensure. Trapped within this horrific reality are two college rivals, a gang member, a teenage popstar, and her body guard, who are all trying to find a way into the very center of the nightmare, and trying to fight to end the madness.

What do the readers say?

“Soulless is a different take on zombies. No virus. No wormwood star. No magic hoodoo. Just a good old fashioned seance. Yeah, this is one doozy of a seance. I avoid them like the plague! Ha, ha! I like his explanation for spirits. It a sound theory to me. But then I’ve always been a little “out there.” I liked the way he built on the characters in this story. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves zombies and ghosts.”Lisa, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

The Enemy by Charlie Higson

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Everyone over the age of fourteen has turned into a zombie, and now the kids are the only ones left alive to take care of each other. When they hear a rumor about a safe hiding place, they all begin to cross the city of London, through hordes of undead adults, down alleyways, and deserted houses, all in the hopes of surviving.

What do the readers say?

“The Enemy is a good read. The pacing and plot are superb. This novel zips along at the speed of light! What stands out for me about this book is not only it’s non stop action, but the fact that the author was able to work in some great character development along the way. This is a truly unique cast that we are treated to in this somewhat common story of a disease that kills off or infects the entire adult population of London. I’ve read quite a few books in this “end of the world” genre and while there’s not much new with the storyline, these characters add a freshness to the tale that brings this one up to a new level. I really fell in love with some of these kids!”J. Prather, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The First Days by Rhiannon Frater

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Jenni and Katie are two women whose lives intertwine on the morning when they face a zombie horde and watch as they world collapse. The two form a powerful, zombie-killing partnership, as they rescue Jenni’s stepson Jason and make their way to a fortified Texas town. There, they meat the attractive Travis, the leader of the survivors, and there they learn that they must slaughter people they know who have now become zombies.

What do the readers say?

“The author provides a fresh, female perspective to the zombie apocalypse. No worries, zombie fans, this is no “girl power” feminine manifesto, though going into this story I had my concerns. The two main characters are certainly two characters that could have fallen into that realm: an abused housewife who is set free by both the advent of the zombie apocalypse and by a ultra confident lesbian attorney who hits the road with her in a desperate attempt to escape the mass slaughter going on around them.”Patrick S. Dorazio, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

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Renee Winters’ good life takes a turn when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest – what appears to be a case of double murder. After the funeral, she is sent to Gottfried Academy, a boarding school in Maine, where she studies Philosophy, Latin, and the “Crude Sciences.” There, she meets the handsome Dante Berlin, a boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. Strange things happen the closer they get. And when she learns about the dark past surrounding Gottfried, Renee begins doubting everything that she’s ever known about the place. Little does she know that Dante knows something, and that he’s starting to fear for her life.

What do the readers say?

“Renee was a fantastic main character. She was smart and resourceful. Even dealing with the shocking death of her parents, she is strong and stands up for what she believes in. When she moves to the mysterious Godfried Academy and finds that there are things there that might lead her to answers about what happened to her parents she is unstoppable in her quest for answers. Dante is the classic male lead, handsome and mysterious and everything a girl is looking for. He was completely devoted to Renee from the moment they got together. Although he was the classic male lead, he was also charming in his own right and a lot of fun to read.” Angela, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

patient-zero-jonathan-maberry

Joe Ledger is a Baltimore detective who’s assigned to a counterterrorism task force. But then he’s recruited by the government to lead a different response group – the Department of Military Scientists, assigned to stop a group of terrorists planning to release a bio-weapon that aims to turn ordinary people into zombies.

What do the readers say?

“If you like explosions, fighting, tough-guy talk and scary, brain-munching zombies, you’ll love this book. I was riveted from page 1, and I raced to get to the last word. The zombies are strong and hungry. The good guys are the best, and the bad guys are the worst. There is nail-biting action at every turn, and a surprising amount of humor thrown in. This is one of the best zombie novels I’ve read in a very long time.”mellion108, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]


Origins
by Kristen Middleton

origins-kristen-middleton

Cassandra Wild’s life isn’t easy. She has to deal with her mother’s home daycare and her feelings for her martial arts instructor, Bryce. But she never thought her world would take a turn for the worse until an untested vaccine starts killing more than just a rampant flu virus. Now the world is filled with the undead, and Cassie must run for her life.

What do the readers say?

“Loved this entire series of books and a slightly different twist than your regular walking dead. I started with the first book and read them all the way through.”Twinkle Toes, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

 

Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo

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The Center for Disease Control’s scientists finally find a vaccine for swine flue, but when a significant number of people finally get the shot, sit becomes evident to the CDC that something is wrong. People succumbed to the virus found in the vaccine, causing widespread panic – and widespread reanimation amongst those who died. Now those who have survived the first encounter must find a way to survive.

What do the readers say?

“I read a lot. I have ever since before I could read all of the words I came across, and yet I read voraciously. As an adult, I’ve read a lot of post-apocalyptic and zombie literature. A LOT. Probably more than a well-adjusted and productive person should. I’ve read well-written, thought-provoking books, and I’ve read hastily thrown together e-novellas that seemed to be more of an idea than an actual story. Nothing in this genre has ever both immediately intrigued me AND made me laugh out loud.”M. Sexton, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Barely Alive by Bonnie R. Paulson

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Paul Ledger hopes that in twelve weeks, he’s dead. It’s because he’s trapped in the worst cult ever in the United States. He’s infected with a zombie virus and, if he doesn’t die in time, will be chained in a basement facility yearning for flesh. And he has to do errands for his boss. It’s on one of these runs that he finds Heather McCain, who allows Paul to bite her. But she doesn’t develop zombie-like side effects, and this fact doesn’t escape Paul’s boss. The boss delivers an ultimatum – deliver Heather, or let Paul watch as his own brother suffers the dreadful fate of the zombie.

What do the readers say?

“I was completely enthralled with this book. I could not put it down. This was another book that I pretty much read on my phone’s kindle because I needed to constantly know what would happen next. This is the first book I have read by this author and I simply love her writing style. This maybe be the first but definitely not the last book I will read by Bonnie. The ending of this book was perfect! Best type of cliffhanger. It makes me very excited for the next book in this series!! Amazing job!” Step Into Fiction, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Contaminated by Em Garner

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An epidemic called the Contamination, caused by the diet drink ThinPro, has turned citizens into zombies who cnannot control their violent impulses. The government has rounded up the Connies to protect the remaining people who have yet to be contaminated. But two years later, the government decides to send the rehabilitated Connies back home, wearing shock collars to prevent them from doing anything violent. Velvet Ellis, whose parents are Connies, have spent the past years taking care of her sister alone and living on government rations. One day, she finds her mother in the Kennels nad brings her home. Velvet is willing to sacrifice everything to protect her mother, and will risk everything to get the collar off her mother – even if it means endangering their lives.

What do the readers say?

  • “I stumbled across this book last year while browsing with my kids in Barnes and Nobel, and I actually love it. It’s an easy read, it has details about Velvet’s world that I love, and I couldn’t wait to read the next one. In a market saturated with survival/post-apocalyptic world novels, this one is still very enjoyable.”Eloyie, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Tagged: The Apocalypse by Joseph M. Chiron

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A subdermal chip implant has turned people into a new breed of zombies, fast and with sharp teeth and claws. They hunt in large packs, and the government and the military are overrun. Retreating into underground locations, they have left the populace to fend off for themselves. In this world are Sven and his Cannabis-growing crew, who manage to find a shelter in a nuclear power plant. In a lawless place where they survive on their own, and where the government has left them behind, and their shelter might not be enough of a guarantee to protect them, Sven and his crew have to live by themselves and survive on their own, until a new world order is established.

What do the readers say?

  • “This book far exceeds the usual zombie fiction hype that’s sweeping the nation. A thrilling mix between George Orwell and the writing young adults crave today is exactly what Joseph Chiron has pulled off. While the book strongly expresses the views held in Christianity, it’s not overwhelming as many stories are in the religious fiction genre.”Kyra Aliana, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Undying by Valerie Grosjean

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Eighteen-year-old college freshman Christian finds that his dormitory has been overrun with zombies, and that he’s not the only one who has this problem, as the entire country has been taken over by the undead. He races to protect what matters most to him: Iris, the sixteen-year-old girl that he loves. But she’s eighty miles away, completely alone, and unaware of what’s happening around her. Christian plans his rescue – evade zombies, drive to Iris, and get them to his family farm, where there’s ammunition, fuel, and all other things that they need to stay alive. But the straightforward plan becomes complicated, when Christian is faced with an impossible decision: save his family, or save Iris.

What do the readers say?

“I thought I would get this book and spend the next week or so reading it. Wrong! I couldn’t put it down! I read the whole book in one day and can’t wait for the next one! The author has created characters we really care about and has managed to portray life in Nebraska with incredible accuracy. Loved it!” – lbrock21, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Dead New World by Ryan Hill

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The living dead are smart and are moving around freely, while the humans are forced behind concrete barricades to protect themselves. The Reverend, the leader of a cult and the one controlling the zombies, believe that the undead are God’s latest creation, and that every person should be given the chance to become one. With his army, the Horsemen of the the Apocalypse, he’s determined to get his wish. Holt and Ambrose, two people who went up against the Reverend once, have been injured by the encounter. Holt lost a foot, while Ambrose was bitten by a zombie, although he survived the virus and has turned into a human-zombie hybrid. When the Reverend takes away the woman Holt loves, both Holt and Amber take up arms against the Reverend again.

What do the readers say?

  • “Dead New World is a cool mash-up of military action, zombie horror, and evolution. It’s a fresh premise rooted in an easily visualized world where bio-engineered zombies have taken over and survivors must join military efforts to fight against them. I love the twist where the villain known as the Reverend has a connection with the walking dead that allows him to communicate and control them. And that’s not all, there are certain survivors who are strong enough to fight the infection from a zombie bite and in turn become a human-zombie hybrid, survival of the fittest at its best. Overall I really enjoyed this read.”S. Wier, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Cellar by A.J. Whitten

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Meredith Wills doesn’t trust Adrien, the new guy living next door. When she sneaks a look into his house, she discovers something terrifying: Adrien might just be an actual monster. But Meredith’s sister, Heather, does not share this opinion. She thinks Adrien is the only one who understands her, and Heather finds that she just might be falling in love with the guy. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in their school’s Romeo and Juliet production, Heather starts thinking that fate has a hand in it. But Meredith believes otherwise. She wants to tear the couple apart, but it might put her at risk and she might be thrown into the cellar.

What do the readers say?

  • “I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The thought of romeo and juliet mixed together with zombies was intriguing. The problem I have with most of these YA books is when you have an author trying to write in the teenager’s point of view and not doing a good job at all. It seems forced and fake and very hard to relate to. To my dismay, this was NOT that type of book. The teen characters were so well written. They reminded me of my teens at home and their friends. When I read the back of the book I found out the author was a mom writing along with her daughter under one pen name. This seemed to be the perfect mix to make an enjoyable read.”M. Bennett, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Tomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi

tomorrow-land-mari-mancusi

Peyton Anderson had to make a choice between her family and Chris Parker, the boy she loves. It’s been four years ever since, and now that she has to step out from her fallout shelter and into a zombie-infested world, Chris is the first thing on her mind. Peyton has been modified by her father so that she could survive a harsh land, her nails razor-tipped, her eyes with implants, and her body wired with cybernetic modifications. But all of these can’t protect her heart as she finds Chris again, now a tortured man and angry that she broke his heart and never told him why. Now they have to survive through the world and get to the last human outpost on Earth, all the while surviving the old hurt that’s with them.

What do the readers say?

“What I really liked about this novel, more than anything else, was being able to watch Peyton and Chase fall in love twice, four years apart. Through our glimpses into the past, and our knowledge of the present, Marcusi gives the reader a true love story chalked full of mystery, suspense, and intrigue as the characters strive to make it to the rendezvous point and, ultimately, save mankind.”A Book Vacation, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

Love At the End of Days by Tera Shanley

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It’s been four years since the Dead outbreak that ended the world. It’s in this world that Vanessa Summers swears that she’ll never trust a man again. But then she meats Sean Daniels, the leader of Dead Run River, whom she discovers isn’t just any man. When circumstances compel Vanessa to sign up as a guard for a supply run, she’s given the chance to get to know Sean better, who looks like he wants to be more personal with Vanessa. Vanessa and Sean become closer as they travel through Dead-infested cities, but when they come back to Dead Run River, they find that trouble’s been brewing back home. Laney Landry, who broke Sean’s heart, is in trouble, and it’s up to Vanessa to decide whether or not she will take her back to the safety of the Denver colony, to bow out of the mission and avoid the attraction she finds terrifying.

What do the readers say?

  • “Ms. Shanley is an up and coming writer to watch. The second book is as good or better than the first as the characters keep searching for ways to keep their humanity as they also struggle to keep their colonies safe from the hoards of living dead. Love and new life manage to develop in spite of harsh adversity. Fast paced action, wonderful characters, and an engrossing plot line will make you hate to put it down.” – Wanda Salyer, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Wax by Phil Duncan

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Yancey Muncey has been raised from the grave by Dr. Blankenship, and he’s now back in high school and back to his old life, hanging out with his best friend and mustering up the courage to ask out the girl of his dreams to the Halloween carnival. But since his new life, things have changed: he has yellow eyes and blue skin, and he’s pretty much indestructible. What’s worse is that Dr. Blankenship is hunting him down – because the only reason why Yancey’s alive in the first place is because he has to help Dr. Blankenship destroy his own rival.

What do the readers say?

  • “Phil Duncan has written a fast-paced, fun and funny sci-fi adventure for 10-16 year olds. Boys likely will find this updated Frankenstein story most interesting, but girls might also enjoy the smart and quick character of Ruth. Yancey is a high school geek of the highest order. His innate intelligence makes him an easy target among the school bullies and his best friend Russell, who could qualify as a professional eater and chair-sitter, doesn’t up Yancey cool factor one iota. Told in a filmic before/after storytelling technique, young readers will be challenged to think and figure out the plot, but that’s a good thing!”Monagal, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

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Seventeen-year-old Michale and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been spending their time fighting monsters in the Game. They get their instructions from the mysterious Game Master, who asks them to search for survivors and fight hordes of Bellows – flesh-hungry creatures roaming the dark. Michael and Patrick are good at the Game, but it’s changing. The Bellows are getting better, and the survivors that Michael and Patrick are led to don’t follow the rules. Soon, Michael and Patrick find that their lives are changing, and things will never be the same.

What do the readers say?

  • “The End Games deserves five stars, because of its originality and lack of fear to shock the reader in sometimes offensive ways (when the priest slits the throat of a woman). I can’t wait every day to read more of it, and I can’t wait to read more works from this already very talented author.”bob, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Zombie Britannica by Thomas Emson

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The dead keep rising, and there’s no time to prepare. Thousands have been infected and everything is on the edge. In this world, Carrie Asher must travel through the bloody streets of London to save her six-year-old daughter, who’s trapped in the basement of their home with her zombie father upstairs. Vincent Maskell, meanwhile, is trapped in a Welsh castle with the girl he loves, with the undead all around them and the humans they’re with rapidly losing their minds. Craig Murray and his family are in Scotland, stuck in a traffic jam, when the zombies start attacking. Then he finds out that his younger sister has been kidnapped, and he must contend with both the undead and the living. The world is toppling, and these people must deal with the collapse.

What do the readers say?

  • “Moves fast, very enjoyable. I liked this book so much I went and bought his other books too. I even sent him an email asking if there will be a sequel (not at this time). I like how it shows how quickly society will decay whne faced with such troubles. Give it a shot!” Gentria, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Zom-B Chronicles by Darren Shan

the-zom-b-chronicles-darren-shanB Smith doesn’t like his Dad’s racism at all, but has decided to keep his thoughts to himself all his life, thinking that it wouldn’t be worth getting into a fight with his father when he sticks up for Muslims, blacks, and immigrants. But then the zombies attack, and the world that B knows – with his racist dad and all – gets changed drastically.

What do the readers say?

“I haven’t read Darren Shan in some time and I’m glad to see he hasn’t lost his macabre touch with his books. Although gory there are scenes that the Gore becomes a tool for a major case of the feels and you can’t stop turning the pages.” – Rachael, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

And that’s all for this list! It’s a little shorter than the lists we usually put up, but there’s still a lot of great YA zombie books in it! But of course, we know we haven’t covered them all – so if you know some great zombie books we’ve missed, let us know!

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