Hey there, readers!

If you're in the mood for captivating and thought-provoking reads, dystopian books might just be your thing. These stories offer a unique blend of adventure and mystery, set in a not-so-ideal future.

Whether new to the genre or a seasoned reader, dystopian books will draw you in with their intriguing characters and compelling plots.

Explore the thrilling world of dystopian literature and find your next great read.

Diving into Dystopia

Dystopia books take us to bleak and oppressive societies where everything has gone off the rails. These books often delve into themes like heavy-handed government control, environmental degradation, and the dark side of technological progress.

We're talking about societies that are seriously messed up, with strict rules and little room for individuality. But fear not, because, amid all this chaos, there's usually a hero or heroine fighting back against the powers that be.

Dystopian books are more than just page-turners – they make us ponder big questions about freedom, rights, and what it means to be human. These stories are like a mirror held up to our world, forcing us to think about the potential consequences of societal and governmental actions.

So, next time you're looking for a thought-provoking read, consider picking up a dystopian book. Who knows, it might just change the way you see the world around you!

At no extra cost to you, Reading Rhapsody can receive a commission through any of the links on this page. However, my opinions are my own.

Appeal to teenage readers

Are you one of those who can't get enough of dystopian novels? Well, you're not alone! Teenagers seem to gravitate towards these dark and intricate worlds for several reasons.

Dystopian fiction provides an outlet for escapism, allowing readers to explore different realities and break from their life pressures. The young, resilient protagonists in these novels inspire and empower readers to face their challenges with determination.

Also, these books often tackle pressing social and political issues, encouraging readers to ponder their values and beliefs. Packed with fast-paced action and suspense, dystopian novels keep young readers engaged while prompting them to think about their role in shaping the future.

Dystopian fiction offers teenage readers an exciting blend of escapism, relatable characters, and thought-provoking themes, capturing the imagination of countless young readers all around the globe.

Dystopian Novels for Teens

If you're looking for a gripping read that delves into society and human nature in a dark, futuristic setting, you're in for a treat. Check out some of the best dystopian books that have caught the attention of readers worldwide. These stories are sure to keep you hooked and give you some food for thought. Stick around as we explore and discuss these captivating reads!


In a future world where death is conquered, two teenagers, Citra and Rowan, are chosen to be apprentices to a Scythe—a role they don't want. Under the mentorship of Honorable Scythe Faraday, they are trained in the art of gleaning, or killing, ethically. However, they discover corruption within the Scythedom and are pitted against each other and the organization's dark forces. 

Check Price on Amazon

Why do I love it?

After finishing this series I have to say it is one of my top favorite YA dystopian series of all time. First, I have to mention the fantastic world-building. Shusterman has created a dystopian society that is both captivating and scary. The idea of a world where death has been conquered, and a group of people called scythes to control the population by "gleaning" is intriguing. The moral difficulties of this world kept me completely engrossed

The characters in "Scythe" are also great. I found Citra and Rowan's changing relationship and internal struggles as they become scythe apprentices to be interesting. Although I was more interested in Rowan, I also think the romantic side of their characters wasn't developed enough, and I would have preferred a more of a best friend type of relationship between them.

The ethical questions this book raises are also really important. Shusterman delves into themes of death, power, and the consequences of playing god. It made me think.

The pacing and plot twists kept me excited the whole way through. Just when I thought I had figured things out, Shusterman threw in a surprise that left my jaw drop. I also loved Honorable Scythe Faraday. The wisdom and honesty of his character made him a standout. He's one of my favorite characters in "Scythe."

What you should know

"Scythe" by Neal Shusterman is a young adult dystopian book set in the future. The book explores themes of corrupt government, moral uncertainty, and resistance against the established order. It also delves into ideas, such as the consequences of technological advancements and the ethics of artificial immortality.

"Scythe" has received critical acclaim and won the Michael L. Printz Honor Award for Young Adult Literature in 2017. After the first book, two more books called "Thunderhead" and "The Toll" were written to complete the series. There is another book called "Gleanings" an anthology of novellas set in the world of his "Arc of a Scythe" series.

The novel has been praised for its thought-provoking themes, interesting characters, and captivating story. It has also been chosen by Universal Pictures for a movie adaptation.

An Ember in The Ashes

A dystopian fantasy novel following Laia, a slave girl seeking help from the Resistance after her brother's arrest. She agrees to spy in the Empire's military academy to rescue him. Elias, a soldier, who is starting to doubt his loyalty to the oppressive government, their lives become intertwined in a world filled with political intrigue, betrayal, and dangers, as they confront moral dilemmas and fight for freedom.

Check Price on Amazon

Why do I love it?

I am currently reading the last book in the series and I can honestly say that I consider this to be one of my top favorite YA fantasy series set in a dystopian world of all time. First off, the world created by the author felt so real and vivid with detailed descriptions. I was able to picture everything in my mind as if I was right there.

The characters in the book were amazing too. There were characters like Elias who I liked, and others like the Commandant who I loved to hate. I also found the secondary characters, such as Cook and Izzi, to be very interesting. The growth and development of the characters, especially Elias, were done really well.

The world in the book is quite harsh, and it made me root for the main character, Laia, who faced so many struggles. The romantic aspect of the story was suttle and cute, but I'm glad it didn't take over the main plot.

What you should know

"An Ember in the Ashes" is a young adult fantasy novel by Sabaa Tahir, first published in 2015. The story is set in a dystopian world inspired by ancient Rome and follows the characters Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier, as they navigate a brutal and oppressive society.

The author, Sabaa Tahir, drew inspiration from her own experiences and family history to create the world and characters in the book. The novel received critical acclaim for its vivid world-building, complex characters, and compelling plot.

It has been translated into numerous languages and has become a New York Times bestseller. The series is followed by "A Torch Against the Night," "A Reaper at the Gates," and "A Sky Beyond the Storm."

There are rumors of a film adaptation of "An Ember in the Ashes," but no official confirmation has been made.

Ready Player One

In a futuristic world, people spend most of their time in a virtual reality world called the OASIS. The creator of the OASIS hides an Easter egg in the virtual world after his death. Whoever finds it and solves its mysteries will inherit his fortune and control of the OASIS.

Wade Watts, the main character, sets out to find the egg, facing challenges and competitors. Wade and his friends are in a race against the corporation IOI to secure the egg before it is seized for questionable reasons.

Check Price on Amazon

Why do I love it?

I read this after the release of the movie and I still enjoyed it just as much as the movie. One of the main reasons I liked the book is the way it seamlessly blends the elements of science fiction, dystopia, and gaming culture.

The detailed references to 1980s pop culture and video games may be overwhelming at times, but after becoming more familiar with them, I developed a strong appreciation for them.

The characters in "Ready Player One" are portrayed in a relatable manner. Wade Watts encounters challenging obstacles as an underdog in the story. His determination and resourcefulness make him a cool hero, and I felt invested in his journey.

What you should know

"Ready Player One" is a science fiction novel written by Ernest Cline. The book was published in 2011 and became an instant bestseller.

The story is set in a dystopian future where people escape the harsh reality by entering a virtual reality world called OASIS. The novel is heavily influenced by 1980s pop culture, including video games, movies, music, and other elements from that era.

In 2018, the book was adapted into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. Ready Player One" received critical acclaim for its nostalgic references, engaging storyline, and captivating world-building.

Ernest Cline has also written a sequel titled "Ready Player Two," which continues the adventures of the characters in the OASIS world.


In "Legend" by Marie Lu, the story is set in a futuristic dystopian America, following the characters Day and June. Day is a wanted criminal, while June is a military prodigy. When June's brother is murdered, Day becomes the prime suspect, leading her to go undercover to find him. As they cross paths, they uncover truths about the corrupt government and fight against the oppressive regime for justice and freedom.

Check Price on Amazon

Why do I love it?

I recently had the chance to read Legend by Marie Lu, and there were a few things that I liked about this book. One of the first things that caught my attention was the investigation aspect of the murder of June's brother. The plot was filled with thrilling moments, and I found myself turning the pages until I had all the answers.

On the other hand, I must admit that I couldn't quite invest in June's character. She initially came off as bratty and entitled, which made it difficult for me to connect with her. However, I appreciated her loyalty and love for her brother, which showed a different side of her and made me warm up to her as the story progressed.

I found myself more invested in Day's character. His struggles and determination pulled me into the story. The world-building was also unique, and while some elements felt familiar, there were enough original details to keep me intrigued.

I will say that while the storyline became somewhat predictable at times, my favorite aspect of the book was the relationship between Day and his family, as well as the bond between June and her brother. These connections added depth to the characters and brought an emotional aspect to the book that I appreciated.

What you should know

"Legend" features alternating perspectives from June and Day, offering readers different viewpoints of the story. The novel delves into themes of government corruption, societal inequality, and personal sacrifice.

Marie Lu found inspiration from Les Misérables and personal experiences for her book "Legend", which became a New York Times bestseller. The success of "Legend" led to three more books: "Prodigy", "Champion", and "Rebel." CBS Films initially acquired the film rights, but Bound Entertainment is now adapting it into a television show.

Red Queen

In a dystopian fantasy world where people are divided by their blood color – regular red and the powerful silver elite – Mare Barrow, a teen from the poverty-stricken Stilts, discovers her extraordinary ability. As she navigates a dangerous world of lies and danger, she teams up with the Red Guard to secretly work against the oppressive rule of the Silvers.

Check Price on Amazon

Why do I love it?

When I began reading "Red Queen," the initial pace seemed slow and I struggled to connect with the FMC, Mare, due to her personality coming off as whiny. However, as the story progressed, unexpected plot twists helped to compensate for the slow start.

The characters in the book had different types of superhuman abilities, which I found interesting. The distinction between the Silver and Red bloods, and the power dynamics between them, added depth to the story. In this world, your blood color determines your social status and abilities, making the story worth finishing.

Some people may find it enjoyable, but I found this book lacking compared to others in the dystopian and fantasy genre. It didn't captivate me as much as it did for others, possibly due to my comparison with similar books. However, I still believe it is worth recommending.

What you should know

"Red Queen" by Victoria Aveyard is the first book in a four-part book series, followed by "Glass Sword," "King's Cage," and "War Storm."

The novel received praise from readers and critics alike, earning a place on the New York Times bestseller list. It has been selected for a show adaptation on Peacock, with Elizabeth Banks lined up to portray one of the characters.

The best book for you!

So, there you have it! Dystopian books for teens are like a one-way ticket to thrilling and thought-provoking worlds that'll have you on the edge of your seat. Not only are they perfect for those looking for a captivating escape, but they also spark some serious reflection on society. So, get your hands on a copy, buckle up, and get ready for an epic adventure! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Happy reading!