20 Best Books Like The Darkest Minds Series (YA Dystopian)

It is fascinating to read books about what a new society or world order would be like in the case of worldwide turmoil and catastrophe. The Darkest Minds is a haunting young adult dystopian novel by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Alexandra Bracken. 

RT -_0000_Best Books Like The Darkest Minds Series

The novel centers around a group of kids who survive a mysterious disease that kills most of America’s children. However, these kids are soon sent to a brutal government-operated camp as they not only survive this sinister disease but are left with uncontrollable powers the adults in their lives cannot fathom. 

If you are looking for a riveting YA dystopian book, such as The Darkest Minds, then look no further! Here are 20 picks of novels that will suck you right into a new world. 

The 5th Wave- Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave: The First Book of the 5th Wave Series

This New York Times bestselling novel, which has also been adapted into a major motion picture, tells the story of a world ravaged by an invasion. We follow Cassie, one of the few survivors, as she stealthily avoids the species that has invaded Earth while on the hunt to find her brother. 

You can get the book here.

Legend- Marie Lu

Legend

Marie Lu is the New York Times bestselling author of Legend, which focuses on 15-year-olds June and Day. Both teens have grown up on completely opposite sides of the Republic, what used to be the western United States, and is now a nation constantly at war. June is an elite and Day was born in the slums. 

When Day is implicated in the murder of June’s brother, both teens cross paths and will soon discover the Republic hides secrets that could turn their worlds upside down. Action, suspense, and romance make this YA dystopian novel a thrill for many readers.

You can get the book here.

Renegades- Marissa Meyer

Renegades (Renegades, 1)

In this novel, we meet Nova, a young girl on a path of revenge. Her target? a group of gifted humans called the Renegades who emerged from a collapsed society. When Nova meets a Renegade boy who wants justice as well, it seems there may be some sort of understanding between the pair. 

However, there is a bigger villain here, and it seems like not even Nova or the Renegades have a say in how this story unfolds. This is the first book of the Renegades series and is an excellent blend of sci-fi and action.

You can get the book here.

The Selection- Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection, 1)

This fairy-tale-like dystopian novel explores a society in which 35 young girls compete for the affection of a prince. The chosen girl will get to break free from her lower class and live in the castle to revel in Prince Maxon’s affections. However, for America, this is a nightmare. 

She has already found love elsewhere, and having to leave her home for this competition doesn’t sit right for her. She has no choice, and meeting Prince Maxon may completely alter her plans as well. Many readers enjoy the alternate society and action presented in this book.

You can get the book here.

Recruitment- K.A. Riley

Recruitment: A Dystopian Novel (The Resistance Trilogy)

In the society of Valta, everyone has the same birthday, November 1st. Once turned 17, the Recruiters take you away. Kress and her friends are taken into a military camp with grueling psychological tests, hand-to-hand combat, and the promise that they will win the war.

However, Kress begins to see that maybe not everything they’ve been told is the truth, and there is much more than meets the eye in this recruitment. This dystopian novel keeps you on the edge of your seat!

You can get the book here.

Flow- Clare Littlemore

Flow

Society exists in a world where sea levels have risen to extraordinary levels. The Beck is constantly threatened by catastrophic floods, and there are rules imposed by the Governor that must be followed. 

Quinn knows there are secrets in The Beck, and after becoming Patrol Sector, she begins to investigate. She meets Cam, a mysterious boy who tells her that asking questions is dangerous.

Quinn can’t help herself, however, and she becomes caught up in a search for answers. This thrilling dystopian YA will enthrall many.

You can get the book here.

Sequenced- Elayna R. Gallea

Sequenced: A YA Dystopian Romance (The Sequencing Chronicles)

Tiarny is a society where people who come of age are Sequenced to allow the community to prosper in peace and harmony, regardless of class. We follow Nellie, who is getting ready to be Sequenced. Opposing Sequencing means opposing the Source, a leading figure in society. 

When Nellie’s Sequencing ceremony occurs, nothing goes as planned. Nellie finds herself stolen from her home, and she begins to see that nothing is as it seems in Tiarny, especially the Sequencing. Discover a strange new society and a story with thrills and twists in this novel.

You can get the book here.

The Rule of One- Ashley Saunders, Leslie Saunders

The Rule of One (The Rule of One, 1)

In the distant future, the United States is under a strictly enforced rule of one child per household. Ava Goodwin is the daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, and she and her father live their lives hiding an earth-shattering secret. 

Ava has a twin sister, Mira. The two sisters have traded places for their entire lives, and when their secret is exposed, they will have to leave everything behind as fugitives. This fast-paced dystopian offers readers a fascinating story of family, loss, and more.

You can get the book here.

Flawed- Cecilia Ahern

Flawed: A Novel (Flawed, 1)

This novel tells the story of the Flawed, a group of second-class citizens who are branded as punishment for various crimes. Celestine North is in the perfect class, but this changes when she intervenes to help a mistreated Flawed man. Celestine’s good deed leads to her being imprisoned and rebranded as Flawed.

Now, she will face the other side of society, one laden with punishment and ostracizing. This is the first installment of the Flawed series that has captivated many YA dystopian lovers.

You can get the book here.

Shatter Me- Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, 1)

Juliette is the citizen of a dystopian society. Her powers make her stick out from everyone else. With one touch, she can kill a man. Her freedom stripped from her, Juliette has been a weapon for the Reestablishment. However, Juliette’s life is changed when she is reunited with a boy she thought she’d lost forever. 

With new motivations, Juliette is going to fight back for her freedom in this wayward society. This first novel of the Shatter Me series is a riveting dystopian story with romance and action!

You can get the book here.

The Testing- Joelle Charbonneau 

The Testing (The Testing, 1)

This thrilling dystopian novel introduces us to Cia. She lives in a post-war society where the brightest graduates are chosen to become possible leaders through a program known as the Testing. Cia is excited to be picked for the Testing, but her father warns her of the brutality behind the process and to trust no one. 

Cia must then leave her home and venture into a new city for the Testing, unaware of just how much danger  lurks. This YA dystopian is filled with adventure, romance, and so much more.

You can get the book here.

Delirium- Lauren Oliver 

Delirium (Delirium Trilogy, 1)

Lena lives in Portland, Maine with her family, eagerly awaiting until she turns 18 and can get the Cure. The Cure is a procedure to keep people from love, which has been deemed a dangerous disease. Lena saw what love did to her mother, and is eagerly awaiting the days after the Cure, where she will lead a predictable and calm life. 

However, with 95 days left until the procedure, Lena meets Alex. Alex lives in the Wilds, under the government’s radar. Will Lena find herself overcome with the disease she’s been anxious to avoid the most? This dystopian novel offers an intriguing look at love and the power to make your own choices.

You can get the book here.

The Grace Year- Kim Liggett

Grace Year

In Garner County, girls are banished for their grace year after turning sixteen. This is a year of isolation in the wild for girls to release their magic and come back ready for marriage. 

Tierney sets off on her grace year with other girls, but they may find that among nature’s elements and poachers looking to steal their magic, the girls may have to worry more about each other. This is a dystopian novel that examines female relationships and the choices we make.

You can get the book here.

The Knife of Never Letting Go- Patrick Ness

Chaos Walking Movie Tie-in Edition: The Knife of Never Letting Go

In the New World, Todd is the only boy living in a town of only men. They can hear each other think thanks to the Noise germ, and after Todd finds himself on the run from the men, he and his dog stumble upon a girl. 

All females were said to have been wiped out from the germ, but now Todd has to discover new truths about the world and himself. This novel offers a captivating tale about a new world and the kind of people who inhabit it.

You can get the book here.

Matched- Ally Condie 

Matched

In a new society, Officials decide everything for their citizens. Where they work, who they love, and so on. When Cassia sees her best friend’s face on the Matching screen, she doesn’t bat an eye. Except… who was the face before that? 

Cassia finds herself having to choose between following the rules she blindly trusted or paving her own path. This novel shows readers a strange society where free will is snatched from its citizens amidst an enthralling plot.

You can get the book here.

We Set the Dark on Fire- Tehlor Kay Mejia

We Set the Dark on Fire

In a polarized society, young girls are trained to run a household and raise children. At the Medio School for Girls, Daniela is the top student for these roles, but when she is asked to spy for a rebel group fighting for equality, everything she’s learned may be completely thrown out the window. 

Daniela is struggling to choose what she wants, honor what her parents fought for, and where she fits in the world. This feminist YA dystopian novel has an intriguing story that will keep readers focused until the last page. 

You can get the book here.

Stung- Bethany Wiggins

Stung

In a world ravaged by a pandemic and a missing honeybee population, Fiona wakes up in her home with no clue as to what is going on. During the pandemic, the government created a cure, but this led to vaccinated people becoming beasts. 

Society now exists in a fortress, and its members work to keep the marked beings away. Fiona has no idea what’s happened, but she does know that she has the mark of the beast the new world so desperately wants to get rid of. 

This is a thrilling novel that explores a new world with a protagonist who is scrambling for answers. 

You can get the book here.

Wake Me After the Apocalypse- Jordan Rivet

Wake Me After the Apocalypse (Bunker)

After a comet is discovered to be hurtling toward the earth, a select group of people is chosen to wait out the event in an underground bunker. 18-year-old Joanna Murphy is selected and enters into cryosleep with her team. 

Upon being the only person to wake up in a bunker filled with bones and a blocked exit, Joanna must figure out how to make her way out. She can’t panic or die, especially if she’s the only human left in the world. In this novel, we follow a lone protagonist as she struggles to endure a catastrophic event.  

You can get the book here.

Wither- Lauren DeStefano

Wither

In the future, a botched attempt to create the perfect race has left all human beings with shortened lifespans. Males are born with a lifespan of 25 years and females with a lifespan of 20 years. 

The world spirals into chaos, with high rates of crime and poverty. Young girls are kidnapped and sold off as polygamous brides. This is exactly what happens to Rhine, and although her husband is rich and affectionate, Rhine seeks freedom to find her twin brother. 

With the help of Gabriel, one of her husband’s servants, Rhine makes the escape. But in such a chaotic world, will Rhine be able to survive? This novel offers an engrossing look at a society where citizens know when they will die.

You can get the book here.

The Book of Ivy- Amy Engel 

Book of Ivy

After a vicious nuclear war leaves the United States completely wiped out, a small group of survivors joins forces to build a new nation. There is more conflict when it comes to who will govern the new nation, with one winning over the other. 

The losing family, the Westfalls, fall into a tradition where their daughters must marry the sons of the winning family in a yearly event. It’s Ivy’s turn this year, but she is walking into this arranged marriage with a plan: kill her new husband and bring the Westfalls into power. Will she be able to do it, or will her new husband be much more than she bargained for? 

Readers will enjoy this novel that takes a look at a new society starting fresh, and the strange rituals it upholds. 

You can get the book here.

YA Dystopian FAQ

What is YA dystopian literature?

YA dystopian literature is defined as a genre in which societies have a repressed, controlled, or restricted system with social controls put into place through the government, military, or another leading figure.

What qualifies a book as YA?

YA is used to describe a story for a teenager, usually in the range of 14 to 17. It’s important to remember YA is a category, not a genre of its own.

What is another type of YA dystopian novel?

The Hunger Games is a typical YA dystopian novel. It may be surprising to some, but the Harry Potter series has also been deemed to have some YA dystopian characteristics that could serve as an introduction to children and young adults into the genre.

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Aimee Campos