Tween Book Buying Guide for the Holidays- Post Apocalyptic and Dystopian


I am a dystopian fiction fanatic.  Hand me a dystopian book or a post apocalyptic novel and I am forever in your debt. My students always fall in love with these dystopian/post apocalyptic novels!

Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone never fail to hook my most dormant readers. Both books tell the tale of two teens whose lives are forever altered when an asteroid crashes into the moon, moving it closer to the earth.  Because of this, every conceivable natural disaster occurs. Life as we knew it forever gone and the dead are piling up all over the world.  Soon, humanity begins turning on itself!

Maybe you know a tween who has read Lois Lowry’s The Giver? Did you know there are two companion novels? Gathering Blue and Messenger wrap up the story of Jonas and Gabe. They are a must-read for anyone who read The Giver and couldn’t wait to find out what really happened to both of them.

Hasn’t every teen and tween wished away their parents at some point? But what if everyone over the age of 14 disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving behind only kids to run the world? Gone explores this “dream” scenario with frightening results!

What if your parents lied to you, under the guise of protecting you? In a moment of panic over a nuclear attack, Eli, and his family rush into an underground bunker built by Eli’s eccentric father. Unfortunately, his grandmother and twin brother don’t make it into the bunker. For the past six years, life has been fairly routine. But with 9 years left, some things just aren’t adding up. Eli is starting to have doubts about his father’s motives, explanations, and sanity. The Compound is a fast-paced must read for dystopian/post apocalyptic fans!

Finally, what if all of the adults in your life were brainwashing you? Candor is a model community, but Oscar knows that parents bring their teenagers to Candor to make them “better”–through subliminal Messages that carefully control their behavior. Can he give up the girl of his dreams to escape the Messages?

Finally, there is the ever popular The Hunger Games. Talk about a page-turner!

What are some of your favorite dystopian or post apocalyptic tween/teen books?

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5 Responses

  1. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this series of tween recommendations!! My son is a tween and a voracious reader – I’m always looking for new things for him. I feel like I just found buried treasure!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! ;-)

  2. I really enjoyed all of the titles you mentioned above. Another in a similar vein that I enjoyed was The Hermit Thrush Sings by Susan Butler, although it’s an older book and might be out of print.

  3. My students love the City of Ember books.

  4. The Fire-Us Trilogy was really good. http://www.amzn.com/0064472736

    The Tripods Trilogy is a classic. A little farther future, but still post-apocalyptic. http://www.amzn.com/0020425716

    And of course, one of the best known teen post-nuclear war books is Z for Zachariah. http://www.amzn.com/1416939210

  5. My own list has grown so much with all your suggestions! I teach third grade but have become infatuated with reading middle school and young adult literature because of your blog. I’ve been able to suggest some of the more mellow higher level books to my top readers and they are loving the challenge and the stories. Thanks so much for opening up this world to me!

    P.S. I enjoyed The Uglies and am looking forward to the others in that series.

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