Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Novels

Posted 26 April, 2011 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 12 Comments

Last year, I moved from teaching seventh grade to eighth English/Language Arts. With that move, a world of possibilities opened up. While these eighth graders are still technically middle schoolers, by fourth quarter, they’re also teenagers for real (13/14/15 years old) on the verge of so much–high school, “real” significant others (as opposed to the “going out” that happens with tweens), some major life decisions, their first real job, driving (ahhh!), and maturity. So, along with review for the state test and our final exams (yay, literary terms and research papers!), I introduce them to the Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopia genre of literature.

Sure, they’ve seen a lot of end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it movies and tv shows, played a lot of games that involve chopping random body parts off flesh-eating zombies, but most are unaware of the total awesomeness of the books in this genre. This year, they can choose between a bunch of different novels, most of them newer (within the last couple of years).

HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins 
(Of course! Plus, it’s on one of their high school’s summer reading list)
(Yay for zombies–and being on a high school’s summer reading list!)
EPITAPH ROAD by David Patneaude 
(97% of the male population gone? A world run by women? A winning combo–maybe)
THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner 
(Boys trapped like rats in a maze? Good times in this post-apocalyptic world)

ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre 
(After blazing through this one last week, I had to get this book in someone’s hands ASAP. So awesome!)
DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver 
(A wonderful dystopic society with love as a disease)
UNWIND by Neal Schusterman 
(Ooh, kids raised for parts? Yes, please)
GONE by Michael Grant 
(Event cuts kids off from their parents and everything they know–cool!) 

MATCHED by Ally Conde 
(A well-designed utopia that’s rotten to the core)
(Eldest runs the ship like an infamous dictator, people have no real free will, and those who question are dealt with…severely. Definitely not a utopia.)
1984 by George Orwell 
(Ooh, be careful! Big Brother’s watching.)
FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury 
(Knowledge=death and books are bad. Burn ’em all!)

So, what do you think? Any I should change out for next year? Any other suggestions? (I really wanted to add DIVERGENT but, since it’s not out yet, I’ll have to wait for next year.) 

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12 Responses to “Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Novels”

  1. Yan

    I would have loved you as a teacher in 8th grade. The only dystopia novel I read was in 6th grade, THE GIVER.

  2. These are some of my favorite books! I agree that Divergent would be awesome to add if you could. Some other good ones to add to your list are Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder, Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau and The Giver (trilogy) by Lois Lowry. Also, I have not read it yet but I’ve heard the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness is amazing. Another one to watch for in the future is Ashfall by Mike Mullin which comes out this fall. Can you tell I like this genre? 🙂

  3. I would switch out Matched for The Giver, or The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, that book is AHmazing! I’m reading The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer right now and it’s really good. There’s also Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, I haven’t read it yet but I hear a lot of good things about it.

  4. I’m really out of my depth here, but I think you’re a very cool teacher.
    I actually don’t like dystopian novels but I think I’m going to check the Epitaph Road one, sounds kind of cool – plus, it’s always the other way around!

  5. Ooh, yay–you all are fabulous! I really appreciate your great suggestions. I’ve heard a lot about both Ship Breaker and The Chaos Walking trilogy but haven’t read them yet. Putting them on my summer reading list. I think maybe I’ll just keep adding to my list, so they’ll have a ton of choices, since there’s such good stuff out there.

  6. Anonymous

    You may want to consider trying to swap out a few of these books for ARTICLE 5 or The Water Wars they both question what is human and just. Thanks for the references to some GREAT books!