The movie adaptation of Veronica Roth’s bestselling Divergent hits theaters this month. If you’ve already read the whole trilogy and you still want grittier, action-packed, dystopian science fiction, check out the controlling authorities, weird science, and rebellious teens in the books on this list. And if you like these, you’re in luck — each book is the 1st in a series.
Blood Red Road – by Moira Young
Dystopian SF. Far into Earth’s future, 18-year-old Saba ekes out a hardscrabble existence with her father, twin brother, and younger sister on a dry, dusty, used-up scrap of land. Saba cares about very little besides her family, so when Lugh, her twin, is kidnapped, she immediately sets out to save him. Little does she know the dangers she’ll face on her journey — or the powerful secrets she’ll learn. First in a trilogy, and reminiscent of science fiction classics such as the movie Mad Max and Frank Herbert’s Dune novels, Blood Red Road is sure to satisfy fans of intense, fast-paced stories that blend action and romance.
Delirium – by Lauren Oliver
Science Fiction. High school senior Lena Haloway is counting the 95 days until her appointment to undergo the operation that every citizen has at age 18 to prevent them from contracting amor deliria nervosa — love, which is seen as a deadly disease. At first, Lena is eager for the surgery, believing it will make her life happy and safe. But then she meets handsome and enigmatic Alex, and she’s not so sure anymore… Gripping, romantic, and with a vividly evoked setting (a near-future Portland, Maine), this edgy 1st book in a trilogy (followed by Pandemonium and Requiem) will leave you breathless to know what happens next.
Enclave – by Ann Aguirre
Dystopian SF. In the aftermath of war and plague, most of New York City’s survivors have moved underground, establishing enclaves where they eke out an existence and hide from zombie-like Freaks. After 15-year-old Deuce, an enclave-dweller, earns the rank of Huntress, she is paired with a mysterious outsider named Fade…and the two of them discover a secret that could destroy their precarious society. While there are hints of deeper feelings between Deuce and Fade, this violent, gritty, and suspenseful series-starter will appeal most to those who like the world-building and pulse-pounding action of the Divergent or Hunger Games trilogies.