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Brave new worlds

In her article “What Makes a Good YA Dystopian Novel?” from the May/June Horn Book Magazine, April Spisak offers thirteen recommendations for young adult dystopian books and series. We’ve also suggested some recently published Hunger Games trilogy readalikes for both YA and younger audiences here on Out of the Box.

But since it’s always good to know your history, here are some forerunners of the current dystopian boom:

The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

The Long Walk and The Running Man by Richard Bachman (nom de plume of Stephen King)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Iron Heel by Jack London

The Giver by Lois Lowry

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Anthem and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

It’s interesting to note that while many of these titles, such as Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, were originally published for adults, they have since crossed over to YA readers. What dystopian works would you consider classics?

And speaking of The Giver, The Minnesota Opera is currently performing a sold-out production based on the novel. Have any readers in Minnesota seen it?

For more in our Fan Week series, click on the tag Fan Week 2016 and see #HBFanWeek on Twitter.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.



  1. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller.
    Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov.

  2. Definitely “We” by Yevgeny Zamiatin. This was the first book banned by the soviet censorship bureau, and it greatly influenced 1984. (Orwell wrote a review of We about 6 months before he started 1984.)

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