Friday, June 28, 2013

Like dystopian books? Try these books by British authors

 I loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.  They're two of my absolute favourite recent dystopian series.  And there's no forgetting other brilliant dystopian series - Delirium by Lauren Oliver was fantastic, there was Matched by Ally Condie, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, The Pledge by Kimberly Derting. Loads of awesome dystopian books spring to mind. But for the most part, the books that everyone is talking about are all written by American authors.

What about the amazing dystopian YA fiction coming from the UK? If you're reading and enjoying these other books, perhaps you'll love some of the suggestions below too.

Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman

I read the Noughts and Crosses series mostly before I began blogging.  And I fell hard for these stories and for the characters that we are introduced to throughout these four amazing books in this fictional world in which white people are second class citizens in a very clever examination of racism.  At certain points I cried uncontrollably and felt my heart break into a million teeny tiny pieces.  I felt like after reading these books that I wouldn't be the same again.  I love that the first book in the series, Noughts and Crosses, was chosen as a book to be given away for World Book Night and I'm extremely glad that more readers might be introduced to this series because of it.

(PS. How brilliant is Malorie Blackman as Children's Laureate!)

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

I'm a huge fan of Meg Rosoff's and this, her debut book will always be one of my favourites. I love how compelling Meg Rosoff tells this story of an American girl sent off to England to stay with an aunt and some cousins she's never met. When the aunt goes off on a trip, the country is invaded by some unknown force and everything both in Daisy's life and in the world shifts suddenly. Daisy and her cousins are separated and Daisy does her best to reunite her family amidst war and destruction. I also really loved the slightly controversial love story. It's a beautifully written book that doesn't gloss over the horror of war.

Slated by Teri Terry

I have to admit, I haven't yet read this book or its sequel, Fractured, though I would definitely like to sooner rather than later. I think the thing that really attracts me to reading Slated is that it deals with the government having wiped out the memory of the main character due to suspected terrorism. I've got to say, I find it really interesting reading about memory loss, possibly because of my interest in psychology...

Still, I've heard really good things about Slated and the sequel. The third book will be published in the spring of next year, so not long to complete the series. I need to get cracking...

The Disappeared by CJ Harper

This book was only published this year and I really liked it! The main character is a bit of tool right at the beginning as he's used to his high intelligence meaning something and he doesn't quite catch on immediately that where he ends up? Not so much. 

I love that in the academy where Jackson ends up, the hierarchy of power falls on the very arbitrary colour of your hair and fighting ability. Both of which Jackson fails at. Once there though his eyes become opened to the lies he's been fed and he acts to change things. The thing that I loved most about this book aside from the main character's huge transition within the novel is the emphasis and obvious power of literacy and knowledge. I can't wait to read more!

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Ooh, this book! Right from that first page I fell in love with this book. Some may be put off by the lack of grammar and the way in which the book is written in the Saba's dialect, but I just loved the grim setting and this disastrous hunt to rescue Saba's brother. I loved the adventure and the danger that Saba faces as she goes on what feels like a hopeless mission to save her brother.

The relationship between Saba and her younger sister is wonderfully complex and very strained as Saba behaves really hatefully towards her for most of the story. And that relationship feels very different to  the very swoon worthy relationship between Saba and Jack.  The relationships here are definitely the highlight of the book for me.  But Saba herself is pretty fierce. The second book in the series, Rebel Heart is already available with the third book, Raging Star due early next year.

ACID by Emma Pass

Again, this book is only being published this year and sadly I have not yet read it.  I hear there is some amazing action and a really kick-ass heroine.  I've heard so many wonderful things about it and I'm hopefully planning to read it this weekend for Amber's Debut-a-thon! 

ACID sounds amazing. Jenna Strong is one of the characters that I keep hearing about. She's the only female prisoner locked away for a crime she can't remember and living in a police state in which there can be no dissenting voice without severe punishment. When Jenna is broken out of jail she must rely on all of her skills and abilities to stay one step ahead of this police force.

Sounds good, doesn't it?

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Maggot Moon made a big splash when it was published last year.  It's another one of those books that has some great buzz surrounding it and I'm really looking forward to reading it, especially as it recently won both the Costa AND the Carnegie. High praise indeed! I really must get going with this book.

Having not yet read this book I feel at a loss to describe what Maggot Moon is about.  It appears to be about a parallel world in which everything is under the control of a scary government with similarities to Nazi Germany.

It seems like a book that is hard to categorise but it is certainly a memorable story which raises some interesting questions giving the readers something to think about and some main characters to really root for.

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

The Lost Girl was published at the start of this year and is a story that I really enjoyed. I love the importance placed on Eva's relationships as it made the story feel a little more intimate and personal to me.  In The Lost Girl Eva, our main character, is an echo - a clone of another girl, Amarra.  Eva's life is entirely devoted to her 'other' and she was created for the purpose of taking over if anything happened to her 'other.' She isn't meant to have her own opinions and ideas or to fall in love. And when Eva is sent to replace her other in India, Eva must convince Amarra's friends and boyfriend that she is really her. Her life depends on it...

I thought The Lost Girl was a really emotional and thought-provoking book - beautifully written and an amazing debut.

Half Lives by Sara Grant

I'm really quite intrigued by Half Lives. It's a story told from two perspectives living in two very different times that somehow overlap in this important way. Icie lives in the present day when disaster strikes and her and her family take refuge in a nearby mountain. Whereas Beckett lives in the future in which this same mountain that Icie has taken refuge is revered as being sacred. As Beckett uncovers more about the past and the mountain and as he finds out what has become of Icie, a terrifying truth is revealed... And I really want to know what the truth is and what has happened to Icie and what will happen to Beckett. And how am I getting this overly excited after just reading the synopsis of the book? 

This is a book that I shall definitely be reading very soon!

I'm sure there are more, do you have any dystopian titles or series to add that has been written by a British author?


  1. Great list! The only one I've read is How I Live Now. I need to check out The Lost Girl and Slated sometime soon. I've heard good things!

    1. Oh I loved The Lost Girl, I really recommend that you read that.. I've had Slated on my shelves unread for too long. Really must do something about that!

  2. I enjoyed How I Live Now and LOVED the Blood Red Road books. They are brilliant. Eagerly awaiting the next one.

    I just finished ACID and thought it was only ok. Starts off really good, but then tapers off. I didn't really connect with the characters, although there is a lot going on and it is pretty fast paced.

    1. I still haven't read Rebel Heart despite LOVING Blood Red Road so wholly and completely. I don't know why I've put it off for so long...

  3. Hmm, for some reason I can't get my comment to show who I am, but it's Carrie (used to be teabelly on wordpress).

    1. 'Unknown' was kind of creeping me out... thanks for letting me know :)

  4. I have ACID, Slated, The Lost Girl and Half Lives sitting on my shelves still waiting to be read!

    1. Sounds like excellent reading is going to happen in your future.. :)

  5. ACID and Blood Red Road are brilliant, aren't they? And I've been told to read Noughts and Crosses since it was my friend's favourite book back when we were, I don't know, 12 - nearly 10 years, geez!

    1. I read the Noughts and Crosses before blogging. Wow, it really could have been 10 years ago. That is a really, unexpectedly long time ago. Yikes.

      I Blood Red Road but haven't yet read ACID! Soon!

  6. I love this post! I do love the dystopian genre but you're right, the majority of books out there are by American authors.
    The Noughts and Crosses series are the only books I've read here, which was waaay back in 2008, before I started blogging or knew what dystopian or YA was. Malorie Blackman is one of the best British authors and it's so great how popular her books are.

    1. It is great. I love Malorie Blackman so much. Totally a fangirl of hers.

  7. I never knew Half Lives was UKYA! I'll have to bump it up my pile now.

    Blood Red Road is one of my favourite novels of all time and I love everything about it.

    I'm currently reading ACID and would highly recommend it. Definitely one that I'm sure lots of people will love.

    1. Sara Grant is American, really, but she counts as UKYA because she lives here now :)

      I'm really looking forward to ACID and I completely agree, Blood Red Road is incredible!

  8. Great choices! I adore the N&Cs series and Malorie Blackman is a genius. I really enjoyed The Disappeared too - I thought I wouldn't enjoy it because the boy was very snobbish at the beginning, but I loved it in the beginning! Thanks for sharing, I love UKYA :)

  9. Even thinking about How I Live Now gives me all of the emotions... I really loved ACID and The Disappeared as well. Hopefully there'll be a flood of more UK-set dystopias!


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