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Books Like Divergent: My 10 Recommended Reads

By Leo Flynn

| Updated:

Say what you wish about the darned cliches, and but by heck, Veronica Roth was on to something.

A Gift Upon The Shore By M.K. Wren

Gift Upon The Shore Book Cover

Description: To protect knowledge for future generations, writer Mary Hope and painter Rachel Morrow preserve books. They find a man from the Ark. The Arkites only read the Judeo-Christian Bible and anything else is blasphemous.

About The Author: This author, who passed away in 2016, also wrote space operas and a mystery book series. She specialized in lyrical, descriptive writing.

Why Read It? A meditation on loss, survival and the difficulty of opposing beliefs.

Ship Breaker By Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker Book Cover

Description: Oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer. Tankers are dismantled by impoverished children for parts. Nailer scavenges for copper wires. He discovered a beautiful ship beached during a recent hurricane. Nailer has to decide whether he should strip it or save the wealthy lone survivor. She could lead him to a better life.

About The Author: He’s an American science fiction author specializing in biopunk.

Why Read It? This sweeping, powerful science fiction book is one of the best dystopian novels ever written.

LEGEND By Marie Lu

Legend Book Cover

Description: In a nation called the Republic, once the western US, perpetual war with neighboring countries is the norm. June and Day are two 15-year-olds from vastly different backgrounds – June is being prepared for a military career in the wealthy district, while Day is a wanted criminal from the slums. However, their paths cross when Day is accused of murdering June’s brother. As they both try to survive, they uncover the sinister truth behind the Republic.

About The Author: Marie Lu is a master of thrilling stories for young adults.

Why Read It? It’s equal parts thriller and dystopian novel, all fast-paced action.


Partials Book Cover

Description: Humanity is on the brink of extinction. After a pandemic and a war wiped out half of the human population, North America is home to survivors on Long Island. Sixteen-year-old Kira doesn’t want them to perish. The threat to their survival is the Partials, artificial beings almost identical to humans. Yet their enemy may be the key to ending the conflict.

About The Author: Dan Wells has written Sci-Fi horror for adults and teenagers for years, and is an occasional podcast host.

Why Read It? It’s a thrilling post-apocalyptic dystopia with a hint of horror.

THE DARKEST MINDS By Alexandra Bracken

Darkest Minds Book Cover

Description: Ruby’s mysterious transformation on her tenth birthday led to her confinement in Thurmond, a brutal government camp for children with dangerous abilities. After escaping with a group of fellow survivors, they embark on a journey to find the only safe haven left for kids like them. However, their pursuit is challenged by a relentless organization, and Ruby faces a difficult decision that could jeopardize her chance at a fulfilling life.

About The Author: This talented author began writing her debut novel at 19!

Why Read It? It’s a thrilling, gritty ride into a well-plotted and sinister mystery.

RED RISING By Pierce Brown

Red Rising Book Cover

Description: Darrow is a Red, the lowest caste in a color-coded society. He discovers he and his kind are slaves to a ruling Gold class, inspiring him to infiltrate the Institute and compete for power. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies, even if he has to become one of them.

About The Author: Pierce Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Red Rising Saga, an epic story of rebellion and heroism.

Why Read It? it’s an intense and gripping story full of suspense and drama. You won’t be able to put it down!

The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games Book Cover

Description: In Panem, the former North America lies a shining Capitol with twelve districts. To keep the districts in line, the Capitol forces them to supply two tributes, one girl and one boy, for the annual Hunger Games. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen is sent into the Hunger Games instead of her sister. She’s determined to survive.

About The Author: She’s an acclaimed writer best known for this series.

Why Read It? The Hunger Games Trilogy, a New York Times bestseller, is often compared to the divergent series of scifi/fantasy books.

The Maze Runner By James Dashner

Maze Runner Book Cover

Description: As Thomas regains consciousness, all he can recall is his name. He finds himself among other boys also experiencing memory loss. The towering walls of stone encircling them mark the boundary of an endless, constantly shifting labyrinth. Then a girl appears—the first of her kind. Her warning is chilling: Remember your past, stay alive, and flee the maze.

About The Author: James Dashner is an exciting and imaginative storyteller who loves to take readers on thrilling journeys.

Why Read It? If you’re looking for an exciting and mysterious adventure, this is it. This book is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat!

The Screaming Staircase By Jonathan Stroud

Screaming Staircase Book Cover

Description: In London, ghosts appear, and no one is sure why. Only kids have the abilities necessary to stop the supernatural menace. Lucy Carlyle joins forces with Anthony Lockwood. With their sarcastic colleague, George, they’re investigate a haunted house.

About The Author: Jonathan Stroud is an acclaimed and beloved author of fantasy and children’s fiction, best known for his Bartimaeus trilogy.

Why Read It? If you love a good mystery with a supernatural twist, this book is perfect for you! After reading it, go watch the Netflix adapation.

The Testing By Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing Book Cover

Description: Cia can’t stop thinking about The Testing, a United Commonwealth program for selecting the best graduates and turning them into leaders for her alternate United States. Cia is chosen to participate in The Testing. Her father tells her his frightening memories of the experience. With that ringing in her ears, she heads away from everything she’s ever known into a dangerous, cutthroat world.

About The Author: Joelle Charbonneau writes young adult and mystery novels where she explores the complexities of human relationships.

Why Read It? It’s a popular dystopian trilogy for young adults.

Carve The Mark By Veronica Roth

Carve The Mark Book Cover

Description: Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth grew up in neighboring countries fighting for dominance. Akos is forced to serve Cyra, the dictator’s sister. Cyra’s touch transfers pain to those who disagree with her brother. Yet, Cyra is determined to fight for her survival along with Akos.

About The Author: Veronica Roth is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction, best known for her popular Divergent series.

Why Read It? This sweeping saga of dystopian books follows two characters as they navigate a dangerous world of power, politics, and loyalty.

Tiny Pretty Things By Dhonielle Clayton And Sona Charaipotra

Tiny Pretty Things Book Cover

Description: Three of the best students at a Manhattan ballet school are Bette, Gigi, and June. Gigi is new to dance but it might kill her. Bette finds a thrill in taking risks. Perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year, or her controlling mother will call quits. There are no limits to what the girls will do to be the best.

About The Author: These two YA authors teamed up to write this explosive thriller.

Why Read It? You’ll have a nail-biting journey with Bette, Gigi, and June as they strive to be the best and push their limits to the breaking point.

ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae Book Cover

Description: Kady breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing ever, until her planet was invaded. They must fight to get onto an evacuating craft with an enemy warship following them. A deadly plague is spreading, the AI meant to protect them may harm them, so Kady tries uncover the truth. Only Ezra can help her.

About The Author: These two Australian authors are beloved YA writers.

Why Read It? A wild romp of a novel told in a unique format: piece together the story using classified documents, reports, transcripts of recordings, and messages.

THE GIVER By Lois Lowry

Giver Book Cover

Description: Jonas lives in a seemingly perfect community where conformity is expected from everyone. However, when he becomes the Receiver of Memory, he uncovers dark secrets and realizes the power of emotions. But when faced with a difficult decision to save someone he loves, Jonas questions if he’s ready to use this power, and if it’s too late or too soon.

About The Author: Lois Lowry has delighted readers for decades with her captivating storytelling.

Why Read It? It’s one of the classics of the dystopian genre.


Peculiar Children Book Cover

Description: After a family tragedy, sixteen-year-old Jacob travels to a remote Welsh island and discovers the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he explores, he uncovers the children who lived there weren’t just peculiar, but possibly dangerous, and were quarantined for a reason. Though it seems impossible, Jacob suspects they may still be alive.

About The Author: Ransom Riggs is an author who loves to create unforgettable great books that bring readers on haunting and imaginative journeys.

Why Read It? If you’re looking for an intriguing story with mysterious characters and an intricate plot, this book is for you!

About The Author: Leo Flynn

Hi! I run Road Less Read, curating my scifi, fantasy + YA favorites from reading 100+ books a year!

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