Divergent took the young-adult fiction world by storm, spawning two sequels, three movies, and a TV series. If you enjoy dystopian stories riddled with romances, villainous government structures, and page-turning adventure, then you might enjoy these titles too.
Legend by Marie Lu
The Republic, once known as the United States, is a nation perpetually at war. June, a fifteen-year-old prodigy, has been groomed to join the military, which she does in a time of familial crisis. Her first mission is to hunt down Day, a rebellious teenager who is caught in unfortunate circumstances. After a surprising turn of events, June and Day end up working together to uncover the truth of their country and the secrets that hide within the government. Fast-paced and plot-driven, Legend does not disappoint adventure seekers.
Tally Youngblood lives in a society where everyone is considered “ugly” until their sixteenth birthday, when they transform into a “pretty” through extreme cosmetic surgery. She eagerly awaits her birthday, when she will turn “pretty,” until she meets Shay. Shay plans to rebel against the operation, and chaos ensues when she disappears before her birthday operation. The authorities give Tally an ultimatum: to find Shay and betray her or never turn pretty at all.
The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
Thomas wakes up in an elevator with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He arrives in “the glade,” a world of around sixty teenage boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment. The group has been attempting to escape for two years now through a maze that surrounds their living space. They are just about to lose hope when a girl arrives in the elevator for the first time. With action-packed scenes and a thrilling game aspect, this story will hook readers from the very beginning.
Ember was created as the last refuge for humans—the only place with light. Past the city limits, there is only darkness. When Ember’s lights begin to fail, Lina Mayfleet believes she may be able to help her city. With her classmate Doon Harrow, she must race to figure out the clues before the lights go out. Brimming with government conspiracies, mysterious clues, and adventurous scenes, The City of Ember will interest all readers who enjoy mystery in a dystopian setting.
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Annihilation follows an expedition made up of four unnamed women—a biologist (our narrator), a psychologist, an anthropologist, and a surveyor—as they are sent to study and explore Area X. The secrets they discover within Area X and the secrets they keep from one another change everything.
In an alternate United States, everyone must undergo a procedure when they turn eighteen that eradicates any trace or feeling of love. It’s called “the cure,” as love is seen as a devastating sickness. Lena Haloway looks forward to a stable and safe life free of emotions. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets Alex, and they do the unthinkable: fall in love.
The Giver focuses on Jonas, a twelve-year-old who lives in a seemingly perfect society. There are no conflicts, pain, or difficulties. Yet when he is given his assignment and instructed to learn from “the Giver,” Jonas discovers the darker secrets behind the fragile community he lives in.
Be sure to check out the Divergent eNotes summary and study guide with quotes, character analysis, and themes.