First published in 2009, James Dashner's The Maze Runner quickly became one of the biggest books in young-adult fiction. Hot on the heels of the Hunger Games-inspired dystopian YA trend, The Maze Runner was a smash hit with readers who loved its blend of action, sci-fi, and twisty suspense. Now, BookTok has inspired readers to come back to the series and more dystopian stories.
For readers in need of a new read, here are nine books that are perfect for Maze Runner fans.
More YA Tales Like The Maze Runner
The Incredible Tide
Conan's homeland was lost to the oceans after a nuclear war destroyed the planet. Now he's a castaway on a rocky island, forever alone having taught himself to live off the remnants of the land. One day, a ship appears on the horizon, and Conan believes himself saved, but things are only getting more dangerous for him. The ship belongs to the New Order, cruel rulers who are rebuilding Earth to rule over it, and Conan is their new slave. They ship him off to Industria, a lawless city where they hope to break his spirit and make him the perfect servant. But Conan won't go down so easily.
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons, but now he's been sentenced to time in The Rig. The juvenile facility is located smack bang in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape, for there is nowhere to go. For Drake, it's a challenge. After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on The Rig.
What is Crystal-X, the alien-like substance that seems to give superpowers to those exposed to it? Why are all these kids stuck in the Rig? Why is this all being kept secret from the rest of the world? Drake needs to find a way for him and his friends to escape before the danger spreads well beyond the ocean prison they inhabit.
Emmeline lives in a settlement where every decision is dictated by the Council. She is constantly warned about the dangers that lie beyond the horizon, but surely they cannot be any more suffocating than life with the Council, whose strictness rubs against her rebellious spirit. She discovers that a Council leader intends to marry her, and she has no say in the matter. Now is the time for action. But on the other side of the wall lies the deep unknown, and the freezing winterkill that engulfs the settlement every year is fast approaching …
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation run by despots who are intent on waging an endless war with their neighbors. June, born into one of the Republic's wealthiest and most elite families, is being groomed for military success. She has no reason to cross paths with someone like Day, a slum kid who is also a wanted criminal. When June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect, she becomes dedicated to seeking justice. But Day's motives are more altruistic than they seem, and June's loyalties will soon be tested.
The 5th Wave
In the year 2013, the earth is attacked by a group of aliens through a series of waves. First, all power goes out across the planet. Then tidal waves annihilate 40 percent of the surviving population. Pestilence follows, then a group of humans who were infested with alien consciousnesses are told to kill the last dregs of humanity. A Fifth Wave is on the horizon, one that is intended to leave Earth devoid of all life except for the aliens.
Sixteen-year-old Cassie must try to keep herself and her little brother alive as everyone around her falls foul to the epidemic. She can’t trust anyone, least of all herself.
The Renegades are a secret society of humans with incredible powers. As society crumbled and order fell apart, it was them who rose from the ashes to establish peace and order. They are the symbol of hope for humanity. The villains they once overthrew, however, are far less enthused. Nova wants vengeance on the Renegades, and she'll do anything to get it, including infiltrating the syndicate itself. There, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice. He sees good in Nova, but she cannot give up her mission or her allegiance to the villain who could destroy them both. What is true justice, and how can Nova achieve it?
One minute, everything was fine. The next, it wasn't. In the blink of an eye, every adult disappeared, leaving behind only the kids. There are no phones, no internet, no TV. Gang rule is in force, the politics of the playground expanded to include true danger.
On the outskirts of town, a sinister creature lurks. Everyone is changing, and not always for the better. They're mutating, gaining powers, and turning into something very un-human. On your 15th birthday, you disappear just like everyone else, so the kids don't have much time to figure out what's going on.
The Knife of Never Letting Go
Todd Hewitt lives in a town populated only by men. After a shocking event, everyone was infected with the Noise germ, meaning that Todd can hear everyone else's thoughts—and they can hear his. Even his dog has a mindless inner monologue that pollutes Todd's brain. He knows the men of the town are hiding something from him, but finding it out will force him to flee the only life he's known and stumble into the unknown.
In the wilds beyond the town, he finds something shocking—a girl. And he can't read her thoughts.
Lord of the Flies
If you’re going to look into dystopian stories involving teenagers, we have to go back to the pioneering title of the genre. The Lord of the Flies was first published in 1954 and, over time, became one of the most popular young adult-oriented novels in the English language.
A plane carrying a class of English schoolboys crash lands on an uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They're alone, hungry, and have no immediate hope of rescue. To survive, a boy named Ralph takes control as "chief" of the group to form a semblance of order. But it doesn't take long for their new society to fall apart and for violence to consume the boys.
Featured image: 20th Century Studios / YouTube