Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (2015)

redThis popular book hits all the right notes for dystopian fans.

Recommended grade level: 7+

Pages:   383 (for ISBN 9780062310637)

Genre(s) and keywords: dystopian, science fiction, some romance

Tone/Style: dark, twisty

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5 to 1 by Holly Bodger (2015)

5to1A dystopian society, Indian culture, and feminist commentary combine to make this a unique read.

Recommended grade level: 7-10

Pages:  244 (for ISBN 9780385391535)

Genre(s) and keywords: dystopian, verse, diverse, Asia (India, fictionalized)

Tone/Style: bleak, determined

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The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (2016)

girlinThis World War II mystery set in the occupied Netherlands demonstrates the horrors of the Holocaust.

Recommended grade level: 7-11

Pages:   309 (for ISBN 9780316260602)

Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, mystery, international, Europe (the Netherlands)

Tone/Style: bleak, fearful, desperate

 

Pace: moderate

Topics: the Holocaust, World War II, the Netherlands, investigations, missing persons

Themes: resistance against oppression, grief and loss, selfishness, risks

Summary: Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion. Continue reading

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

ugliesDystopian before everybody else went dystopian. Uglies has an intriguing premise, a splash of romance, and is an easy sell to fans of The Hunger Games.

Recommended grade level: 6-12

Pages: 425 (for ISBN 9780689865381)

Genre(s) and keywords: science fiction, dystopian

Tone/Style: trapped, distrustful

Pace: moderate

Topics: cosmetic surgery, oppressive government, blackmail

Themes: self-acceptance, betrayal, friendship, rebellion

Summary: Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? Continue reading

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen (2015)

515PBGS4vJL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A quietly tense historical fiction drama that sheds light on life in Soviet East Berlin.

Recommended grade level: 4-7

Pages: 317 (for ISBN 9780545682428)

Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, international, Europe (Germany)

Tone/Style: bleak

Pace: moderate

Topics: the Berlin Wall, Communism, separated families, escape plans, digging

Themes: freedom, trust, when to take risks, family, defiance of government, oppression

Summary: With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family divided overnight. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city. Continue reading