Dystopian Fiction: Worlds Gone Wrong

George Orwell
A classic since it's 1949 publication, Nineteen Eighty-Four continues to chill readers today, perhaps because the possibilities that Orwell wrote about could still happen, or perhaps some already have. Winston Smith is an ordinary worker in a future state where the government controls everything, watches everyone, and has erased all traces of rights and individuality. His job is to rewrite historical records so that The Party is always correct. In a time of constant war, Winston becomes disillusioned with his state of poverty and unhappiness. He begins to ask questions and even fight back. But The Party and Big Brother are always watching.
Aldous Huxley
"Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie," a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today--let's hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted aren't yet to come. - Amazon.
Ray Bradbury
First published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is a classic novel set in the future when books forbidden by a totalitarian regime are burned. The hero, a book burner, suddenly discovers that books are flesh and blood ideas that cry out silently when put to the torch.
M.T. Anderson
"We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." So says Titus, a teenager whose ability to read, write, and even think for himself has been almost completely obliterated by his "feed," a transmitter implanted directly into his brain. Feeds are a crucial part of life for Titus and his friends. After all, how else would they know where to party on the moon, how to get bargains at Weatherbee #38; Crotch, or how to accessorize the mysterious lesions everyone's been getting? But then Titus meets Violet, a girl who cares about what's happening to the world and challenges everything Titus and his friends hold dear. A girl who decides to fight the feed. The audiobook version of this book is highly recommended for an eerie narration including commercial jingles and the "feed" experience.
by Catherine Fisher

To those on the Outside, Incarceron is a paradise of reform, though none have ever seen it. To those living in its bowels, it is a hell like no other. In truth, Incarceron has grown into a monster out of control. But for Finn, a prisoner who believes he came from the Outside, and Claudia, the daughter of the prison’s warden, escape is the only option.

Pete Hautman
In a future society that has decided it would "rather be safe than free," sixteen-year-old Bo's anger control problems land him in a tundra jail where he survives with the help of his running skills and an artificial intelligence program named Bork. In the late twenty-first century Bo Marsten is unjustly accused of a causing a rash that plagues his entire high school.
Paolo Bacigalupi

In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

Jeanne DuPrau
The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Now, 200 years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she's sure it holds a secret that will save the city.
Lois Lowry
When Jonas turns 12, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. Now, it's time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
Nancy Farmer

Matteo Alacran was not Born; He was Harvested. His DNA came from El Patron, lord of a country called Opium -- a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt's first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster -- except for El Patron. El Patron loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself. As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patron's power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacran Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn't even suspect. Another title that is excellent on audio!

Suzanne Collins

In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.  

Patrick Ness

Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony's true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World.

James Dashner

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.

Scott Westerfield
In Tally's world, a 16th birthday brings an operation, transforming one from a repellent Ugly to an attractive Pretty. Turning Pretty is all Tally has ever wanted. Her friend Shay would rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally must make a terrible choice.
Neal Shusterman
In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until theireighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away. In "Unwind," "Boston Globe/Horn Book" Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life -- not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive.