Upcoming YA Dystopian Novels

I will admit that this is a bit of a copout, but The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson is looking more and more like sci-fi/fantasy (should’ve looked at Goodreads before I picked it up for November) and the world does not need another (glowing) review of the Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

Thing is, if we aren’t reading a book then we are already looking forward to reading other books, whilst determinedly ignoring the growing pile of books we already have. So, I trawled the web in support of this unhealthy habit. I searched specifically for YA dystopian novels to add to the teetering stack of books that will Will Be Read Someday.

I narrowed down the titles I would like to read by a. their respective, compelling summaries b. little or no mention of romance and c. okay, I kinda always judge a book by its cover. Without further ado, here are the YA dystopian novels that I am looking forward to reading in 2014-2015:

1. The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth


Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Expected Publication Date: 2014


A teen girl is abducted to a utopian commune, where she discovers a shocking connection between an unthinkable crime against her family and the commune leaders, who hide an arcane secret about her past.

Why I Would Like To Read It:

  • I do so love the cover and title. Butterflies and death have been done before, but hasn’t been done enough to make it tiring for me. I quite like it.
  • The summary implies that the story could go in one of two directions. It could just end up as a murder mystery. Or it could turn into something bigger because we all know that a utopian commune IS A HUGE LIE tends to crumble into a steaming mess. Either way, it will be a gripping read, I imagine. 
  • Arcane secrets are the best kinds of secrets, obviously?
  • No mention of romance. Yet. Which means I have hope for a solo female detective story.

2. Illusive by Emily Llyod-Jones


Publisher: Little, Brown Books

Expected Publication Date: July 15th, 2014


When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist … She’s also a thief.

After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn’t?

The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against he government that could cost them their lives.

Why I Would Like To Read It:

  • Okay, so, not a fan of the use of shadow on the cover. However, I love the cityscape and the search lights that spell out the author’s name and the helicopter. Ominous.
  • It kind of reminds me of X-Men and not just because that’s the first thing that Goodreads says about it. It does not, however, remind me of Ocean’s Eleven which Goodreads also mentions in the summary.
  • I like thieves. They are fun characters to follow. I also like thieves who steal stuff from their sucky governments. Sounds a bit like Firefly. I’m in.
  • I am wary that this “reckless” group of questionable colleagues will include a guy. Because guys are always reckless, yes? And the girls always fall for the reckless guys, yes? Perhaps she already has a good friend who is male and also has the hots for her. Oh no. What a tragedy. I wonder how this will ever be concluded.
  • No. No, I’m not allowed to dissuade myself from reading this. It’s going to be kick-ass, you guys. X-Men meets Ocean’s Eleven Firefly.
  • But really, I did not have to get to the mutant thieves part. I mean, Ciere is a shapeshifter. I am so in.

3. The Fearless by Emma Pass


Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Expected Publication Date: 2015


The Fearless. An army, powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect- anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare.

Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. Her father was Altered. Her mother died soon after. All Cass has left is her little brother- and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back.

Why I Would Like To Read It:

  • This book could go terribly wrong or incredibly right. The Fearless sounds like a slave army and because slavery and armies are (and have been) very real, complex issues … well, I say again, this could go despicably wrong or wonderfully right.
  • And I am a bit tired of characters called Cass. I seem to have read three this year alone …
  • But the premise is incredibly compelling to me, so I will still read it. Also, the summary literally says, “society becomes a living nightmare”. I think it’s safe to assume that this is a dystopia and it will probably unravel at the hands of this teenaged girl. All I want to know is how.

4. The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Expected Publication Date: May 1st, 2014


“No one can take your memories from you … can they?”

Seven is a thief with a difference- he steals downloadable memories from banks and memoriums to sell onto London’s black market, trading secrets and hidden pasts for a chance at a future of his own. He makes sure he keeps some special stuff back to ‘surf’ himself though – it’s the only real form of entertainment he can afford. But one night, as Seven is breaking into a private memorium in a wealthy part of London, he is caught in the act by one of its residents; Alba, the teenage daughter of London’s most famous criminal prosecutor. Instead of giving him away, Alba promises to keep Seven’s secret – as long as he allows her to go memory-surfing herself. In doing so, they discover a hidden memory about Seven’s past, revealing a shocking secret about Seven’s childhood, the government and a mysterious experiment known as The Memory Keepers …

Now Seven and Alba will have to race against time to unlock the maze of The Memory Keepers – but can they keep themselves out of harm’s way before the London Guard- and Alba’s father- catches up with them?

Why I Would Like To Read It:

  • My favourite premise so far. We have thieves but we also have downloadable memories. I am not sure that I need to go on.
  • I mean, yes, implications of a romance between Seven and Alba but who cares, I mean downloadable memories is the focus! (Also kind of reminds me of Dollhouse.)
  • The cover isn’t out yet. I am curious and a bit anxious to see what they will come up with.

Bonus Mention- The Elites by Natasha Ngan


Publisher: Hot Key Books


“There is a rumour that the Elites don’t bleed.”

Hundreds of years into the future, wars, riots, resource crises and rising sea-levels have destroyed the old civilisations. Only one city has survived: Neo-Babel, a city full of cultures – and racial tension.

Fifteen-year-old Silver is an Elite, a citizen of Neo-Babel chosen to guard the city due to her superior DNA. She’d never dream of leaving– but then she fails to prevent the assassination of Neo Babel’s president, setting off a chain of events more shocking and devastating than she could ever have imagined. Forced to flee the city with her best friend Butterfly (a boy with genetically-enhanced wings), Silver will have to fight to find her family, uncover the truth about Neo-Babel and come to terms with her complicated feelings for Butterfly.

Packed full of adventure, romance, exoticism and the power of friendship, The Elites is a highly compelling and beautifully written novel from a supremely talented debut author.

Why I Would Like To Read It:

  • This isn’t an upcoming release. It’s been out since September 5th this year. I just had to look up others things by Natasha Ngan, and I came across this book. I wish I had found it earlier.
  • I even like the cover. Janet may protest at the impracticality of her long, untied hair, but I am not going to be distracted by her awesome gear and the fact that she is a person of colour.
  • However, the summary actually uses the word “exoticism” in a positive way and that might be a deal-breaker for me …
  • And yet, the book purportedly deals with racial tension.
  • I am quite conflicted about this one.