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Dystopian Novels

Top five novels more haunting than Halloween

Halloween is creeping up on us, so us students might be gearing up for a night of tricks and terror.

Swap your university reading for some truly terrifying titles with the books listed below. All incorporate shocking twists, face-pace endeavours and leave you with the haunting feeling that these dystopian imaginings of the future could very well come true.

 Unwind (2007), Neal Shusterman
Dystopia Unwind


Unwind follows Connor, Risa and Lev as they go on the run to escape their fates as Unwinds. Unwinding is an order parents sign to have their children sent away to harvest camps for all of their biological parts. This is essentially organ donation on an extreme level, and that child is therefore accepted as living on in others. Connor, Risa and Lev must keep the Juvey-cops off their scent. Will they succeed, or will they be captured and lose their right to live?

A hauntingly thought-provoking tale by the incredible Neal Shusterman that commentates on an ever-growing population, juvenile delinquency, the issue of abortion, and the Unwinding order that has been put into place to satisfy both sides.

The Maze Runner (2009), James Dashner
Dystopia The Maze Runner

Thomas doesn’t remember anything apart from his name. Why is he here? Where are his parents? Why is he trapped in a labyrinth (Glade) with other teenagers (Gladers), and why are there dark creatures (Grievers) trying to kill him? What makes the Gladers so special? Thomas and co. will soon discover that nothing is as it seems and what is beyond the walls of the Glade is bigger than they could have ever imagined.

James Dashner’s best-selling, nonstop action will have your heart pumping with its spine-chilling chapters, unknown certainty, and empathetic characters. The Death Cure - the adaptation of the third instalment of the series hits theatres early next year.

Matched (2010), Ally Condie
Dystopia Matched

Matched is set in a seemingly utopian-controlled society where its members are ‘matched’ with their soulmate at the age of 17. Cassia is matched with her best friend, Xander. But when Cassia returns home to view Xander’s file another photo - of Ky, an outcast who attends her school  - pops up, if only for a second. Cassia is left conflicted. The government chooses everything she does: from what she eats to where she lives. Have the government made a glitch? Who is Cassia’s real match?

A fierce work of dystopia by Ally Condie that reminisces the totalitarian world of Orwell against a prominent teenage romance.

Slated (2012), Teri Terry
Dystopia Slated

Kyla has been Slated. Her mind wiped clean. All her memories and everything she did have gone. She was a criminal, but now she has been granted a new start (easier said than done). Kyla must wear a monitor (Levo) to measure her emotional levels, and to stop her from sporadic outbursts of anger and frustration. But Kyla is different from her fellow Slateds. She can remember fragments of her past life - fed to her through nightmares - before she was Slated. However, she’s being lied to. Why is she left handed in her dreams and right-handed when she is awake?  How can such a small personality trait hold so much meaning to who she was before?

Teri Terry is a rare contemporary treasure that sets this stunning series in Britain, proving that a British location and British young adult characters can be as endearing and thrilling as any! The twists will give you goosebumps. A novel that stays with you.

The Program (2013), Suzanne Young
Dystopia The Program

Set in an alternative reality where teen-suicide has become an epidemic, Sloane is trying to keep it together. Her brother, Brady, has taken his own life and her boyfriend, James, seems to be going in that same direction. There is a government-funded treatment available known as The Program. But if you enter The Program, you do not come out as the same person. Patients’ memories are erased to cure the depression. So Sloane and James must bottle their feelings to stand a chance of holding onto their identity and one another. But when all eyes are on you, it is easier to see through the cracks...

Young is one of the finest authors at plotting. Her twists are so profoundly plausible but are strikingly unforgettable. You root for her characters, she pinpoints the main issues of mental health and leaves you with butterflies hours after you have finished those last chilling pages. The Complication - the final instalment in The Program series - will be published next year.

If you are not planning on going out for Halloween, then what could be better than curling up with one of the above engaging novels that thrills, spooks and keeps you up until an unhealthy hour to reach that final page. It’s the best kind of candy you could wish for!