12 Books to Read if you Liked The Handmaid's Tale
Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale was recently released and many people are hooked. The TV series is based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. If you're looking for similar dystopian novels, try one of these.
The Book of Joan - Lidia Yuknavitch
To escape a global war of racial, economic, and religious differences, Earth's wealthiest retreated to CIEL, an orbiting space platform. Joan of Dirt, a young opposition warrior gifted with the power to control nature, resolved the conflict by causing a devastating geological catastrophe. The station's leader, Jean de Men made Joan pay for her transgression with a fiery public execution. The wealthy also paid a price, quickly becoming hairless and genderless due to CIEL's poor radiation protection. Survival became about seeking new forms of artistic and sensual stimulus, with skin grafting as a new form of self-expression. While burning the heroine's legend onto her own skin, a renowned artist learns Joan is still alive on Earth. Desperate to recapture her, de Men plans to use the resurrected Joan in a horrendous experiment. The heart-stopping climax will surprise readers of this dystopian tale that ponders the meanings of gender, sex, love, and life.
Also available on OverDrive as an eBook and Hoopla as an audiobook.
An Excess Male - Maggie Shen King
2030. China's one-child policy and its cultural preference for male heirs have created a society overrun by forty million unmarriageable men. Wei-guo has finally saved up the dowry required to enter matchmaking talks at the lowest rung as a third husband-- the maximum allowed by law. Only a single family shows interest, yet with May-ling and her two husbands Wei-guo feels seen, heard, and connected to like never before. As the State seeks to glorify its past mistakes and impose order through authoritarian measures, Wei-guo must find a way to save himself and this family he has come to hold dear.
Also available on OverDrive as an eBook.
Future Home of the Living God - Louise Erdrich
The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby's origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.
Gather the Daughters - Jennie Melamed
Years ago, just before the country was incinerated to wasteland, ten men and their families colonized an island off the coast. They built a radical society of ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and the strict rationing of knowledge and history. Only the Wanderers--chosen male descendants of the original ten--are allowed to cross to the wastelands, where they scavenge for detritus among the still-smoldering fires.The daughters of these men are wives-in-training. At the first sign of puberty, they face their Summer of Fruition, a ritualistic season that drags them from adolescence to matrimony. They have children, who have children, and when they are no longer useful, they take their final draught and die. But in the summer, the younger children reign supreme. With the adults indoors the children live wildly--they fight over food and shelter, free of their fathers' hands and their mothers' despair.
Herland - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Three adventurous friends Van, Terry, and Jeff — join a scientific expedition to one of the few remaining uncharted areas of the world, although Van leaves the exact region ambiguous as he tells the story. As they travel, the friends hear persistent rumors of a strange land, hidden high in the mountains, that is populated only by women. Intrigued, the men investigate the rumors and do, in fact, find evidence of an advanced, isolated culture in the mountains, cut off from the rest of the world. Doubtful about the existence of an all-female country, the men are nevertheless excited by the chance to explore an unknown land, and they resolve to return on their own to find it.
The Last One - Alexandra Oliva
It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens--but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them--a young woman the show's producers call Zoo--stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game. Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life--and husband--she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills--and learn new ones as she goes. But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways--and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.
Red Clocks - Leni Zumas
Abortion is illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro's best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling herbalist, or "mender," who brings all their fates together when she's arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.
The Space Between the Stars - Anne Corlett
In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe -- and in her own heart -- when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories. All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn't forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit ... Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that's left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive. Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie's own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be
Also available on OverDrive as an eBook.
For Teens (and adults!)
The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton
In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. Camellia Beauregard wants to be the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But she soon finds that behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets. When the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia faces an impossible decision.
Brightly Burning - Alexa Donne
Two hundred years after a supervolcano causes an ice age on Earth, making the planet uninhabitable, seventeen-year-old mechanic Stella Ainsley accepts a position as governess on the Rochester, a private space ship orbiting the moon, falls in love with theship's reclusive captain, befriends the secretive crew, and uncovers a plot that threatens the most vulnerable populations of the fleet.
Children of Blood and Bone - Tomi Adeyemi
Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.
Dread Nation - Justina Ireland
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania-derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society's expectations. But that's not a life Jane wants. Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn't pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.