Whether it’s a natural disaster, nuclear war, a zombie apocalypse, climate change, or, say, a viral pandemic, fiction books love to destroy the earth! But what comes next? What emerges from the ashes? The post-apocalyptic book, of course!
Exploring what happens after the world collapses, how society rebuilds itself (if it rebuilds at all), and how humanity faces a new reality can make for fascinating character studies and world building. I personally enjoy reading post-apocalyptic YA books as I think it’s super intriguing to think about what it would be like to grow up amidst a ruined world. In focusing on young people who are learning who they are and coming into their own, it can help show how teens are affected by their environment, even if a desolate wasteland seems far removed from our current world.
Sometimes it’s also just enthralling to read a great action and adventure story about an entirely different world! Not every post-apocalyptic book is all doom and gloom, or introspective character studies. While it might seem odd to describe some post-apocalyptic books as fun, there are some YA books that are focused more on the adventure aspect—just, you know, in a grim environment. There is a book out there to satisfy whatever story you might be craving, all to be enjoyed from the safety of your couch.
Though Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games series may be the most well known of the post-apocalyptic YA books, there are a plethora of other stories to enjoy while we stay at home and hope we don’t have to learn how to use a bow and arrow and skin a rabbit. Or maybe you already know how to do both those things! That’s great, you’ll definitely get further along than I will in a post-apocalyptic world.
Ponder how long you would survive after society collapses and take our quiz to find out which post-apocalyptic YA book you should read next!