It’s hard to find anyone who didn’t follow Veronica Roth’s explosively popular series, and like any great story, reaching the end left many of us with a book-sized hole in our hearts in serious need of filling. Luckily, the young adult/ teen genre continues to impress with more and more talented authors emerging onto the scene. If you liked Divergent, then you need to check out these similar YA series that are certain to get your heart racing.
1. Partials by Dan Wells
Partials takes place in the world that is left behind after a massive war between humans and the genetically engineered super-soldiers called Partials (hence the title). The world’s population has dropped from billions to only tens of thousands, and worst of all is that a virus has been killing nearly every infant shortly after birth, making repopulation a near impossibility. 16-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution that doesn’t involve forcing younger and younger women to suffer countless failed pregnancies in the hopes of producing a living child. Her journey leads to her to questions about the origin of the war and the relationship between humankind and the Partials, and Kira realizes that not everything she was raised to believe is necessarily true.
Partials followed just one year after Divergent was first published, and the two books share a lot of very similar themes. Both feature strong, kickass female leads, and Partials definitely shares the post-apocalyptic/ dystopian theme that has dominated much of YA literature for the past decade or so. This exhilarating sci-fi ride has enough action and intrigue to keep your eyes glued to the page, and stays connected to reality just enough to make such a future seem plausible.
2. Legend by Marie Lu
The western United States has now become the Republic, a nation which is highly militarized as they are constantly at war with their neighbors. Lu’s first protagonist is June, a teenage prodigy and the only person to ever achieve a perfect score in a test called the Trial that all citizens must undergo to determine their fitness for the Republic’s army. Day, the second lead in this story, is the Republic’s most wanted criminal at just 15 years of age for having escaped the labor camps. Their paths cross when Day is accused of murdering June’s brother, a captain in the Republic’s army.
Legend is extremely well-written, and sets itself apart for bouncing back and forth between the perspective of two main characters. Like Divergent, Lu’s series is dystopian fiction that focuses heavily on anti-totalitarian themes, as well as the concepts of social equality and personal freedom.
3. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Set in the not-so-distant future, The Darkest Minds takes place in a time when children who reach ten years of age either develop dangerous supernatural powers… or they die. At the age of 16, young Ruby is one of the more dangerous youths out there, but she manages to escape the clutches of her government before the truth comes out. Desperate and terrified, she flees for the only known safe haven for kids left, a place called East River. But there is danger even among her fellows, and Ruby soon has to choose what path to take as the forces of her world fight to control and manipulate her.
The Darkest Minds starts to move more out of dystopic science fiction and more into the fantasy side of things. Fans of Tris will find similar qualities in Ruby, and Bracken does an excellent job of balancing suspenseful intrigue with romance.
4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Blood has often been a determining factor in one’s social class, but never like this. In Aveyard’s skillfully woven fantasy, those born with red blood are the commoners: normal, mundane, powerless laborers and merchants with little hope of improving their circumstances. The nobility are the Silvers, those with silver blood who possess deadly, incredible powers. For young Mare Barrow, it seems like nothing will change… until she finds herself working at the Silver palace, and accidentally topples into the electrified dome of a battle arena. She is stunned when- rather than being fried- she absorbs the electrical energy and is able to wield it to defend herself. She’s a red-blooded commoner with a Silver’s power, and now she’s a threat to the entire social structure of her world.
Red Queen blends the best aspects of dystopian fiction with fantasy. Mare is a strong, if troubled, heroine, and she’s not shy about taking the fight directly to people who let her and her loved ones spend their lives in near slavery. Divergent fans will find many familiar themes in Aveyard’s work, but Red Queen is a wholly original story that feels fresh and engaging at every turn.
5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This series is definitely YA fantasy, rather than dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction, but the themes will be familiar enough for Divergent fans that you can stay connected, without feeling like you’re reading another copy of the same story. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a story based in a world divided in two: the human realm and the magical realm, which is inhabited by the fae. There is a bitter animosity between the two races, but a tenuous peace exists. That peace becomes threatened when a young woman named Feyre accidentally kills a fae who was walking the forest in a wolf’s form.
To pay for the life she took, Feyre is taken by the fae’s lord over the wall to spend the rest of her days living in their world. While there, all of her preconceived notions of these powerful beings are challenged, and she soon finds herself fighting to save them from a darkness that threatens to engulf them all.
Fans of Tris will appreciate Feyre, who possesses same steely sense of bravery in the face of danger, as well as the strength to kick some serious magical butt when it’s required of her. This series revolves more centrally around the romance plot than did Divergent, but the action is just as thrilling. Well-written and gripping from start to finish, A Court of Thorn and Roses is an excellent choice for Divergent fans looking to move into fantasy.
It’s not always easy to move on once a thrilling book or series has gripped our imaginations (hello, book hangover!), but any Divergent fan will find themselves quickly wrapped up in these excellent and creative stories. Each of these series has a little something for every reader: action and adventure, romance, magic, suspense, and of course plenty of memorable characters. Don’t waste any more time; pick up one of these today and satisfy your addiction for electrifying YA dystopian fiction!