11 best books like ‘Shatter Me’ for fans of YA dystopias

11 best books like ‘Shatter Me’ for fans of YA dystopias

In Reading Lists by Lanie Pemberton

11 best books like ‘Shatter Me’ for fans of YA dystopias

What do you get when you combine a YA dystopian with elements of romance, fantasy, and action/adventure, all led by a heroine with incredible character growth? Shatter Me by National Book Award-nominated Tahereh Mafi, of course!

This series began over a decade ago in 2011 and it remains popular today (just check BookTok and Bookstagram). Reading it inevitably leads most fans to search for books similar to Shatter Me

After scouring Reddit, literary lists, popular reviews, and my own bookshelves, I’ve gathered a binge-worthy list of 11 books to read after Shatter Me. These stories are all stand-out reads, but my favorite has to be The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins — the series-starter that sparked my love for YA dystopias.

1. This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi

If you enjoyed the Shatter Me series, you’ll also adore the This Woven Kingdom series by Mafi, who describes it as “Game of Thrones set in the Persian empire.” It’s an enemies-to-lovers tale that has an emotional plot, beautiful prose, and major Cinderella vibes when the protagonist, a lowly servant, becomes the heir to the Jinn kingdom.

Like Juliette in Shatter Me, Alizeh is an unlikely heroine who must learn to come into her own power as both sides of the central conflict hope to use her for their own deadly intentions.

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2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Born with the skill to kill, Katsa has known nothing but life as the king’s thug. Despite being forced to use her gift (or rather, curse) to hunt down the king’s opponents, Katsa is determined to do all within her power to retain her personal freedom and set things right in the world. As such, she serves on a secret council dedicated to keeping the peace as it watches over the seven kingdoms. 

Graceling, the first of the Graceling Realm series, has all the trappings of an epic YA fantasy: A slow-burn romance, vivid worldbuilding, and a showdown between a kickass heroine and a genuinely terrifying villain.

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3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

What begins as an impulsive move to save her sister from the savage Capitol-sponsored Hunger Games turns Katniss Everdeen from a reluctant heroine into the inspiring face of a revolution. Katniss’ heart of gold, hardened determination, and impressive archery skills made her a household name throughout Panem and around our present-day world.

The Hunger Games series is highly political, yet bridges our real-world political divides with grace. It’s well worth multiple rereadings.

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4. Divergent by Veronica Roth

In a dystopian world where being different is deadly, Tris leaves Abnegation, her family’s faction, to make her own way among the brave Dauntless. But as she struggles to prove herself, Tris also discovers a dark plot brewing in her society — one that tests her limits and makes divergence from the status quo all the more dangerous.

Like The Hunger Games, this series is among the OG dystopian novels that have made a lasting mark on YA literature. Follow Divergent with the rest of the trilogy, Insurgent and Allegiant (there’s also a collection of stories from Tobias’ perspective).

Oh, and great news for Roth’s biggest fans: Her latest fantasy, When Among Crows, just dropped in May 2024. 

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5. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow has red blood but Silver powers, a fact that threatens to destroy the basis of an unjust social caste system. With the king determined to keep her powers a secret, Mare must rely on her unwavering strength and wit to survive. 

The Red Queen series is a perpetual chart-topper and one of the greats from the YA dystopian heyday.

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6. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

In Mejia’s novel, women are forced to marry out of duty — each man gets two wives, one Primera (the primary life partner) and one Segunda (a beauty whose role is to bear children). While We Set the Dark on Fire has a dark political premise similar to The Handmaid’s Tale, it lives up to the rebellious hope of its title. 

Dani and Carmen, who hated each other all through finishing school, are the Primera and Segunda for the same powerful man. Instead of centering his needs, the two girls fall for each other, and work together to topple the dystopian system.

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7. Delirium by Lauren Oliver 

In Delirium, America is a dystopian society that scorns love, and every citizen must undergo a brain procedure to prevent any passionate feelings. Lena Haloway is looking forward to her own treatment — especially after her mother’s ill-fated love story ended in suicide — but then she meets a boy who changes everything Lena thought she knew about her totalitarian world.

Romeo and Juliet meets 1984, and fans of Shatter Me are sure to be astounded.

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8. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Though the series originally came out in 2012, The Darkest Minds has only become more relevant with time. In it, teenagers that develop superpowers are rounded up and forced into internment camps under an unjust regime. This novel’s movie adaptation stars darlings Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give) and Mandy Moore (This is Us).

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9. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Westerfeld’s novel is a scathing, nuanced takedown of the price we pay for unrealistic beauty standards. Transforming into a Pretty comes at a high cost — perhaps too high for young protagonists Tally and Shay. 

The twists and turns are shocking and, at times, troubling, but that only makes Westerfeld’s book more enthralling. The Netflix Original film adaptation of this novel is expected sometime in 2024.

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10. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

In Shusterman’s novel, disease, war, and poverty — and thus natural death — have been eradicated, and everyone in society lives in peace, governed by an AI called Thunderhead. But certain people are called upon to become Scythes, a position where they have to choose which people live or die in the name of population control. 

This engrossing story follows Scythes Citra and Rowan as they navigate the moral complexities of their gruesome job. Shusterman is no slouch in the dystopian YA genre, having also penned the widely lauded Unwind series.


11. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Armentrout is clearly a scholar of fantasy and paranormal romance tropes, as she puts a masterful spin on vampires, werewolves, and forbidden love in From Blood and Ash — the perfect romance book for fans of Shatter Me.

Poppy, a Maiden who has to ignore her own desires for the sake of family and kingdom, falls for Hawke, a guard who makes his way past her defenses and is willing to abandon his duties to the kingdom to be Poppy’s. Queue the angst and steamy sex in between stunning action sequences and lush worldbuilding (this is a New Adult fantasy for fans of Sarah J Maas, after all!).

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About the Author: Lanie Pemberton

Lanie is a San Diego-based freelance writer who loves reading crime thrillers and nonfiction about animals and the natural world. When not writing and reading (or writing about what to read), Lanie spends as much time as possible at the beach with her husband and pampered pittie, Peach.