November Reading Challenge

Dystopian books that will allow you to reflect on the world's injustices.

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The city of Ember

The city of Ember

DuPrau, Jeanne, author
2016

Ember is the only light in a dark world. But when its lamps begin to flicker, two friends must race to escape the dark. This highly acclaimed adventure series is a modern-day classic--with over 4 MILLION copies sold!

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to dim. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she's sure it holds a secret that will save the city. Now, she and her friend Doon must race to figure out the clues to keep the lights on. If they succeed, they will have to convince everyone to follow them into danger. But if they fail? The lights will burn out and the darkness will close in forever.

Nominated to 28 State Award Lists!
An American Library Association Notable Children's Book
A New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing Selection
A Kirkus Reviews Editors' Choice
A Child Magazine Best Children's Book
A Mark Twain Award Winner
A William Allen White Children's Book Award Winner

"A realistic post-apocalyptic world. DuPrau's book leaves Doon and Lina on the verge of undiscovered country and readers wanting more ." -- USA Today

"An electric debut ." -- Publishers Weekly, Starred

"While Ember is colorless and dark, the book itself is rich with description ." -- VOYA, Starred

"A harrowing journey into the unknown, and cryptic messages for readers to decipher." -- Kirkus Reviews, Starred

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The day of the Triffids

The day of the Triffids

Wyndham, John, 1903-1969
2016

A stunning new clothbound edition of one of the most famous science-fiction novels of the twentieth century, designed by the acclaimed Coralie-Bickford Smith.

When Bill Masen wakes up blindfolded in hospital there is a bitter irony in his situation. Carefully removing his bandages, he realizes that he is the only person who can see- everyone else, doctors and patients alike, have been blinded by a meteor shower. Now, with civilization in chaos, the triffids - huge, venomous, large-rooted plants able to 'walk', feeding on human flesh - can have their day...

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Delirium

Delirium

Oliver, Lauren, 1982-, author
2011

Lauren Oliver's powerful New York Times bestselling novel Delirium--the first in a dystopian trilogy--presents a world as terrifying as George Orwell's 1984 and a romance as true as Romeo & Juliet.

In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn't about to make the same mistakes.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government's radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Delirium received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal, and was named a Best Book of the Year by USA Today, Kirkus, Amazon.com, YALSA, and the Chicago Public Library and was selected as one of NPR's Top 100 Best Ever Teen Novels.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

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Divergent

Divergent

Roth, Veronica, author
2011

This first book in Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy is the novel the inspired the major motion picture starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Kate Winslet. This dystopian series set in a futuristic Chicago has captured the hearts of millions of teen and adult readers.

Perfect for fans of the Hunger Games and Maze Runner series, Divergent and its sequels, Insurgent and Allegiant, are the gripping story of a dystopian world transformed by courage, self-sacrifice, and love. Fans of the Divergent movie will find the book packed with just as much emotional depth and exhilarating action as the film, all told in beautiful, rich language.

One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior's society is divided into five factions--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she's determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.

And don't miss The Fates Divide, Veronica Roth's powerful sequel to the bestselling Carve the Mark!

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The dog stars

The dog stars

Heller, Peter, 1959-
2013

Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog -- his only neighbor, a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life -- something like his old life -- exists beyond the airport.

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The final six

The final six

Monir, Alexandra, author
2018

Set in the near future, this action-packed YA novel--already optioned by Sony Pictures--will take readers out of this world and on a quest to become one of six teens sent on a mission to Jupiter's moon. This is the next must-read for fans of Illuminae and The Martian.



When Leo and Naomi are drafted, along with twenty-two of the world's brightest teenagers, into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever changed. Overnight, they become global celebrities in contention for one of the six slots to travel to Europa--Jupiter's moon--and establish a new colony, leaving their planet forever. With Earth irreparably damaged, the future of the human race rests on their shoulders.

For Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, this kind of purpose is a reason to go on after losing his family. But Naomi, an Iranian-American science genius, is suspicious of the ISTC and the fact that a similar mission failed under mysterious circumstances, killing the astronauts onboard. She fears something equally sinister awaiting the Final Six beneath Europa's surface.

In this cutthroat atmosphere, surrounded by strangers from around the world, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo. As the training tests their limits, Naomi and Leo's relationship deepens with each life-altering experience they encounter.

But it's only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.

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The firefly code

The firefly code

Blakemore, Megan Frazer, author
2016

Mori and her friends live a normal life on Firefly Lane in their utopian community, Old Harmonie. In a world this safe and perfect, they've never had to question anything . . . never had to wonder about how their lives came to be. Until a new girl named Ilana moves in. She's so perfect that Mori and her friends are curious . . . Where exactly did Ilana come from, and why does she act so strange sometimes? When Ilana's secret is revealed, the kids on Firefly Lane must decide: is it finally time to start questioning the only world they've ever known?

In a stunningly imaginative story, critically acclaimed author Megan Frazer Blakemore takes readers on a journey with five friends--new and old--that will have everyone talking about not just what makes people human, but what makes them true friends.

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The giver

The giver

Lowry, Lois
1993

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

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The last wild

The last wild

Torday, Piers, 1974- author
2014

In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he's told there's something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he's finally gone crazy. But the animals have something to say. And they need him. The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester's help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an overenthusiastic wolf cub, a military-trained cockroach, a mouse with a ritual for everything, and a stubborn girl named Polly. The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?

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The library at Mount Char

The library at Mount Char

Hawkins, Scott, author
2015

Neil Gaiman meets Joe Hill in this astonishingly original, terrifying, and darkly funny contemporary fantasy.

Carolyn's not so different from the other human beings around her. She's sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.;

That was a long time ago, of course--before the time she calls "adoption day," when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.

Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn't gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient Pelapi customs. They've studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.

Sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library--and with it, power over all of creation

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her.

But Carolyn can win. She's sure of it. What she doesn't realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price--because in becoming a God, she's forgotten a great deal about being human.

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The marrow thieves

The marrow thieves

Dimaline, Cherie, 1975-, author
2018

Shortlisted for 2018 CBC Canada Reads

Winner of 2017 Governor General's Literary Award (Young People's Literature - Text)

Winner of 2017 Kirkus Prize

Nominated for 2018 Forest of Reading - White Pine Awards

A Globe and Mail Best Book

Shortlisted for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award

Shortlisted for the Indigenous Literature Award

Longlisted for the Sunburst Award


Just when you think you have nothing left to lose, they come for your dreams.

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden - but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

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Never let me go

Never let me go

Ishiguro, Kazuo, 1954-
2005

From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize-winning novel The Remains of the Day comes a devastating novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss.

As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special--and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is modern classic.

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Oryx and Crake : a novel

Oryx and Crake : a novel

Atwood, Margaret, 1939-
2003

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey-with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake-through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.

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Pestilence

Pestilence

Thalassa, Laura, author.
2018

They came to earth-Pestilence, War, Famine, Death-four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all. When Pestilence comes for Sara Burn's town, one thing is certain: everyone she knows and loves is marked for death. Unless, of course, the angelic-looking horseman is stopped, which is exactly what Sara has in mind when she shoots the unholy beast off his steed.Too bad no one told her Pestilence can't be killed. Now the horseman, very much alive and very pissed off, has taken her prisoner, and he's eager to make her suffer. Only, the longer she's with him, the more uncertain she is about his true feelings towards her ... and hers towards him. And now, well, Sara might still be able to save the world, but in order to do so, she'll have to sacrifice her heart in the process.

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The power : a novel

The power : a novel

Alderman, Naomi, author
2017

What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?
" The Power is our era's The Handmaid's Tale ." --Ron Charles, Washington Post
**WINNER OF THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION**
One of the New York Times's Ten Best Books of the Year One of President Obama's favorite reads of the Year A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year
One of the Washington Post's Ten Best Books of the Year An NPR Best Book of the Year
One of Entertainment Weekly's Ten Best Books of the Year
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year A Bustle B est Book of the Year
A Paste Magazine Best Novel of the Year A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice An Amazon Best Book of the Year

"Alderman's writing is beautiful, and her intelligence seems almost limitless. She also has a pitch-dark sense of humor that she wields perfectly." --Michael Schaub, NPR
In THE POWER, the world is a recognizable place: there's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power--they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.

From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, THE POWER is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways.

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The road

The road

McCarthy, Cormac, 1933- author
2006

A searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food--and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

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Secondborn

Secondborn

Bartol, Amy A., author.
2017

Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.

On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode's eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she's to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.

Televised since her early childhood, Roselle's privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.

But Roselle finds an ally--and more--in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for--even love?

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A whisper of horses

A whisper of horses

Bethell, Zillah, author
2017

Will she find the last horses on earth?

Serendipity lives inside a walled city. Before her mother died, she gave Seren an old figurine of a horse. Horses no longer exist in Serendipity's world, but when she discovers a map that may lead her to real horses, she starts on a journey that will take her far from everything she knows. Traveling with an orphan boy, Tab, and his beloved dog, she's soon on the run from a powerful and dangerous man who will do anything to make sure Serendipity never leaves the walled city again.

Zillah Bethell's middle-grade fiction debut A Whisper of Horses is original, breathtaking, adventurous, and moving. It is a story of friendship, perseverance, and resilience that readers won't soon forget.

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The windup girl

The windup girl

Bacigalupi, Paolo, author
2012

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko. Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.
What Happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? In The Windup Girl, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi returns to the world of "The Calorie Man" (Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award-winner, Hugo Award nominee, 2006) and "Yellow Card Man" (Hugo Award nominee, 2007) in order to address these poignant questions.

Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.

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