8 of the Best Queer Dystopian Books

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I’m sure I’ve read every dystopian YA book out there in the early 2000s. Well, this is probably an exaggeration, but I’ve read a lot of it. There was just something about love triangles, system fight stories, and strong and mostly female main characters that got me hooked. Due to the popularity of hunger Games, forked, And the ugly Just to name a few, I wasn’t alone! Movies, books, and goods flooded my classroom, and many of us slipped pages under our desks during math class.

Looking back, the genre was sorely lacking in representation of anything except white people. The main characters were all white teens, and all the love triangles had a teenage girl and two male love interests she had to choose from, usually one with dark hair and the other blonde, for a bit of variety. You’re a fan of Peeta or Gale, right?

Fortunately, the genre is still very much alive and has expanded in scope to bring other diverse characters to the fore. It’s not just white people who will end up surviving the apocalypse, you know?

Here are eight dystopian queer books for a new take on the nostalgia genre!

The Cruelty of Ghosts, by Rivers Solomon, book cover

Cruelty of a ghost by Solomon Rivers

The last humans are on board the HSS Matilda On his way to the promised land. In the lower floors there is an aster, a black grower considered inferior to the one above. After the sovereign’s death, an autopsy links his death to the suicide of Aster’s mother, revealing secrets about a road away from the ship and the shocks of an uprising in its wake. This is the dystopian dystopia of science fiction filled with weird, autistic characters and totally themselves.

Black wave of Michelle tea cover

Black Wave by Michelle T

After Michelle moves to Los Angeles for a new life away from her San Francisco neighborhood, an official announcement shocks the world: They have exactly one year to go. Soon, people started dreaming about the life they would have lived if the end of the world had not happened. Michelle finds solace in an abandoned library as she begins writing a novel about the end of the world. Hallucinations, despair, and humanity plague these pages, making it one of the most amazing and impressive books to read right now.

Manhunt cover by Gretchen Felker-Martin, image of two plums in a red mesh bag with a bite taken from one

The Hunt for Gretchen Felker Martin

In a world where anyone with a certain amount of testosterone is rampant, Beth and Fran hunt them down and harvest their organs while avoiding violent factions of TERFs to kill them. They team up with Ruby, who is lonely in the suburbs, and find themselves in a battle for their very existence. This bloody, violent, and edgy novel is as terrifying as it is lively.

The Straight Woman Wanted by Sarah Gilly Cover

Straight Women Wanted by Sarah Gilly

In an attempt to escape the marriage her father arranged for her, Esther hides in the librarian’s cart. Supposedly “erect women,” she longs for a way to get rid of her feelings for other women. What I did find, however, is a group of lesbian women fighting a system that doesn’t care about rules. This renewal of the bitter world of the West is filled with both fire and determination.

book cover of The Force by Naomi Alderman

The Force by Naomi Alderman

When girls gain the ability to kill with a single touch, the world rearranges itself overnight. From the perspective of a gangster’s daughter, Nigerian journalist, mayor, and fugitive, we see the effects of this change. Women, now, are supported as power figures, and men are the ones who are afraid to walk home alone at night. If you are in the mood to build an interesting world and explore gender dynamics, this is an excellent choice.

Adaptation by Malinda Lo Cover

Adaptation by Malinda Low

In this YA example from the weird wretched books, when flocks of birds malfunction, causing planes to crash to the ground, the U.S. grounds all planes. Reese, trapped in Arizona, is forced to go on a road trip to get home. On the way, a feral bird flies inside his car, and overturns it. They wake up in a military hospital with no answer about what happened. Getting home is even weird, with curfews and hazmat teams all over the place. Eager for answers, Reese meets a girl named Amber, and they both stumble upon something more sinister than they ever imagined.

Salt Fish Girl from Larissa Lay Cover

Salt Fish Girl from Larissa Lay

It is set in an alternate version of China and the Pacific Northwest, salt fish girl It follows the story of Nou Wa, an ageless mutant, and Miranda, a girl who lives inside a walled city. She is haunted by the memories of her mother. No Wa wonders if Miranda suffers from a dream disease in which the past and present are muddy together. This dystopian science fiction exploration of memory, gender, and love is full of Chinese myths and lore.

Wilder Girls from Rory Power Cover

Wilder Girls by Rory Bauer

The school fence keeps them safe from toxins. At least, it’s been 18 months since the terrible plague struck. Those who left the school perimeter are sure that they are dead; Those who survived were left with two hearts or another backbone. Hetty and Pyatt managed to survive it all. But when Pyatt goes missing, Hetty is determined to find her, no matter the cost. This gruesome boarding school novel is full of horror and full of weird too!


Looking for more miserable queer books? You may also like 9 of the best post-apocalyptic YA books.

In a more dystopian mood in general? Try these 12 dystopian books like 1984 or these YA books set in post-apocalyptic cities.

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