I'll Survive the Zombie Apocalypse with Dystopian Novels

I recently moved from Brooklyn to Washington Heights (I love my new apartment! omg) and this past weekend I dragged Joanna up to see the new place and walk my dogs with me.  When we walked into Ft. Tryon Park, our conversation went something like this:

Suzie: Isn't it pretty? Look at all the leaves and the trees and the grass and the wide open space.

Jo: Oh my God, this is perfect!

Suzie: I know, right?  There's a fenced in dog park and everything and--

Jo: You'll totally be safe from the zombie apocalypse.

Suzie: ...

Jo: I'm serious. Look, this is exactly how you'll get out of the city if it's overrun by zombies. [Insert Joanna's plan here.  She might kill me if I gave it away.  I'm not kidding.  She doesn't joke about how she plans to outlive the zombie apocalypse].

And I'm not a zombie.  I recently read a zombie novel with the interns and could barely get through the first hundred pages.  Not because it was poorly written (it wasn't), but because the descriptions of the flesh and bugs and decay made me feel sick.

But as you might know, I do like post-apocalyptic novels, and there are a slew of good ones coming out in 2011.  Here are the top five on my TBR list.

5. XVI by Julia Karr
Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world - even the most predatory of men - that she is ready for sex. 

Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past - one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

I love the thrilling aspect of this premise--staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.  And I love the sort of distorted cover image.

4. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah's world stopped that day and she's been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets -- dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah -- can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

I've loved Carrie Ryan's post-apocalyptic world every since The Forest of Hands and Teeth which remains one of the only zombie novels that I've enjoyed.  I love how no one is ever safe in her books--anyone can die.

3. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

While I was reading Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver's debut novel, I had a love/hate relationship with it.  I love the writing and the premise, but I hated the main character.  And it remains one of the only novels I've been able to constantly think about and love, when I in fact didn't like the main character at all.  This is so different from her first novel, so I'm really excited to see what she does with it.

2. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

I have everyone else at a disadvantage because, I have read this one.  And it's awesome.  Like I stayed up reading until 3 am on a Friday night awesome.

And of course...

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth

One choice

One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs, and determines your loyalties . . . forever.

Or, one choice can transform you.

And I read this one too. OH. MY. GOD. All I can say is...


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Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Yup, I'm dying to read all of those.

Seriously dying.

Laura Flanagan said...

I had heard speaking about all the books but not the last. I can't wait for reading them...

Nicole Zoltack said...

My TBR pile is so huge!

E. A. Brass said...

Woah, this list has me excited for a lot of these now.

Also, THANK you, because I've been trying to remember "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" for about a week now and was beginning to despair that I might not ever remember the title and find it. Yay!

Sarah said...

Yay! Now I'm excited for 2011!

Robin Lemke said...

GAH! Those sound fabulous! I've been trying everything to get my hands on an arc of Wither - and now I need one of XVI... except, I'll probably just wait and go buy them. ;) But I won't wait patiently.

I will admit to being someone always planning for the zombie apocalypse. I think it's a healthier obsession than planning for when an attacker breaks in at night (thank you, Law and Order).

BTW - if you have an ipod, Zombie Farm and Zombie Escape are super fun and not at all gross.

Unknown said...

Was having a conversation with my friend about shooting ranges the other day. "Could be fun," she said. I said, "Might be helpful, in case of zombie apocalypse."

Watching The Walking Dead isn't helping, let me tell you.

And I am so so so so excited about each of these books! They all sound amazing.

Hardygirl said...

I can't wait to read Carrie Ryan's latest. And, we must see some pix of your new digs!!


Skendall said...

If the zombie apocalypse DOES come, I want to be with Joanna when it happens. I sort of suspect she has escape plans for every building she's ever been in.

I hadn't heard of XVI yet--sounds amazing. Very excited for this whole list.

Bpoelle said...

Are you kidding me? THAT IS WHY I MOVED TO THAT NEIGHBORHOOD. I am so so ready for it. DO YOU HAVE A ZOMBIE GO PACK UNDER YOUR BED?!?! I do. And whatever JVS said about the battle and escape? Forget it, I have been perfecting mine for 4 years. Follow me. (Holly like to make fun of me but one night after a few she said all serious, "You know, if the ish hits the fan, we are finding you.")

Janet Reid said...


Abby Stevens said...

I'm looking forward to all 5 of those books!

And btw, after I read WORLD WAR Z, I not only had nightmares for 6 months, but I also had this weird thing where for the longest time, everywhere I went I planned out escape routes in case the zombies came.

And @ Sarah - the best defense is a big long scythe type thing (they call them lobos in WWZ - short for lobotimizers!). That way you don't have to reload. ;)

Simon Hay said...

I'm looking forward to Carrie Ryan's latest. Zombies scare me, but I was happy that I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Unknown said...

Northern Manhattan = best place to survive the zombie apocalypse. As long as we're talking about slow, trad zombies and not those newfangled, 28-Days-Later style guys. Then we're all equally screwed.

(This is something I've thought about a lot--I live with two zombie buffs in Inwood, just north of WaHi.)

This is a great-looking list of books! I'm really looking forward to reading XVI and Delirium, but they all sound so fantastic.

Julia Karr said...

Thanks so much for featuring XVI! I'm looking forward to all the others, too!

Michelle said...

Hey Suzie! New follower here. And...wow! XVI sounds AWESOME. I think it's the one I'll be looking forward to the most this first half of the year. :D

Nikki said...

Yay! Now I have my Xmas reading list! These all look supercool.
I need to hire Jo to do a zombie apocalypse survivability assessment on my house. Suggest it as a complement to agenting, will ya? It's a wide-open job market.

Cacy said...

I snagged the ARC of Wither from the bookstore where I work. So far so awesome! It reminds me of Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, which is a book I love.

Great recommendation! I was up in the wee small hours reading the first seven chapters. I can't wait to see where the story goes.