17 Books Like Maze Runner

James Dashner’s iconic Maze Runner is well-loved by many bibliophiles, but are there other dystopian books that can bring the same level of intrigue, excitement, and action? Yes, there are! And in this article, you’ll get to know the best books like Maze Runner that you should definitely add to your to-be-read list! 

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In the nation of Panem, twelve districts defined by their economies and resources vie for standing and survival. Every year, the Capitol holds the Hunger Games, where two participants from each district fight to the death, crowning only one victor. Katniss Everdeen from District 12, the poorest of all districts, is thrust into the 74th Hunger Games after volunteering to take her younger sister’s place. Will she survive and be crowned the victor?

If this dystopian novel intrigues you, start with Suzanne Collins’ Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, a prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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2. Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is a young adult dystopian novel and the first book in the Divergent trilogy. In Divergent, society is divided into factions based on personality. And Tris has reached the age where all young people choose their faction. After some self-discovery, Tris joins the faction of Dauntless, which embodies bravery. She navigates competition, survival, and relationships. All the while, a dangerous world of backchannels and politics opens up beneath her.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

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3. Uglies by Scott Westerfield

What if, at sixteen, you knew you could move into a beautiful and easy new life? That’s how it happens in Uglies. The government provides for all needs, necessities, and of course, plastic surgery. But what if you didn’t want the surgery that made you pretty? The protagonist, Tally Youngblood, finds herself asking this very question. She then stumbles into an expanding and risky new reality.

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

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4. Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross is a cyberpunk science fiction featuring a clever young bounty hunter named Emika Chen. Her mercenary tactics grab the attention of the creator of a virtual reality tournament called Warcross. He enlists Emika’s services to track down hackers wreaking havoc in the game, but she finds more trouble than anticipated.

Warcross by Marie Lu

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5. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Having won numerous awards and undergone several translations, Ender’s Game is a classic science fiction story for a good reason. It is the telling of an exceptional child who is groomed to achieve exceptional feats. The Interplanetary International Fleet recruits Andrew “Ender” Wiggin to train as an elite officer. Under pressure from invading forces, Ender succeeds repeatedly at a training game and progresses through the ranks. However, his understanding of the game changes as he grows.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

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6. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Ravaged by waves of deadly attacks, humanity clings to existence. An alien force known as “Them” have managed to wipe out billions. Cassie, only sixteen years old, has managed to survive, but it is impossible to know who she can trust. This is the first in a trilogy, and despite the dire setting, you will find yourself holding out hope page after page.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

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7. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

In a dystopian future on Mars, the government sorts people into hierarchies where they toil endlessly or rule with force. Darrow is only sixteen, but he is already wed and working in mines when a small misstep leads to the end of his life as he knows it.

Red Rising paints an image of righteous rebellion in unfamiliar surroundings. You may not be able to vacation on Mars just yet, but this story will transport you to alien landscapes with gut-wrenching drama and intense action.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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8. Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

Girl in the Arena takes place in an alternative present where gladiators participate in televised battles for fame and fortune. Lyn has had seven gladiator fathers who have died in combat and one mother with a definite type. The last defeat brought with it terms of wedlock, where Lyn must marry the gladiator who bested her stepfather. Lyn takes us on a trip of carnal combat and courtship while she blossoms into more than just a wife and learns to fight her own battles.

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

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9. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

What happens when we are ruled only by our fundamental needs? Lord of the Flies explores the trials of a group of young boys stranded on an island after an accident. Good beginnings and best intentions beget fear and hostility as their time alone lengthens.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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10. Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

Min, a sophomore in high school, connects with a mentally ill peer to discover that they both share the terrifying experience of being killed every two years. But the incidents end with them waking up to find no evidence but their memories. And yet, that all pales in comparison to the impending doom of an asteroid threatening all of humanity.

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

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11. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Anti-abortion activism meets advanced biotechnology to create a world where forced birth creates medical options for others. As an ugly compromise to end the war and thwart hostility, unwanted teens may be cast off and unwound. They continue to live on as parts of other people. However, some resist. An unlikely set of circumstances results in runaway teens building a future where they get to keep their bodies intact.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

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12. The Giver by Lois Lowry

In a seeming utopia, everyone abides by Sameness, a concept that levels the peaks and valleys of existence and emotion. Everyone has a job given to them by Elders, and everyone follows the rules. At twelve, Jonas receives his assignment, a secret task that tugs at the thread of this utopia.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

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13. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One demonstrates both the benefits and detriments of escapism. In a dystopian future where fossil fuels are depleted, poverty and squalor abound, driving society to embrace a utopian virtual reality. Wade Watts stumbles upon a virtual key to a treasure hunt unlike any other within this reality. Once he finds it, the hunt is on, and it’s a race to claim fame and fortune.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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14. Legend by Marie Lu

Legend follows two fifteen-year-olds, June and Day, who are on opposite sides of the social structure in this dystopian science fiction. June is born from privilege into a military establishment and lauded as a prodigy. Day lives in the slums surviving by means of theft and stealth. June catches Day in the middle of a heist and plunges headlong into pursuit. But her chase leads to more questions, lies, realizations, and romance.

Legend by Marie Lu

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15. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

In the distant future, humans are no longer plagued by illness or injury. And in a post-mortal world, a benevolent artificial intelligence guides humanity. But even in utopia, some must die. Scythes are specially trained people tasked with strategic killing to maintain stasis. But not all Scythes go about their job the same way.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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16. Across The Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe is set in the future aboard a spacecraft called Godspeed. Among its cargo are thousands of frozen passengers bound for a new planet. Amy is among them, but unlike her fellow passengers, she wakes up fifty years too soon. As Amy finds her bearings, she discovers that her awakening was an attempted murder. With the help of Elder, the teenage future leader of the ship, she endeavors to catch the culprit and save her fellow passengers.

Across The Universe by Beth Revis

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17. Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

As part of a survival test, Rod and his classmates teleport with minimal supplies to another planet. Once there, they must survive for ten days. But what happens when no way back appears after those ten days?

Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

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