Three Dystopian Novels for Teens Watching Chaos Walking

Hand these nail-biters to teens drawn to the movie based on Patrick Ness's novel The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Chaos Walking

Lionsgate. In theaters. PG-13. March 2021.

In a world without women and men, white teens Todd and Viola, a lone girl who has crash-landed on New World, search for answers about the true nature of the colony. This adaptation of The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first book in Patrick Ness’s “Chaos Walking” trilogy, stars Tom Holland, from the Spider-Man franchise.


Feed by M.T. Anderson. Candlewick. 2002.
Gr 8 UpIn a future America where everyone has an implant in their head connecting them to a constant stream of information, white teens Titus and Violet begin to comprehend the many downsides to the feed—and that they can fight back. Readers drawn to dystopian fiction with imaginative tech will enjoy this compelling read, also fantastic on audio.

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline. Dancing Cat. 2017.
Gr 8 UpIn this dystopian novel, Métis teen Frenchie is on the run from government agents who want to kidnap him and other Indigenous people for their dream-carrying bone marrow. A fast-paced story set in a gritty, bleak world.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman. S. &. S. 2016.
Gr 8 Up–In a future world where different races no longer exist and disease has been eliminated, the population is controlled by “scythes” who choose who will die in order to cull the population. As two teens compete to be scythe apprentices, they learn about the politics behind the Scythedom. Part of a dystopian trilogy with stellar world-building and smart things to say about the world today.

Abby Johnson is the collection development leader at the Floyd County (IN) Library.

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