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12 YA Books That Are Equally as Terrifying as The Handmaid’s Tale

We Will Bear No More.

If you haven’t been catching up on your weekly dose of Hulu’s new series, The Handmaid’s Tale…we have one question for you. Where have you been?  No seriously. This show gives us sooo many feels…

And given the political climate, it’s a great case study on how religion can shape politics in the scariest possible way. Also, can we say reproductive rights?? This show is a reminder to girls everyone that we must continue the fight for our bodies, our choice.  While your pondering over these thoughts in between episodes, here are 12 other books to read if you’re sucked into The Handmaid’s Tale.

Read these Books if You Love The Handmaid’s Tale

 

1. The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Similar to The Handmaid’s Tale, the girls in this novel are carefully selected from the outer provinces and auctioned off as surrogates for royal women who are no longer able to have healthy children of their own. Living in palatial comfort at the heart of the Jewel, these surrogates must use their abilities, known as the Auguries, to genetically manipulate the baby that they will eventually carry, in order to produce the desired traits of the perfect heir.  Surrogate 197 — Violet — is bought by the Duchess of the Lake. With only the servants to communicate with, she quickly learns some of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering façade — the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way-of-life.

 

2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Just like affection is shunned in The Handmaid’s Tale, in the world of Delirium affection is prohibited. Touching and hugging are suspicious behaviors, even among family members. But despite government obtrusiveness, people find ways to connect and to be together. Hana finds like-minded people through embedded links on websites. And after meeting Alex, Lena understands that an emotional connection to another person is something she’s always been missing–and now it’s something she won’t live without.

 

3. Matched by Ally Condie

Dictatorship is present in The Handmaid’s Tale, and in Matched too, where in their society officials decide who you love, where you work and when you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

 

4. Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Bumped also is a take on the world of surrogates, where would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid infused food. Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job. Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

 

5. Wither by Lauren DeStafano

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, and although her husband is hopelessly in love with her, she makes a vow to escape. And like Handmaid’s Tale, her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, leaving Rhine to worry will she be able to escape before her time runs out.

 

6. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver, a book-turned-movie adaptation with a star-studded cast that included Taylor Swift, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes and more.  In this dystopian universe there is no war, no hunger, no pain. And at twelve years old, each member of the community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders. Twelve-year old Jonas has never thought there was anything wrong with his world. But from the moment he is selected as the Receiver of Memory, Jonas discovers that their community is not as perfect as it seems. It is only with the help of the Giver, that Jonas can find what has been lost. And it is only through his personal courage that Jonas finds the strength to do what is right…

 

7. Taken by Erin Bowman

In the same way that the secrets unfold in The Handmaid’s Tale, in Taken Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is away and he’s prepared to meet his fate, vanishing like every other boy in his town at midnight on their birthday. When he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets and what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot—a wall that no one has ever crossed and survived. Desperate for answers, Gray takes his chances and climbs over. On the other side, he finds himself in a world unlike anything he believed possible.

 

8. Unwind by Neal Schusterman

In Unwind, parents have a choice. After their child turns thirteen parents can have their child “unwound,” where a child’s organs can be transplanted into a different donor.  For Chris, who’s considered a problem child, his parents are at a loss of how to raise him so they opt for him to be unwound. And like The Handmaid’s Tale, religious brainwashing is definitely a central theme in this book, in which “tithes” are born as a kind of sacrifice child to be unwound.

Incoming book review/gush/slightly obsessive thoughts/pushy go read these books rant! 🤓 This series was fantastic. If you've put off reading it because you think it's 'just another dystopian series'…forget that. This series is so much more than just typical YA dystopian. It is set in a world where abortion is illegal, but parents can have their pregnancy 'retroactively terminated' via the process of unwinding. This process supposedly keeps the child (aged between 13 and 18) alive while all of their body parts/organs are unwound and essentially harvested to then be implanted in other people. It's as creepy as it sounds. The story starts with a teenager who finds out his parents have signed an unwound order on him so he is running away to try and stay alive. Instead of following typical YA 'kid tries to overthrow the system' tropes, I found this story to be incredibly clever and thought-provoking, addressing topics including religion, terrorism, family dynamics, medical ethics and basically everything in between. I also really appreciated the fact that this story is told from so many perspectives across all four books, instead of just focussing on the main character. People who start out as just side characters actually have their own stories developed in a way that is both interesting and adds value to the overall story. My favourites were definitely books two and four but this series as a whole just completely blew my mind. I feel like nearly anyone could read this series, regardless of reading habits or preferred genres, and get something from it. This has definitely become one of my all-time favourite series! ❤️📚 #bookstagram #unwinddystology #readallthebooks #favourite #ya #thekindofbookyoufinishandwonderwhattodowithyourlife

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9. Uglies by Scott Westerfield

In Uglies, Scott Westerfield creates a world where normal people are considered “ugly” and the main character is excited for her sixteen birthday when she’ll have an operation to turn her into a stunning beauty. However, when Tally meets Shay, a runaway who defies their government’s rules and opts out of being turned pretty, Tally is led down a road that will change how she sees herself and the world around her.

 

10. Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Like Offred, you sympathize with the main character, Adelice, immediately. And like the Republic of Gilead chooses women to bear children for the elite, the Guild chooses women to work the looms, which is a job every girl in the world of Arras could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Skully 💀 September Book Haul This book sounds really interesting. Have you guys read this? What did you think? Comment below.

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11. The Program by Suzanne Young

In both Handmaid’s Tale and The Program, our protagonists are under constant surveillance wherever they go. For Sloane, she knows she has to constantly put on a brave face because one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment that wipes people’s memories. Sloane feels like she can only be herself with James, and feels their love is strong enough to handle anything. But with each passing day they both grow weaker, and The Program is coming for them.

🍩➕ 📖 ➕💔 #theprogram #suzanneyoung #donuts #bookstagram #dystopia #notfarfromthetruth

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12. Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

What if The Handmaid’s Tale was set in space? That is sort of the set up in Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan. In this YA book, on its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth’s collapse, a spaceship’s crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader’s efforts will fail. Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage.

 


What other books would you recommend to fans of The Handmaid’s Tale? Hit us up with your best book recs in the comments below!

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