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18 Thrilling Dystopian Books Like 1984

Last Updated on November 28, 2023 by Louisa

Did you enjoy the terrifying yet thought-provoking world of 1984? Then it’s no surprise you’re looking for other books like 1984.

George Orwell’s 1984 tells of a world where individuality is criminalized. Where you cannot have your thoughts, or the Thought Police shall hunt you down. And if you dare to rise against the oppression, then the mighty Big Brother will come after you.

It’s a world that is scary to think about and yet fascinating. 

But George Orwell was not the only author to think of a strange and terrifyingly unique dystopian world. 

In these books, similar to 1984, I’ll introduce you to some of the most highly acclaimed dystopian novels to get you thinking deeply about society and the world we live in today.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

Quick Answer: Top 3 Picks!

Need a book fast but don’t have all day to choose? Don’t fret, here are my top three favorites!

Our Favourites!

Brave New World

#1 Best Highly Acclaimed Novel

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

  • About a future society that is all about efficiency and science
  • A common theme is “everyone belongs to everyone else.”
  • Nominated for a Nobel Prize 9 times but was never awarded it

The Selection (The Selection, 1)

#2 Best Young Adult

The Selection by Kiera Cass

  • About a world where the class is divided into elite and royals, and wealthy girls are selected to become royals
  • The first book in a five-book series
  • Winner of the 2017 Young Hoosier Book Award

Delirium (Delirium Trilogy, 1)

#3 Best in Thriller

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

  • A dystopian thriller story where love can be cured.
  • Winner of the Best Fiction for Young Adults by ALA in 2012
  • The first of a four-book series

Summary of 1984

Before diving into the list of books similar to George Orwell’s 1984, let’s recap its main plot.

Set in the future year 1984 (first published in 1949), this dystopian story is about a hierarchical figure known as Big Brother whose power and identity are unknown yet all-encompassing.

Big Brother influences and controls society – but who is he? And what does he look like?

No one knows.

The ability to choose your own life or even think your thoughts will have you hunted down by the thought police. And if you dare to rise against the regime, there will be severe consequences.

The story follows Winston, who is fighting to stay alive and keep his head above water in this repressive society while trying to have a secret relationship with a woman named Julia. 

But can he keep himself together and keep his secrets a secret when Big Brother is always watching?

The Best Books Like 1984

Now you have been reminded of the story. It’s time to look at the top similar books to 1984 by George Orwell.

These books will be for you whether you like the political aspects of the intriguing dystopian world.

1. Animal Farm – George Orwell

If you liked 1984, perhaps you will enjoy another politically intriguing novel by George Orwell – Animal Farm.

Animal Farm is about a farm yard community run by pigs who are planning a revolution against the farmer. Only the revolution is betrayed, and the farm animals must learn what true oppression is.

It has many thought-provoking messages and makes you think about how our society is run. 

2. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

In Aldous Huxley’s futuristic view, society revolves around efficiency and science. From a young age, children are conditioned rather than taught. Relationships are not allowed, as everyone belongs to everyone in World State.

The world must live by three rules; zero privacy, zero family, and zero monogamy.

When the state takes control of powerful technology, including the control of reproduction through medical intervention, there are new challenges at hand. Even happiness is controlled by the use of a drug called Soma.

But can a world like this exist? What happens when you fall in love?

3. Uglies – Scott Westerfield 

When Tally turns 16, she undergoes an operation to turn her from ugly to pretty, where her only role in life is to have fun.

Only her best friend, Shay, isn’t keen on becoming pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns that life amongst the pretty isn’t exactly…well, pretty.

Tally must make a choice. She is on a journey of self-discovery, eye-opening awakening, and self-sacrifice.

4. The Giver – Lois Lowry

In The Giver, the world is presented as peaceful and equal, where everyone looks the same, and decisions such as parental assignments are made for you.

At twelve, people get a job that they will train to do their entire life – this is when Jonas, the protagonist of the novel, receives his title as Memory Keeper.

Through memories gifted to him by The Giver, Jonas discovers emotion and the impact of prejudice, morality, and diversity.

Through these revelations, his life takes on more meaning as he experiences feelings such as joy and sadness -but ultimately this is also what leads to Jonas challenging the harmonious state in which he lives.

If you’re a fan of dystopian worlds that make you take a deeper look at life then books like The Giver should definitely be put on your must-read list – even if it was unfortunately banned in America!

5. The Selection – Keira Cass

In the world of The Selection series, society is divided into number classes, with one being the elite and eight being laborers.

For thirty-five young women, taking part in The Selection offers them a chance to live in a palace and win the hand of Prince Maxon.

But for protagonist America Singer, this life-changing opportunity is her worst nightmare – not only does it mean she has to give up on her secret love, Aspen, but it also means leaving behind her home and living in constant danger of attack.

When America meets Prince Maxon, she starts to reconsider what she wants out of life – after all, the possibility of royalty can be tempting.

Can America decide between true love and a luxurious life?

For an exciting and romantic tale of choices, sacrifice, and true love, be sure to check out some more books like The Selection series!

6. Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neil

In the gripping yet haunting novel Only Ever Yours, women are bred in schools with only one purpose: to become companions for men.

Throughout their schooling, competition arises and tensions mount as not all will be lucky enough to gain this title upon graduation.

The unlucky ones become chastities – teachers at the institute responsible for training the next generation of women, but a role they certainly don’t desire as they are treated poorly by those instructing them.

As protagonist Fredia nears graduating, she is forced to make difficult decisions and fight for her future – even if it means putting friendship on the line or betraying the person she loves most.

Will Fredia succeed in her goals and discover her true path? Read Only Ever Yours to find out!

7. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is possibly one of the most well-known dystopian novels similar to 1984, as like 1984, The Hunger Games series has a numbered society ruled by one dictator.

Be transported to a dystopian union with numbered districts, where the wealthiest are free to live comfortably while the poorest must survive on barely anything.

In this world of The Hunger Games series, twelve outlying districts serve The Capitol and every year, one boy and one girl from each district must fight in The Hunger Games– an intense battle with only one survivor who claims riches and food for his or her family.

Follow Katniss Everdeen, a brave and determined teenager from District 12 whose journey starts with her first Hunger Games in book 1 and culminates as a much larger battle in books 2 and 3.

If you’ve only watched the films and haven’t read the books – don’t miss out! There is much more detail in the novels that will leave your jaw on the floor.

8. Delierium – Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver is a Young Adult Dystopian novel following the story of Lena as she lives in a world where love is a fatal disease. At the age of eighteen, everyone must take the cure.

After witnessing love destroy her mother, Lena, who lives in Portland, is on board with getting the cure in a few months.

But soon, she meets the enigmatic Alex from the wilds, an area for those who are hesitant to take the cure, who makes her question everything she’s ever believed.

Do you think a girl and a boy can coexist in a world built around a society where love can be cured?

9. Divergent – Veronica Roth

Veronica Roth’s dystopian world set in Chicago has similar themes to 1984 as it centers around categorizing people based o their personality traits. In this case, each personality is defined as Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, Dauntless, and Amity.

Every year, all sixteen-year-olds must choose a faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.

Beatrice must choose between remaining with her family and being herself, but she cannot have it both ways.

As a result, she renames herself Tris and struggles with her fellow teen girls to live out their decision.

They must all work together to survive physical and mental assessments, some of which have disastrous outcomes.

Tris must determine her true friends as the onset changes them all. As she is exposed to turmoil and growing disputes threatening to destabilize her seemingly peaceful world, she realizes that her secret may create a do-or-die situation.

Divergent was also made into a blockbuster movie.

Related Post: Books Like The Hunger Games and Divergent

10. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 tells a timeless, captivating story of an oppressive, bookless future.

Its protagonist Guy Montag is a fireman whose job it is to eradicate illegal books and homes with them – until one day he meets someone who would choose death over her books being destroyed.

His young neighbor Clarisse then introduces him to the power of literature, making Guy question life as he knows it. Will he join the society without books or fight to save them?

Farenheit 451 is an inspiring and thought-provoking classic that will leave you questioning life as we know it. The reader is kept hanging to the edge of their seat as they follow Guy Montag on his journey to discover the power of literature!

11. Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Have you ever wondered what would happen if no adults and children were left to fend for themselves to survive? This is exactly what Lord of the Flies covers.

A group of schoolchildren from an all-boys school land on a deserted island after their plane crashes. The boys must learn to survive and undertake leadership without adults to guide them.

What starts as an idea turns into madness. Golding highlights the dark side of humanity in this savage book, and like 1984, reveals the evilest nature of humankind.

12. We – Yevgeny Zamyatin


We were said to have been the inspiration behind George Orwell’s 1984, so if you enjoyed 1984 then you will enjoy We.

Set in a totalitarian state, this novel was banned in Russia because it predicted the communist society within Russia after WWII.

The story takes place after a 200-year war, which wiped out most of humanity, except for 0.2% of the Earth’s population.

Society is run by “The Benefactor,” who protects society inside a giant Green Wall. 

View it on:

13. The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin 

The Dispossess is a science fiction novel in which a brilliant physicist and mathematician, Shevek, finds a way to bridge the divide between two planets.

Traveling to the utopian planet of Urras, he seeks to understand, learn and tear down the walls of the planet that anarchists have isolated for years.

But visiting Urras means sacrificing his friends and family along the way. But what happens when someone tries to change how a planet has lived for years? Can Shevek transform this planet, or will it consume him?

14. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a powerful New York Times Bestseller and modern classic novel set in Canada in a dystopian future.

After an environmental disaster leads to declining birthrates, the Republic of Gilead rises up as a totalitarian regime, enslaving the few remaining fertile women to produce children for its commanders.

Offred is one of these handmaids, denied contact with her husband and children and left with only memories.

This dark and chilling tale is guaranteed to keep you at the edge of your seat until the very end!

15. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Hailsham, an English boarding school located in a secluded land, sheltered its students from the world.

Little contact with the external world meant that these students were not able to learn about what lay beyond the walls of the school.

However, it was here that Kathy received her education and became a young woman.

But when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy decided to leave Hailsham, they were shocked to find out the dark secret it held.

This gripping mystery novel explores human arrogance while providing an epic love story set against a backdrop of our modern society.

16. These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong

One of the aspects of 1984 that had readers on the edge of their seats was the conflict between Big Brother and Winston, who was part of a small group of people planning a secret rebellion against oppression. 

This is a familiar storyline in These Violent Delights, where 2 street gangs have left the city on the edge of chaos.

The Scarlet Gang has been at war with their rivals, the White Flowers, for years. Juliette is ready to return home and take on her role as the Scarlet gang’s leader. 

She soon discovers that her former love interest is leading the White Flowers. As things become out of control on both sides, the former lovers must find a way to work together before their war destroys the city. 

If you think this sounds exciting, then you might like these other books like These Violent Delights.

17. Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Slaughterhouse-Five is a groundbreaking novel that fearlessly stands against the devastating nature of war, all while maintaining readability and wit.

Combining autobiography, historical fiction, science fiction, and satire with his unique approach, Vonnegut Jr. takes readers on an immersive journey through this imaginary world.

Billy Pilgrim serves as his projection into this strange yet captivating landscape filled with absurdity and impossibility.

Edgy, powerful, and often hilarious, it’s a cynical ode to the senselessness of war in literary form.

18. The Hopkins Manuscript – R. C. Sherriff

The Hopkins Manuscript is a thought-provoking book about an amateur astronomer who learns that the Moon is about to crash into the Earth.

He writes a manuscript detailing the coming days before the moon hits the Earth.

While it’s not similar to 1984 in that there is no totalitarian society, it does portray an interesting outlook on society’s reaction to incoming disasters.

And offer the reader an eye-opening portrayal of different human behavior – which was one of the things I loved about 1984.

The Hopkins Manuscript is interesting as it details how different people face a fatal crisis. Some turn to religion, some panic, some work to solve a solution to the problem, and some sit back and watch it all unfold.

This is a very interesting read for anyone who enjoys thought-provoking novels.

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books like 1984

Final Word on Books Like 1984

Whether you’re looking for something with political themes, Utopian futures, thought-provoking storylines, or something far removed from our modern world, you’ll be sure to find it in these books like 1984.

I hope this guide helped you find something that interests you and gave you some ideas for what to read after 1984.

If you have any more suggestions, please let me know in the comments!

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About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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