Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Louisa
The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken became a huge hit after it became a motion picture, but as we all know too well when we watch book adaptations on the big screen… nothing beats the book!
The Darkest Minds is made up of three novels and a collection of three novellas (short stories), that tell of a dystopian future where certain children develop mysterious abilities that deem them a threat to society.
Any child who shows sign of these special powers is sent to a government facility.
But what happens when someone escapes the facility? This is what makes The Darkest Minds so exciting and gripping, you just never know what’s going to happen next.
If you liked The Darkest Minds and you’re looking for similar novels, then you’ll love these books like The Darkest Minds.
Whether you’re into dystopian and sci-fi novels or romantic young adult fiction, these are the perfect next reads.
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Quick Answers: Top 3 Picks!
Need a book fast but don’t have much time? No worries! Here are my top three books like The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken!
#1 Best Highly Acclaimed Novel
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
- Winner of the Red House Children’s Book Award in 2014
- New York Times Bestselling Novel
- About life after an alien invasion
#2 Best in Dystopian & Sci-Fi
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
- Spent 7 weeks at the top of the children’s chapter of the New York Times bestseller list
- About an alien teenager on the run, trying to find others like him
- Also a motion picture film
Summary of Darkest Minds Series
Before I go into the top books similar books to The Darkest Minds, let’s quickly recap the story. Don’t worry, I won’t reveal any spoilers if you haven’t finished reading it yet.
It was the morning of her 10th birthday, and something about Ruby had changed. Whatever it was, it was enough to make her parents call the police and lock her in the garage.
Soon, she is sent to Thurmond, a government “rehabilitation camp” where she learns that she had survived a mysterious disease that has killed most of America’s children before now.
She may not be diseased, but she has something just as terrifying; abilities she cannot control.
By the time she turns sixteen, Ruby is dangerous. The time to escape Thurmond has come, and upon leaving she is desperate to find other kids who have lived past their fate.
She comes to East River, where she meets other kids who escaped the center. Here, she falls for Liam, their brave leader, but after what happened with her parents, getting close to someone doesn’t come easy for Ruby.
Especially, when they’re about to embark on a fight against a government that tried to hide its powers.
Dystopian Books Like The Darkest Minds
If you loved the dystopian elements of Darkest Minds, then you’re probably on the hunt for some others like it!
So let’s begin my list with the best dystopian books like The Darkest Minds…
1. The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey
If you liked Darkest Minds, the perfect book to start afterward would have to be The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. Believe me when we say this one’s EPIC!
Picture Earth, our planet, entirely overtaken by aliens in an apocalypse. But not your depths of interstellar space, ET lookalike aliens. Human aliens. Ones that look like, well, humans. I know, I shuddered too!
Over the course of multiple ‘waves’, each one effectively destroys the building blocks of the world as we know it.
The book starts amid the fifth wave, where we meet Cassie, who’s just lost her brother. Alone in the new world, fighting for her survival, she meets Evan and they promise to stick together in the hunt for Cassie’s brother.
A gripping story that keeps you hooked from the very beginning, author Rick Yancey’s done a stellar job. It’s no wonder this book is a New York Times bestselling novel and won the Red House Children’s Book Award in 2014.
2. Legend – Marie Lu
Set in the dystopian lands of what was once the western United States, Legend is the story of how the nation known as the Republic is battling out war with its close neighbors and at the heart, is the young teenager, June.
Born into an elite, wealthy family, June crosses paths with Day, a fellow teenager that’s the Republic’s most wanted criminal.
June’s brother is surreptitiously murdered and Day quickly becomes the prime suspect.
A plot stacked full of twists, turns, and surprises, Legend is a dystopian you simply won’t be able to put down.
3. Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi
Next on my list of books like The Darkest Minds is Shatter Me by the NY Times bestselling author Tahereh Mafi.
Juliette’s touch is fatal. She hasn’t touched anyone for 264 days and counting. And if that wasn’t bad enough for her, the world is quite literally crumbling around her.
After touching someone, ‘The Reestablishment’ has her behind bars for murder but with things so bad on the outside, her release could be what is needed.
A scary, dystopian romance novel with a love story to melt the hearts and minds of those romantically inclined, Tahereh’s written a fantastic novel.
So much so, that ABC Studios have begun production on a TV Series.
4. Crazy House – James Patterson
A household name in today’s world, James Patterson has proven why he’s one of the most successful and influential authors of all time.
Branching out into the dystopian genre, we follow seventeen-year-old Becca Greenfield and her story in the ‘Crazy House’ after being kidnapped.
Set in a wonderfully intriguing dark and dystopian world, Becca is eventually joined in prison by her sister Cassie and they fight for survival in the prison, together.
Keeping you guessing until the very end, Crazy House is perfect for those dystopian fans wanting a little bit more.
5. Arcana Rising – Kresley Cole
Great books like Darkest Minds are far and few between. However, a series to match would be the Arcana Chronicles.
Arcana Rising is the fifth book in the series by bestselling author Kresley Cole, and it’s possibly the best.
After a huge apocalyptic event completely decimates her hometown, Evie is an all-powered Empress.
Meeting a Knight named Death, Evie falls in love leaving Jack, her classmate from the previous ‘life’ behind.
In Arcana Rising, Evie brushes with death which fuels her to become the almighty in her dystopian world. It’s a fantastically unique story, well-written which leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout.
Science Fiction Books Like The Darkest Minds
If you love the sci-fi elements of Darkest Minds, whether it be paranormal beings or alien invasions, then these science fiction books like Darkest Minds will be the perfect next read.
6. I Am Number Four – Pittacus Lore
For those that love a good science fiction book, I Am Number Four might have to be at the top of your to-read list.
Intriguingly told from the first person, we follow the story of John Smith. John’s an alien from another planet, and accompanying him is Henri.
A ‘guardian’ if you like. John is stronger and faster than any other human on the planet and arrived on Earth to effectively take over.
After being found out, they now spend their time on Earth running in the shadows, effortlessly blending into their surroundings.
An impressive and imaginative concept, I Am Number Four was actually turned into a film. I’d recommend to the read the book first, as always.
Related Reading: Books Like I Am Number Four
7. Carve The Mark – Veronica Roth
Subconsciously, their fates in this complex world are intertwined. But with beliefs hailing from separate ‘worlds’, it remains to be seen whether they can co-exist, helping each other to survive or end up destroying one another.
A fresh take on the sci-fi genre, Veronica Roth writes a fascinating novel that follows the lives of two young adults Akos and Cyra.
It’s a complex read with an amazing concept. The character development is also spot-on allowing you to become emotionally dependent on Akos and Cyra, which makes for excellent reading.
8. The Summoning – Kelley Armstrong
This is a slightly different option on the list with it blurring the lines between YA and the fantasy/horror genre.
Chloe used to live a normal life. But suddenly, she starts seeing dead people. Naturally, nobody believed her, so she was whisked away into a home for unstable teenagers called Lyle House.
The only problem for Chloe is that the house isn’t what it seems to be. The story is thoroughly entertaining and at points, is quite scary.
To top it all off, a fantastic cliffhanger makes for a wonderful first entry in the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong, a series of books similar to Darkest Minds.
9. Red Rising – Pierce Brown
Set on the red, dusty terraformed planet of Mars, the human race is divided into a class system based on colors.
With the Golds the highest in society following genetically engineered evolution, the Reds are on the opposite end of the spectrum representing the lowest class, the laborers living in awful conditions.
We follow Darrow, a hard-working miner in the Red class that believed their mining work was paving the way for civilization to thrive on Mars.
Darrow soon discovers that this was a lie and that humanity settled on the surface generations ago with cities and towns thriving.
Action scenes, plenty of tension, and unexpected turns keep your eyes glued to the pages making it an uphill task to put the book down.
Pierce Brown’s written an exceptional first entry into the wider, Red Rising series, a collection of books similar to Darkest Minds.
Related Reading: Books Similar to Red Rising
10. Enders Game – Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card was originally published almost 40 years ago and it still stands firmly even today.
Set in the distant future, humans are at war with an alien enemy wanting to rid Earth of human life.
Ender Wiggin, a six-year-old boy, is thrust into the spotlight as a result of genetic experimentation to save Earth from impending doom.
Ender’s Game is a fast-paced, complex novel (and series) that is the best of what the sci-fi genre has to offer.
It’s plain and simple, not trying to be too fancy, and has a wonderful backstory of leadership and how it’s what’s inside that counts.
Long after you turn the last page, you’ll be left thinking of Ender and how children should be treated equally and all as little geniuses.
YA Books like The Darkest Minds
Darkest Minds was a hit in the Young Adult genre, so it’s only natural that you might be looking for similar YA books to The Darkest Minds. Here are some of our favs!
11. Renegades – Marissa Meyer
If you liked Darkest Minds, then humans with extraordinary abilities might sound like something you’d be interested in.
From best-selling author, Marissa Meyer is Renegades, the story of a group of people with incredible powers, born from the ashes of a broken society where no rules stood.
Establishing authority in the barren lands, the Renegades are a symbol of hope to those still around. Adrian, a Renegade, befriends an enemy named Nova.
Disillusioned under Nova’s plan of vengeance, the pair strike up a complicated relationship that makes for an enthralling read.
It’s a fascinating plot, drawing similarities with that of the Marvel/DC universe, but independent in its amazing way.
Meyer does an excellent job of keeping you intrigued, second-guessing things, and leaving you wanting more. The ending is also sublime and sets you up perfectly to reach out for the second one in the series.
12. Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
Similar to the aforementioned Red Rising in this list, Red Queen is set in a world divided by blood type – red or silver.
The Reds are lower-class commoners that are ruled by those with Silver blood and have supernatural powers that Reds don’t.
We explore the story of Mare Barrow, a teenager from the Reds that’s working in the royal Silver Palace. A slave to Silver’s regime, Mare discovers that she has a supernatural power of her own.
One that’s so powerful, it could swing the power back into the favor of the Reds. She sets off on a mission to help her Red brothers and sisters break the chains of oppression and rise as one.
Red Queen is an eccentric yet back-to-basics YA book that will leave you with your mind blown. Aveyard does a great job of capturing the essence of the intense and dark underworld creating an amazing atmosphere when reading.
Related Reading: Books Like Red Queen
13. The Selection – Kiera Cass
The Selection is a dystopian, YA novel that follows the story of America Singer, a pretty girl chosen to enter a competition against thirty-four other girls, vying for the prize of becoming Prince Maxton’s wife.
Growing up with dreams of glitz and glamour, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. The only issue is, that she’s got a secret boyfriend, Aspen, who’s much less fortunate than America.
As the competition gets fiercer, America needs to decide between becoming a Princess or settling for a humble life and love with Aspen.
Very well-paced, it keeps you drawn in enabling you to build connections with the characters, making it an emotional read once the big decisions have to be made.
For books similar to Darkest Minds, a book like The Selection isn’t one to be missed.
14. Scythe – Neal Shusterman
Neal Shusterman tackles the difficult taboo topic of death in this novel and how the challenges that we all face in life, are actually what makes life worth living.
The majority of the time, the hype following a book is a surefire way to get let down. Not with Scythe.
In a dystopian world where humans have conquered death, individuals known as Scythes are chosen to cull the human population so as not too overpopulate.
Rowan and Citra, are forced to become apprentice Scythes with the end-game being that only one of them will become a fully-fledged Scythe. And the winner has to kill the loser.
Now battling for their lives, they cannot afford to slip up in the race to become a Scythe.
A completely original and fascinating concept, Neil Shusterman leaves you speechless many times over during the course of the book.
It’s thought-provoking and questions a young adult’s concept of life and its meaning. That can only have a good outcome.
15. All Our Yesterdays – Cristin Terrill
This young adult novel is a must for anyone that reads books like Darkest Minds, or the YA sci-fi genre in general.
Making her writing debut, Cristin Terrill brings us the fantastic dystopian thriller All Our Yesterdays.
The plot revolves around Em and her quest to destroy a time machine that has put the existence of the world into jeopardy.
She’s trapped in a secret military base and with only a tatty note for instructions, her only choice is to eliminate the time machine’s creator, which unfortunately for Em, is her childhood best friend James.
Rare for sci-fi, it’s an easy plot to follow but by no means boring. It keeps you guessing which is perfectly suited for its narrative and Terrill’s excellent writing results in complex characters you can get to know and understand.
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Final Word on Books Like Darkest Minds Series
So there you have it, those are my top 15 books like Darkest Mind!
From thrilling dystopian novels to tantalizing science fiction, to gripping young adults, you’ll be sure to find your next read on this list.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!