So to be honest I kind of took the easy way out with this one. Dystopian is one of the easiest genres to pick awesomeness of now in YA, but hopefully I'll give you some new perspective on the genre and maybe clear some of the air on a few titles. Now, granted, I haven't read some of the big ones (Matched series, The Maze Runner series, etc.), but they're definitely on my TBR list for this year. These are basically in order, though it does get a little muddled in the bottom 4.
1. Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth
Obviously this was going to be my top choice, but not just for it's general awesomeness. This book got me into wanting to read ARC's; I won a copy of an ARC from a Facebook contest and it felt pretty amazing holding a really rare form of someone's work. It also really got me into book signings, as one of my first experiences was with Veronica Roth, Josephine Angelini, Aprilynne Pike, Courtney Allison Moulton, Aimee Carter, and Ellen Schreiber. I had dinner with them all and it was amazing, and every signing a go looking for a new adventure. This book means so much more to me than the best dystopian I have ever read.
2. Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi
I also received this book as an ARC. It was actually one of the first "surprise" ARC's from Harper Teen that I wasn't at all expecting. I'm absolutely in love with as well and it's a very close second to Divergent, but in a completely different way. Mafi has one of the most beautiful and lyrical writing styles I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and I think that's what makes this one stand alone from the others for me. And the romance is utter perfection! Surprisingly, she's mostly normal in person.
3. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
This is a 2012 debut, but it absolutely made it on the list. The idea that it was a fairy-tale retelling on Cinderella made this one even more enjoyable. The world that Meyer takes her readers to has an almost fantasy-like quality, and I found myself enjoying every minute of it. I also had the pleasure of meeting the author and listening to the audiobook for this one and it made me love it ten times more. Absolutely brilliant debut! I can't wait for more of this series.
4. The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa
I wasn't sure how much I was going to like this. I love dystopians, but I generally stay away from vampire books as a rule now unless it's for a blog tour or something. On top of that, I found it hard to imagine Kagawa transitioning from a fae series to a vampire dystopian series. But her writing has truly grown and she's now one of my favorite writers! This book was gritty and real and so heartbreaking. Kagawa has a certain way of torturing your heart, even in her Iron Fae series. Definitely one of my favorite YA novels of this year.
5. Blood Red Road (Dustlands #1) by Moira Young
I fell in love with this book! I met the author before I read the book, and I really wish I would have buckled down and read it because it's brilliant. Young also has a very unique way of writing. There are literally no quotes in the novel, but people talk. And they speak differently too, more like a broken southern accent. I feel like that was a very bold move, especially in YA, but Young pulled it off beautifully. If you haven't read this, seriously, there's something wrong with you.
6. Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi
I was surprised by how much I liked this. I'd heard great things but I really didn't know what it was about. The whole lightning thing was slightly off-putting (and still is, stupid mysteries). But what made me pick this dystopian is the romance. The two main characters HATE each other in the beginning. They're from two very different worlds and are forced together and need each other to survive. What ends up happening is that they fall in love. Another favorite debut of this year.
7. Shade (Shade #1) by Jeri Smith-Ready
If you know me at all, you know I LOVE this series! More people need to read the awesomeness that is this series. The only reason it's number 7 is because I'm not sure if it's dystopian or post-apocalyptic or urban fantasy. The world hasn't changed very much so I don't put it into the earth-shattering category of dystopian/post-apocalyptic, but the Shift has affected the world on a global scale. But either way it's on the list. Mostly because of a certain Scotsman.
8. The Host (The Host #1) by Stephanie Meyer
I read this before I knew what "dystopian" or "post-apocalyptic" was, but I guess it should have been a clue that I would love this genre because I adored this book. I don't care what anyone says about Stephanie Meyer, she has the human heart and mind down to a tee and this is why I love this book. Besides the adventure and the couple of romances, there are so many other relationships that have gone awry. Absolutely breathtaking.
9. Partials (Partials #1) by Dan Wells
I recently finished this book and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. There wasn't much of a romance (and you know how I feel about that), but the angst between Keira and Marcus, and the budding I-don't-know-what between Keira and Samm. Also, it was funnier than you expect a dystopian to be, so that was a happy surprise. Definitely worth a read!
10. Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
This is getting near the end, so I don't have much to say, but I was also surprised by how much I liked this. The romance wasn't quite believable between the two people that were meant to be together, but the road getting there was intense and fun and heart-wrenching. I have read the already-released sequel, but I'm sure it's just as good.
What do you guys think of my picks? I know I missed a few, even one's that I've read (Across the Universe, Legend, Delirium, etc.) What are your guys' top picks for dystopian? Let me know in the comments!