Something that’s always intrigued me, is our love for stories about a post-apocalyptic world where the human race falls. Whether its Mad Max, Shaun of the Dead, or The Walking Dead, zombie and apocalypse stories are always popular. Things are no different in the world of books, these are the best zombie apocalypse books for young adults.
5 Best Zombie & Apocalypse Books
1. Zom-B series – Darren Shan
A zombie out-break is gripping Ireland, but one of the biggest problems in B’s life is their racist dad, who isn’t taking the impending apocalypse seriously. After the zombie’s attack B’s school, he comes to the rescue. B’s not only worried about surviving, but their integrity too.
What I love about Darren is that he takes normal horror tropes like zombies and vampires and puts his own spin on them. If you enjoy Zom-b, you might also like Sunburn, the Saga of Darren Shan or the Archibald Lox books.
2. The Dead – Charlie Higson
The Dead is part of The Enemy series by Charlie Higson. You don’t need to have read the other books to keep up with these YA zombie books.
A disease is striking everyone over the age of 14 and turning them into zombies, leaving the children to fend for themselves. The outbreak starts with a viral video uploaded to YouTube by who becomes known as The Scared Kid documenting rabid “mothers and fathers.” It becomes clear very soon that the video wasn’t a viral prank, and there is a very real threat facing humanity.
The outbreak not only tests the survival skills of the kids and teenagers left behind but their friendship too.
3. More Than T his – Patrick Ness
More Than This is less about zombies but still a pretty apocalyptic YA book which is why it made the cut.
Seth wakes up on the shore of the English town he grew after drowning thinking that he died and went to hell. He dreams of his life in America every night, and how his parents blamed him for his younger brother being kidnapped when they were children. He meets other teenagers and realizes that he had been living in a simulation of the real world.
This was the first book I read as a teenager where there was LGBTQ+ characters who just exist, without the book needing to be a coming out story. LGBTQ+ people exist just like everyone else; not every tale they feature in needs to be about their identity. Check out these Pride songs.
4. Wranglestone – Darren Charlton
Wranglestone is set in a national park in post-apocalyptic America. The survivors are safe from the Dead in summer was the water keeps them out. Once winter comes and the lake freezers over, it’s open season.
Like More Than This, Wranglestone also features queer characters and love. The book isn’t just a beautiful gay love story (although that’s a big selling point), it’s very much a thriller and keeps readers up all night in suspense. That’s what earned it a spot on this round-up of the best zombie apocalypse books for young adults
One thing I will say, Charlton’s writing style can be hard to keep up with at times.
5. All That’s Left In The World – Erik J. Brown
All That’s Left In The World is another apocalyptic YA book that doesn’t include zombies, but is still unsettling enough to warrant a spot on this list.
After most of the world’s population was wiped out by a strain of bird flu, Andrew and Jamie’s paths cross when Andrew is injured. Jamie helps his new friend to heal. They leave the comfort of his cabin to head south where they struggle to navigate their new world and relationship.
The writing is stunning, quirky, and engaging. The humour is one of the reasons I think this is one of the best post-apocalyptic YA books. When I was a teen, nothing was more annoying than teen characters seeming too old and too young, but Andrew and Jamie feel pretty real – or at least, closer to what I was like at their age.
It appeared on my list of queer YA books.
Have you read any of these post-apocalyptic YA books? What do you think are the best general end-of-days and zombie apocalypse books for young adults? My list of the best vampire books might be a better fit, if post-apocalyptic zombie YA isn’t for you, m