Book Reviews

5 Best Zombie & Apocalypse Books For Young Adults

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

zom-b darren shan - ya zombie apocalypse books

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 charlie higson - best zombie apocalypse books for young adults

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 patrick ness best zombie apocalypse books for young adults

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 by darren charlon - ya zombie books

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.

Shout-out to Artie Carden for recommending this book. We discussed why representation is important in our collaborative post on fan-fiction.

5. All That’s Left In The World – Erik J. Brown

book cover of all that's left in the world by erik j. brown on list of best ya apocalypse books

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

15 thoughts on “5 Best Zombie & Apocalypse Books For Young Adults

  1. Wow, 3 of the movies you mentioned.. I’ve seen them all and there’s more like World War Z, I am Legend and my favorite Zombieland. In this times we’re in Im glad you suggested books to read since I rarely watch movies out of the theater.

  2. I’ve never heard of any of these but we’ll definitely be checking these out! My husband has quite The Walking Dead collection and is a huge zombie fan!

  3. I’ve actually never read a zombie book but these looks interesting. The cover page πŸ’€β˜ οΈIs actually fascinating

  4. Zombie apocalypse is not something I’d go for TBH (sorry!) but if you’re looking for a dystopian read I can recommend Christina Henry’s The Girl in Red (a twisted take on Little Red Riding Hood!) πŸ™‚

  5. I actually haven’t heard of any of these, but they sound like something I would enjoy. While I’ve always enjoyed zombie themed movies and television shows, I’ve never tried reading books in the same genre… I think it’s time to change that! Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll be checking them out.

  6. I’ve never read any zombie apocalypse stories but I do enjoy dystopian books and zombie movie! So I think these would appeal to me. I love the sound of Wranglestone, so I’ll be checking that out first.

  7. I’m not a fan of traditional apocalypse stuff but I absolutely loved More than this. I think everything Ness writes is amazing but that book hit differently. I remember being so freaked out by it when I first read it probably when i was about 13. I’ve read it again since and I still love it!!!

  8. For me if a book qualifies as LGBTQ+, I am very likely to want to read it – but I have actually read More than this, a couple of years ago, and I do not remember at all that it had queer characters!! Time for a reread I guess!! And my friend has also read Wranglestone and he raved about it a lot, so I guess that must also go on my TBR!

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