The best dystopian books with watery issues

The Books I Picked & Why

The List

By Patricia Forde

The List

Why this book?

This is one of those books I thought about long after I’d finished reading. Through human greed and global warming, the resulting decimation of the planet means food and water are rationed for survival…but so are words. Noa, the leader of the community, believes that words and how they were used, led to the downfall of humanity so allows people to only use a list of specific words. Except for the wordsmiths, who are allowed to know them all. 

As an author whose life is all about words, this was a really interesting book to read – what does it do to a society when ideas, thoughts, creativity are stifled by lack of words? And when everything is rationed – water, food, words, enjoyment – what does that do to a community?


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The Maze Runner: Book One

By James Dashner

The Maze Runner: Book One

Why this book?

Even though the first book doesn’t give much space to ecological disasters, it’s certainly a theme that runs throughout the series, including the resulting lack of drinkable water. And that’s why this is my second book pick. I loved the world of The Maze Runner (even if, at times, the slang drove me a little crazy!) – so cleverly written, so many twists that kept me turning the page to try and work out what the hell was happening, and a great baddy organisation that was easy to hate. 


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Fire Over Troubled Water

By Nick Marone

Fire Over Troubled Water

Why this book?

Set in a world where there’s water everywhere from the rising sea levels, but fresh water is a much-needed commodity, I loved that this story was about family. There’s a lovely mix of characters who are still kind – still human – and those that are out for survival and control, which kept me wanting to read to see if the main character, Baz, would find his family again. And I loved that there were places I recognised – it’s always nice to have those ‘I’ve been there!’ moments. 


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Red Rock

By Kate Kelly

Red Rock

Why this book?

I’m a sucker for a good opening and this book intrigued me from the beginning. Kelly does a great job in building the tension and setting her world up in the seemingly normal reactions of her characters and it was this that kept me reading. Even though the main character is only 14, and it’s targeted at young adults, I still enjoyed it as an adult. It does some great cli-fi storytelling without being preachy, which is great! 


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Burning: Prequel, After the Thaw

By Heidi Catherine, Tamar Sloan

Burning: Prequel, After the Thaw

Why this book?

The cover drew me in but I loved the worldbuilding in this book, both in the premise of what happened to our world (toxic oceans, anyone?) but also how characters now need to live and survive. And with great rising tension and twists, this was a book that left me reading much later in the night than I should have! 

I was drawn in by the 4 main characters – even when I wanted to slap them, I still wanted to know what was going to happen to them. And the way the society was set up really tore at my sense of ethics – a great thing to have in a dystopian book, I think…how does the new society sit with you?


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