The best post-apocalyptic novels by female authors

The Books I Picked & Why

The Big Empty

By J.B. Stephens

Book cover of The Big Empty

Why this book?

This was my first foray into post-apocalyptic fiction as a preteen, and one of the first books I remember being unable to put down! In this first book of a series, seven teenagers enter “the Big Empty”, or what was once the central region of the United States. I love the different personalities of each POV character and the struggle each endures to find safety and a sense of normalcy after a virus devastates their world. The mysteries surrounding the Strain 7 virus, the Novo Mundum community, and the dangers of the Big Empty are sure to keep you turning pages!

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The Sound of Stars

By Alechia Dow

Book cover of The Sound of Stars

Why this book?

This is my favorite post-apocalyptic book of the alien invasion variety. Our main characters are Ellie, a teenager running an illegal library of books and music in what was once New York City, and MoRr1s, a not-so-emotionless alien drawn to human art—and Ellie. You’ll fall in love with them both as they cross the post-alien-invasion United States on a mission to save what’s left of the world.

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The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

Book cover of The Hunger Games

Why this book?

No list of my favorite post-apocalyptic books would be complete without The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I remember first devouring this book in a single day and have returned to it many times over the years. I love the survival skills, dystopian society, high stakes, and difficult choices. If you haven’t yet joined Katniss on her journey to save her sister and survive the twisted life-or-death games, there’s no time like the present!

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By Ling Ma

Book cover of Severance

Why this book?

As a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, I’ve read a great many zombie novels over the years, but I can safely say that none stood out to me the way Severance by Ling Ma did. As Shen Fever overruns the world, turning people into zombies stuck in repetitive tasks from their human lives, Candace Chen reluctantly leaves her office job to search for safety among a group of survivors. Most zombie books ask what one would do when faced with zombies. Written in a literary style and exploring a range of topics including consumerism and the immigrant experience, this book will have you asking the equally chilling questions: “What would I do if I became a zombie? What mind-numbing, mundane routine would my life boil down to?”.

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The Marrow Thieves

By Cherie Dimaline

Book cover of The Marrow Thieves

Why this book?

In the world of The Marrow Thieves, the apocalypse is due to climate change and a sickness that robs people of the ability to dream. When it’s discovered that marrow from Indigenous people can restore dreams to the afflicted, fifteen-year-old French is forced into hiding with a group of other Indigenous Canadians, traveling ever northward as they flee the marrow thieves. I appreciated the survival skills, found family, coming-of-age story, ripples of the horrors that were residential schools, and fight to preserve Indigenous lives and culture found within these pages.

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