76 books like Taken

By Erin Bowman,

Here are 76 books that Taken fans have personally recommended if you like Taken. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Branded

K.M. Robinson Author Of Jaded

From my list on swoony dystopia that aren’t Hunger Games.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love dystopian stories because these are tales that could actually happen if a particular series of steps fall into place over the course of the next decade, century, etc. Dystopia is set in our real world, just in the future. There’s no unbelievable magic…just what our real world could be generations from now. The evolution or devolution of science, law, law enforcement, medicine, education, etc is fascinating to explore…especially since I’m an incredibly techy person. I love exploring what could happen in our future if we follow certain paths, good, bad, or otherwise. Asking “what if” is my favorite question.

K.M.'s book list on swoony dystopia that aren’t Hunger Games

K.M. Robinson Why did K.M. love this book?

Branded is one of my favorite dystopian novels and really inspired how I write my own dystopian because it explores the dystopian realm beyond chosen ones and government overthrows. This book gave me permission to make my fans cry because I put their hearts in a blender and laughed just like these authors did to me. Branded is about a girl thrown in prison, branded with the sin of lust, and forced to rely on her gorgeous guard…who puts us through a whirlwind of emotions as we see his hatred…and not-hatred…expressed throughout the story. Tissues are required for several different exciting and heartbreaking reasons.

By Abi Ketner, Missy Kalicicki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Branded as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fifty years ago The Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t…


Book cover of Perfected

K.M. Robinson Author Of Jaded

From my list on swoony dystopia that aren’t Hunger Games.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love dystopian stories because these are tales that could actually happen if a particular series of steps fall into place over the course of the next decade, century, etc. Dystopia is set in our real world, just in the future. There’s no unbelievable magic…just what our real world could be generations from now. The evolution or devolution of science, law, law enforcement, medicine, education, etc is fascinating to explore…especially since I’m an incredibly techy person. I love exploring what could happen in our future if we follow certain paths, good, bad, or otherwise. Asking “what if” is my favorite question.

K.M.'s book list on swoony dystopia that aren’t Hunger Games

K.M. Robinson Why did K.M. love this book?

I enjoyed Perfected because it was a very, very soft and gentle take on dystopia where young girls are genetically engineered in labs and trained with special traits as young girls only to be sold to wealthy families as pets. They’re treated as puppies who are dressed in fancy clothes, paraded through events, sat on pretty couches and chairs, and very, very few make it through without being manipulated and used in worse ways. When she falls in love with her owner’s son, and he starts to fall for her, bad things happen. I love putting twists on dystopian worlds so this one was a brilliant, unusual concept that brought such a unique look into the genre and its possibilities and gave me permission to do the same.

By Kate Jarvik Birch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Perfected as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Kate Birch's PET melds the feel of The Handmaid's Tale with the historic underground railroad and wraps it in a glamorous-and dangerous-bow.

Man's best friend just got a little prettier.

Ever since the government passed legislation allowing people to be genetically engineered and raised as pets, the rich and powerful can own beautiful girls like sixteen-year-old Ginger as companions. But when Ginger moves in with her new masters and discovers the glamorous life she's been promised isn't at all what it seems, she's forced to choose between a pampered existence full of gorgeous gowns and veiled threats, or seizing her…


Book cover of The Selection

Derek Murphy Author Of Taste of Vampire

From my list on YA dystopian to prepare you for the coming apocalypse.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love YA dystopian as a genre because the stakes are always high, and we get more action and tragedy in a survivalist, future-fantasy setting. There are usually mutants, zombies, or even superhuman powers involved, which raises the tension and keeps things moving. The subtle social commentary and epic, poignant twists make them much more than simple teenage novels. My own dystopian series explores these themes, but with aliens, time travel, vampires, floating kingdoms, or technology. As an adventure junkie from Oregon, I love the rich, ruined dystopian landscapes of decay and natural overgrowth; and as a philosophy major I enjoy stories that grapple with humanity’s purpose. 

Derek's book list on YA dystopian to prepare you for the coming apocalypse

Derek Murphy Why did Derek love this book?

The Selection is based on reality TV shows like The Bachelor – only he’s a prince and girls compete to be selected into a life of royal privilege.

Just one problem for America Singer, she’s already in love with someone from a lower class and isn’t interested in crowns or jewels…until she meets the prince and realizes not everything is as it appears.

Fated or chosen mate relationships aren’t just a YA dystopian trope; finding the perfect partner is something most of us aspire to, and it’s always thrilling to read about a heroine who refuses her destined path and challenges the social status quo; throwing away a happily ever after in favor of freedom and adventure strikes a chord I can relate to.

By Kiera Cass,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Selection as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals...

It's the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon's love.

Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.

Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they…


Book cover of The Book of Ivy

K.M. Robinson Author Of Jaded

From my list on swoony dystopia that aren’t Hunger Games.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love dystopian stories because these are tales that could actually happen if a particular series of steps fall into place over the course of the next decade, century, etc. Dystopia is set in our real world, just in the future. There’s no unbelievable magic…just what our real world could be generations from now. The evolution or devolution of science, law, law enforcement, medicine, education, etc is fascinating to explore…especially since I’m an incredibly techy person. I love exploring what could happen in our future if we follow certain paths, good, bad, or otherwise. Asking “what if” is my favorite question.

K.M.'s book list on swoony dystopia that aren’t Hunger Games

K.M. Robinson Why did K.M. love this book?

Similar to my story, this is about a girl forced to marry the son of a dictator against her will…only instead of fighting to save her own life as she’s about to be murdered, this girl is the murderer trying to take out her new husband. She’s being manipulated by her family to act as an assassin and starts to waiver in her mission when her new husband proves to be absolute book boyfriend perfection. It’s kind of the opposite of mine where my leading lady is cunning and manipulative to save her life, this leading lady is trying to be stumbling through being stealthy enough to murder a man who was supposed to be her older sister’s victim—not hers.

By Amy Engel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Book of Ivy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a future where girls no longer control their own fates, sixteen-year-old Ivy Westfall has the power to give girls back their choices. If she's willing to commit murder to do it. After a brutal nuclear war, followed by famine and disease, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over who would govern the new nation. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. This year, it is Ivy…


Book cover of The Unwanteds

James R. Hannibal Author Of The Lost Property Office

From my list on fantasy about dragons, sword fights, and elves.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood, I’ve been creating stories about worlds just beyond the reach of our fingers but not beyond the reach of our minds. Now, all grown up, I have the pleasure of seeing those stories on bookstore shelves—some in locations and languages all over the world.

James' book list on fantasy about dragons, sword fights, and elves

James R. Hannibal Why did James love this book?

I love a good underdog story, and what better underdog is there an unwanted tweenager? Lisa wrote the Unwanteds as a fantastical answer to the loss of arts programs in public schools. In her story, set on the island of Quill, artistic tendencies are suppressed and those who fail to hide it are banished to (well, no spoilers). But if you love a good magical boarding school tale of friends, traitors, and new abilities, this series is for you.  

By Lisa McMann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unwanteds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A riveting middlegrade dystopian novel from New York Times bestselling Wake author Lisa McMann that Kirkus Reviews calls "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter."

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret--behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a…


Book cover of We the Animals

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan Author Of Big Girl

From my list on LGBTQ+ folks of color getting free.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a novelist and a professor of black queer and feminist literature at Georgetown University. But the truth is, my connection to these books goes deeper than that. These books give me life. When I was a little girl, I spent more days than I can count scouring my mother’s small black feminist library in the basement of our home in Harlem, poring over the stories of girls like me: fat, black, queer girls who longed to see themselves written in literature and history. Now I get to create stories like these myself, and share them with others. It’s a dream job, and a powerful one. It thrills me every time. 

Mecca's book list on LGBTQ+ folks of color getting free

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan Why did Mecca love this book?

Justin Torres’s exquisite novel will make you want to beam and bawl and fight in all the best ways.

It tells the story of a clear-eyed, tender-hearted boy navigating a world where true safety is hard to find. As he comes of age in rural New York State in the 1980s, messages about masculinity, race, sexuality, and the expectations of family swirl around him, often violently, punctuating the world of inquisitive play he and his two older brothers create together.

We witness as Torres’s narrator fights for a vision of his own freedom, a complex fight that resists tidy endings, offering echoing truths instead. 

By Justin Torres,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked We the Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Three brothers tear their way through childhood - smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from rubbish, hiding when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn - he's Puerto Rican, she's white. Barely out of childhood themselves, their love is a serious, dangerous thing. Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins…


Book cover of Black Mouth

Tyler Jones Author Of Heavy Oceans

From my list on plots Mulder and Scully should have investigated.

Why am I passionate about this?

As horror writer, I’m often asked what scares me most, and almost every fear I have is, at its core, about the Unknown. Not just what we don’t know but the things we cannot know. In all my books, I’ve tried to lean into that personal fear as much as possible, and with Heavy Oceans, I was inspired by the cases Mulder and Scully investigated back when the idea of a government lying to and spying on its own citizens seemed almost quaint by comparison to the moments we’re living. And, as the show’s title credit often said, in glowing words that blazed over a darkened sky…"The Truth is Out There."

Tyler's book list on plots Mulder and Scully should have investigated

Tyler Jones Why did Tyler love this book?

This book damn near ticked every single box I have when it comes to what I love in a novel. 

A complex and conflicted addict as the main character? Check. Regrets? Check. Deep childhood friendships? Check. An evil magician and a creepy carnival? Check and check.

Black Mouth is dark and intense, and even though it plunges straight into the supernatural, it’s very much grounded in the real world. A world full of pain, heartache, loss, and broken people. 

It also features a character with a disability, and he’s drawn with such love and tenderness that I can’t help but think more novels would benefit from disability representation. The character of Dennis is often seen most clearly in the way others interact with him, revealing much about the kindness or cruelty of the other characters. 

A special book that I didn’t so much read as live inside. 

By Ronald Malfi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Mouth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A group of friends return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they first stumbled on as teenagers in this mesmerising odyssey of terror.

An atmospheric, haunting page-turner from the bestselling author of Come with Me

For nearly two decades, Jamie Warren has been running from darkness. He's haunted by a traumatic childhood and the guilt at having disappeared from his disabled brother's life. But then a series of unusual events reunites him with his estranged brother and their childhood friends, and none of them can deny the sense of fate that has seemingly drawn them back together.

Nor can…


Book cover of The Miraculous Sweetmakers #1: The Frost Fair

Jane McMorland Hunter Author Of Urban Nature Every Day: Discover the natural world on your doorstep

From my list on novels set by the River Thames in London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in London most of my life, and what I love most about it are the wild places, the spots where the city and nature rub shoulders. When reading fiction, ‘place’ matters a lot to me, and if I am familiar with the setting, I like it to be accurate. That said, I love a little fantasy to stretch the boundaries. As well as being a writer and editor, I have worked part-time in bookshops for over forty years, and during that time, I must have read hundreds of novels set in and around London. These are five of my absolute favourites.

Jane's book list on novels set by the River Thames in London

Jane McMorland Hunter Why did Jane love this book?

As a bookseller as well as a writer and editor, I believe strongly that good children’s books should also be read by adults.

The setting here is 1683, and the River Thames is frozen. I studied history, and I often stand on London Bridge and try to imagine the flowing water as a field of ice with stalls and side shows on the frozen surface. Embankments and new bridges mean the river no longer freezes, but this story brings historical London to life and allows us to feel what it would have been like.

A magic nocturnal Frost Fair, a lost boy, and a determined twin sister are at the heart of this bewitching story, which is dark yet uplifting–a perfect combination that had me gripped throughout. 

By Natasha Hastings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Miraculous Sweetmakers #1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

'Absolutely stunning... Real emotional depth alongside a fast-paced plot. Fantastic' A F Steadman

An amazing and captivating, curl-up-on-the-sofa debut about a magical frost fair and the lasting power of friendship, perfect for fans of Tamzin Merchant, Abi Elphinstone and Anna James.

The Great Frost of 1683 has London in its icy grip.

Thomasina and her best friend Anne sell sweets on the frozen Thames, amid rumours of the magical Frost Fair that awakens there at night. They say if you can find the fair, Father Winter himself will grant you any wish.

And Thomasina has an impossible wish: the return…


Book cover of Trust Your Eyes

Warren Slingsby Author Of To Catch A Storm

From my list on strong female leads and dark secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to write about crime. I have no idea why. I don’t have any real-life experience of crime. Honest. I enjoy setting books in the places that I love to visit. So Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Nice all feature strongly here. And so far, the two novels I’ve written of which one is available on Amazon, have had strong female protagonists. I guess I find it interesting for a woman to take on a bunch of nasty men. And I studied art and the history of art at college, so everything I have written in terms of novels has been in the world of stolen art. 

Warren's book list on strong female leads and dark secrets

Warren Slingsby Why did Warren love this book?

Linwood Barclay always grabs you from page one. He is the king of the page-turner for me. But with Trust Your Eyes, he created a character in Thomas Kilbride so engrossing and interesting, it ramped it up even higher for me. Throw in an ex-Olympic Romanian gymnast turned assassin and for me, it’s one of my favourite books ever. 

By Linwood Barclay,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Trust Your Eyes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What would you do if you witnessed a murder - but no one believed you . . .?

Another masterful suspense novel from the bestselling author of the Richard & Judy summer read winner, NO TIME FOR GOODBYE and FIND YOU FIRST

Map-obsessed Thomas spends his days and nights on a virtual tour of the world through his computer screen, believing he must store the details of every town and city in his head. Then one day, while surfing a street view program, he sees something that shouldn't be there: a woman being murdered behind a window on a New…


Book cover of The Last Brother: A Civil War Tale

Jonathan W. White Author Of My Day with Abe Lincoln

From my list on children’s books about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing books about Abraham Lincoln for 15 years. I also have two daughters, and I spend a lot of time at night telling bedtime stories. A couple of years ago, I decided to combine these two areas of my life by writing a Lincoln book for kids. But I didn’t want it to be another run-of-the-mill history book. So, I developed a story about a girl who travels back in time and meets a young Abe. Along the way, she learns a lot about his life. I like to tell people that everything about it is historically accurate . . . except the time travel!

Jonathan's book list on children’s books about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

Jonathan W. White Why did Jonathan love this book?

In this fictional story about the Battle of Gettysburg, two 11-year-old buglers (one from the 71st Pennsylvania Infantry and the other from 11th Mississippi) meet in the woods and share some moments in conversation away from the din of the fighting.

The story helps young readers reflect on the common humanity and suffering of the soldiers on both sides during the Civil War. In elegant prose and beautiful pictures it humanizes the experiences, fears, and uncertainties faced by these men and boys (and their families).

5 book lists we think you will like!

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