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5 Books Fans of The 100 Won’t Want to Miss!

by  | September 5

If you are a fan of dystopian/science-fiction stories and have not yet experienced the magic and emotional roller coaster that is The 100, please go to your nearest television, laptop, or phone screen and start watching. I promise, you will not regret it! 

The 100 is a television show on the CW network—based on the book series of the same name by Kass Morgan—set in a distant future. Almost one hundred years before the events in the book, a nuclear apocalypse devastated Earth and only a few thousand people survived, living in a space station called the Ark. Now, ninety-seven years later, the leaders of the Ark decide to send 100 teenage lawbreakers to Earth to see if it is inhabitable again. Due to a rough landing, communication between those in space and the one hundred is cut off. So, these teenagers must learn to survive in this new environment on their own…and they may not be the only inhabitants there.

This is such a great show because it is filled with complex and morally gray characters, ah-may-ZING world-building (seriously, new environments, new languages, distinct cultures, the works!), strong conflicts, and tensions, and it provides all this while raising a lot of questions about humanity, morality, traditions, etc. 

It just ended its sixth season and not only is the seventh season not premiering anytime soon, but it will also be the final season of the show (insert extremely sad face). If you’re like me and already missing it like crazy, here are some book recommendations to hold you over (hopefully, until the next season begins). Because the show centers on teenagers, the books on this list all fall within the young adult space (though, of course, you don’t have to be a teenager to take pleasure in them or in the show).

Sanctuary

Sanctuary

by Caryn Lix

Scenes in The 100 alternate between Earth and the space station. If you happen to like stories set in space, Sanctuary might be for you. Not only does it have that going for it, but, like The 100, it features a group of imprisoned teenagers (though in this case, they also have superpowers). The main character, Kenzie, is not a prisoner but rather a prison-guard-in-training on the space station/prison Sanctuary and a citizen of the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Omnistellar Concepts. Sanctuary is the space station/prison where they send the magically gifted teens who are too dangerous to remain on Earth. During a routine drill that goes wrong, the prisoners take Kenzie hostage. She’ll have to learn to work with them when the prison is attacked by mysterious creatures and figure out the truth about Omnistellar.

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Children of Eden

Children of Eden

by Joey Graceffa

In Children of Eden, main character Rowan is a second child. This means she can’t leave her family’s compound and must remain hidden at all times. Why? Because she lives in Eden, a society that only allows one child per family, in order to maintain population control. You see, long ago, most of the earth outside of Eden was poisoned and destroyed, due to a man-made catastrophe. If it wasn’t for a scientist who designed what is known as the EcoPanopticon—a computer program that used global technology to preserve the last of mankind—humanity may not have survived at all. Now, Rowan has grown tired of being hidden for sixteen years and she decides to run away for just one night of adventure. Unfortunately for her, things go tragically wrong and she gets much more excitement than she hoped for. Similar to Rowan, there is a character on The 100 whose very existence is illegal because she is also a second child. On top of that, the majority of Earth was destroyed by a man-made disaster and humanity also only survives because of technology. This topic is particularly relevant right now with all the climate change that’s going on (and the Amazon forest burning for weeks at this point).

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Gone

Gone

by Michael Grant

One reason that The 100 is so compelling is that you’re watching a group of teenagers try to survive without the help of adults and navigate some kind of functioning society, even on a small scale. Another story that explores this idea is Michael Grant’s Gone. In it, all the adults disappear in the blink of an eye one day, and the kids/teenagers have no clue what happened to them. And it seems there are no longer any phones, televisions, or internet. Confusion and chaos are spreading, with bullies taking charge, animals mutating, hunger descending, and the teens developing dangerous powers. And to make matters worse, each one has to worry about also disappearing when their next birthday arrives. Both Gone and The 100 will have you thinking about how you would handle things if stuff like that happened to you, and what rules and values you think are needed to create a flourishing society.

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Thunderhead

Thunderhead

by Neal Shusterman

The 100 will really have you questioning what it means to be human, what makes an action morally/ethically wrong or right, and so much more. If you enjoy that aspect of the show,  as I do, or pondering philosophical concepts in general, then you will like Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. Shusterman is an author who is very good at creating entire stories around moral and/or philosophical ideas, and this book is no exception. It takes place in a future where humanity has conquered natural death, so another form of population control is needed in the form of people known as scythes (a.k.a. approved killers), and society is governed by a cloud database known as the Thunderhead. The story alternates focus among multiple characters as the world they know starts falling apart. It will really have you thinking about death (especially its role in our lives), humanity, whether it’s possible to be morally good and a killer, and more.

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Aurora Rising

Aurora Rising

by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

There’s just something about people with vastly different—and often conflicting—personalities learning to work together that remains super interesting and makes for great tension. In this regard, The 100 does not disappoint. If you love this trope as much as I do, you may want to get a copy of Aurora Rising. Also set in space in the distant future (the year 2380), it follows the story of Tyler Jones—star student of Aurora Academy—who is graduating and looking forward to creating his dream squad. Unfortunately, though (and through his own fault), he ends up with the people no one else wanted to team up with. Oh, and, of course, the girl that he rescues who was in cryo-sleep for two centuries (this concept may or may not also come up in The 100...), Auri, may be the reason for a war that’s been millions of years in the making. And it may be up to Ty and his mismatched squad to save the galaxy. This certainly isn’t what post-grad life is supposed to be like!

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Foyinsi Adegbonmire interned on the children’s editorial team of Simon & Schuster’s Books for Young Readers and is studying for her MFA in Creative Writing & Literature from Hofstra University. She adores Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction—especially fantasy (she can talk world-building forever if you let her), science fiction, and romance. Non-bookish interests include cooking shows, Criminal Minds, philosophy, and sitcoms like Girlfriends, The Big Bang Theory, and Friends.