#SJYALit Booklist: Environmental Dystopia, aka Cli-Fi
Cli-Fi is fiction that deals with the topic of climate change. Climate change is an important political and social justice issue as it affects everything from health to food and water resources See, for example, this discussion: The Next Frontier of Climate Change: Climate & Social Justice. Natalie Korsavidis joins us today to share this book list of environmental dystopians as part of the #SJYALit Discussion. You can find out more about the #SJYALIt Discussion here.
Augarde, Steve. X Isle. David Fickling, 2010.
Baz and Ray, survivors of an apocalyptic flood, win places on X-Isle, an island where life is rumored to be better than on the devastated mainland, but they find the island to be a violent place ruled by religious fanatic Preacher John, and they decide they must come up with a weapon to protect themselves from impending danger.
Bacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker. Little, Brown, 2010.
In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.
Bell, Hilari. Trickster’s Girl. Houghton Mifflin, 2011.
In the year 2098, America isn’t so different from the USA of today. The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying. Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet.
Bertagna, Julie. Exodus. Macmillan, 2008.
In the year 2100, as the island of Wing is about to be covered by water, fifteen-year-old Mara discovers the existence of New World sky cities that are safe from the storms and rising waters, and convinces her people to travel to one of these cities in order to save themselves.
Crossan, Sarah. Breathe. Greenwillow Books, 2012.
In a barren land, a shimmering glass dome houses the survivors of the Switch, the period when oxygen levels plunged and the green world withered. A state lottery meant a lucky few won safety, while the rest suffocated in the thin air. And now Alina, Quinn, and Bea–an unlikely trio, each with their own agendas, their own longings and fears–walk straight into the heart of danger. With two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, they leave the dome. What will happen on the third day?
De la Cruz, Melissa. Frozen*. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2013.
More than a century after a catastrophic disaster wiped out most of humanity and covered much of the earth with ice, fifteen-year-old Cass yields to the voice in her head urging her to embark on a dangerous journey across a poisoned sea to the mythical land, Blue.
Emerson, Kevin. The Lost Code*. Katherine Tegen Books, 2012.
In a world ravaged by global warming, teenage Owen Parker discovers that he may be the descendant of a highly advanced, ancient race, with whose knowledge he may be able to save the earth from self-destruction.
Falkner, Brian. The Tomorrow Code. Random House, 2008.
Two New Zealand teenagers receive a desperate SOS from their future selves and set out on a quest to stop an impending ecological disaster that could mean the end of humanity.
Friesen, Jonathan. Aquifer. Blink, 2013.
In 2250, water is scarce and controlled by tyrants, but when sixteen-year-old Luca descends to the domain of the Water Rats, he meets one who captures his heart and leads him to secrets about a vast conspiracy, and about himself.
Grant, Sara. Dark Parties. Little, Brown, 2011.
Sixteen-year-old Neva, born and raised under the electrified Protectosphere that was built when civilization collapsed in violent warfare, puts her friends, family, and life at risk when she tries to find out if their world is built on a complex series of lies and deceptions.
Helvig, Kristi. Burn Out. EgmonstUSA, 2014.
In the future, when the Earth is no longer easily habitable, seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds, a girl in hiding, struggles to protect weapons developed by her father that could lead to disaster should they fall into the wrong hands.
Howard, Chris. Rootless. Scholastic, 2012.
Seventeen-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using scrap metal and salvaged junk, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan’s never seen a real tree, his father used to tell him stories about the Old World. But that was before his father was taken. Everything changes when Banyan meets a woman with a strange tattoo; a clue to the whereabouts of the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return.
Lloyd. Saci. The Carbon Diaries 2015*. Holiday House, 2009.
In 2015, when England becomes the first nation to introduce carbon dioxide rationing in a drastic bid to combat climate change, sixteen-year-old Laura documents the first year of rationing as her family spirals out of control.
Lyga, Barry. After the Red Rain. Little, Brown, 2015.
In the far-off future, humankind has so ravaged the planet that plants and other life forms are nearly extinct. While a corrupt government exercises control over its remaining citizens, a strange boy named Rose turns up in 16-year-old Deedra’s home territory and inspires a quiet uprising that has her questioning everything, from the machines she builds at her factory job to the news provided via “wikinet” feed.
McGann, Oisin. Daylight Runner. Eos, 2008.
Outside the huge domed city, an Ice Age has transformed Earth into an Arctic desert. But inside, the Machine, protected by the Clockworkers—a fearsome police organization—has become the source of the city’s energy and a way for industrial leaders to wield enormous power. When a rogue organization begins posting messages warning of the Machine’s impending failure, civil unrest grows.
McGinnes, Mindy. Not a Drop to Drink. Katherine Tegen Books, 2013.
In the not-too-distant future, water has become scarce. Lynn and her mother are good shots, picking off stray travelers who are tempted by their pond. After her mother is killed by coyotes, Lynn tries to be self-reliant, but she knows that in time the men from a nearby settlement will attempt to seize her land. When her taciturn neighbor Stebbs offers help, she slowly opens herself to his friendship, and her lifelong solitude is further fractured when she meets a family that is trying to survive on the banks of a nearby stream.
McNaughton, Janet. The Secret Under My Skin. Eos, 2005.
In the year 2368, humans exist under dire environmental conditions and one young woman, rescued from a workcamp and chosen for a special duty, uses her love of learning to discover the truth about the planet’s future and her own dark past.
Moyer, Jenny. Flashfall. Henry Holt and Company, 2016.
In a world shattered by radiation fallout, teenaged Orion and her climbing partner Dram, in exchange for freedom, mine terrifying tunnels for a precious element that keeps humans safe from radiation poisoning, but disturbing revelations force Orion to question everything she knows.
Mullin, Mike. Ashfall. Tanglewood, 2011.
After the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano destroys his city and its surroundings, fifteen-year-old Alex must journey from Cedar Falls, Iowa, to Illinois to find his parents and sister, trying to survive in a transformed landscape and a new society in which all the old rules of living have vanished.
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life as We Knew It*. Harcourt, 2006.
Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
Weyn, Suzanne. Empty. Scholastic Press, 2010.
When, just ten years in the future, oil supplies run out and global warming leads to devastating storms, senior high school classmates Tom, Niki, Gwen, Hector, and Brock realize that the world as they know it is ending and lead the way to a more environmentally-friendly society.
If you have titles you would like to add to our list, please add them in the comments.
Christie Gibrich previously put together THIS list of climate change dystopias.
And I put together THIS collection of Earth Day activities, inspired in part by 47 Things You Can Do for the Environment published by Zest Books. Earth Day is coming, a great time to introduce your patrons to CliFi.
Meet Natalie Korsavidis
Natalie Korsavidis is the Head of Young Adult at the Farmingdale Public Library. She received her MLS at CW Post University. She is currently President of the Young Adult Services Division of the Nassau County Library Association. She has spoken at New York Comic Con and the Long Island Pop Culture Convention.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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