Finding Yourself When Everything Ends: Post-Apocalyptic Books for Young Adults

While we can’t possibly know all the post-apocalyptic books for young adults ever published, we want to refrain from giving you the usual recommendations like The Maze Runner (James Dashner), The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), Divergent (Veronica Roth), or Uglies (Scott Westerfeld). The list below is instead filled with survival guides, so you may get some sort of a relief from boredom and learn real practical knowledge to get ready for life after doomsday beyond the confines of an underground bunker.

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

The United States has just gone back to the Dark Ages following an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack, which rendered most of the country’s government, educational systems, financial institutions, public transportation, and even the law enforcement paralyzed. One Second After paints the panic and disarray in such a believable way to the point where you might be tempted to treat it as an insight into a post-apocalyptic America.

Post-Apocalyptic Books for Young Adults

Much of the story takes place in the small American town of Black Mountain, North Carolina. While there are no murderous aliens and brain-eating zombies to worry about, the EMP attack left a trail of destruction so extensive in its wake that even basic necessities have become scarce at best. Some people have to assume authority and responsibility to take charge in the collective effort to rebuild the community and keep everyone safe amidst the chaos.

Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson H. Kearny

Assuming your apocalypse is a full-blown (as if there is any other kind) nuclear war, a survival book written by a former civilian advisor to the U.S. Army should be more than enough to help reinforce your knowledge about disaster preparedness. Nuclear War Survival Skills covers just about everything ordinary citizens can do to defend themselves in the event of nuclear fallout.

Post-Apocalyptic Books for Young Adults

Wearing gas masks and coveralls while scavenging for food might not be enough in a world clouded by radioactive materials. The book tells you how to build effective shelters in a short period of time, make water filters, properly dispose of dead bodies, utilize thermal insulation, prevent respiratory diseases, and use potassium iodide as medicine in radiation emergencies, among others.

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

Some people think The Zombie Survival Guide is nothing but a parody, while others see it as one of the easiest-to-understand and most comprehensive books about defending against the undead. For example, the book reminds you that melee weapons are reliable because they don’t need reloading; short hair is less likely to get in the way of everything you do, including fighting zombies; always aim for the heads or cut them off to make sure the undead are actually dead; and when escaping from hordes of zombies, always remember that a motorcycle is nimbler than a car.

Post-Apocalyptic Books for Young Adults

Pretty much every advice provided is as straightforward as it can possibly be. Despite being unnecessarily exhaustive, the book makes for an amusing read thanks to a unique blend of horror and dark humor.

SAS Survival Handbook by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman

Although SAS Survival Handbook does not specifically mention anything about the world undergoing a massive transformation from the present era into a post-apocalyptic one, the information packed inside should be applicable to the latter just as well. It is a comprehensive survival guide filled with everything you will ever need to know in a situation where you have to survive with very little resources.

Post-Apocalyptic Books for Young Adults

Whether you want to learn how to make fire, build disaster-resistant shelters, practice injury first aid, and basically use the environment to your advantage in the wilderness, the handbook has it all.

Bushcraft 101 by Dave Canterbury

There are similarities between John Wiseman’s survival handbook and Dave Canterbury’s Bushcraft 101. Both of them offer guidance on how to survive in the wild with what little you have. In a post-apocalyptic world, you want to adapt to the new environments quickly and learn to recognize all the valuable resources to improve your chances of long-term survival.

Bushcraft 101 gives every guidance you need with detailed step-by-step instructions and clear illustrations, so you can hit the ground running just as soon as you realize that hiding in a bunker is no longer a viable survival strategy.

We think that if the initial blow of nuclear strike, asteroid impact, alien invasion, or zombie outbreak doesn’t kill you, the boredom from having to hunker down in a bunker until the onslaught subsides probably will. Getting bored by anything is never a good idea, let alone by hunger and the fear of death. Of course, everybody says that reading is a positive way to pass the time, but then again, it all depends on the types of literature you have and the circumstances around you. Post-apocalyptic books for young adults do sound great, although the category doesn’t really narrow down the options. For example, you don’t want to read something called “The Unsung Engineer of Noah’s Ark” or “End Times Cooking” as you prepare to take on the challenges of the wild world outside the bunker.

Do you think an outdoor survival guide is applicable in a post-apocalyptic world? What is the best melee weapon to defend against zombies? We’d love to hear from you.

Other Things You Might Want to Know:

What is a SHTF Book?

An SHTF book is essentially a guide to survive and stay alive after a cataclysmic event, from an economic collapse to environmental disaster.

What is EMP?

When an EMP weapon is detonated, the explosion produces a powerful electromagnetic field strong enough to disable a wide range of unprotected electronic devices. Everything equipped with semiconductors will fail, which may cause severe disruption to communication systems, radars, satellites, railway networks, aviation, industrial processes, hospital systems, and even water supplies.

Some post-apocalyptic books, specifically about EMP-related disasters:

– Lights Out by David Crawford

– Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles

– Going Home by A. American

– The Road by Cormac McCarthy (the cataclysmic event is unspecified)

– Aftermath by Charles Sheffield

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