When it comes to 20th-century literature, William Golding’s 1954 novel about the society and demise of a group of young boys stranded on a desert island is among the most significant. In the end, finding more books like Lord of the Flies can be a difficult task.
The story of Jack, Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric, and Simon could have ended differently, but if you’d prefer a society where women had a stronger voice (it was written in the 1950s…), here are ten books like Lord of the Flies that are sure to stimulate your mind and leave you wanting more!
Interesting Books like Lord of the Flies
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
For those looking for Lord of the Flies-like books, Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, set in a psychiatric hospital, is a must-read, though perhaps best known for its 1975 film adaptation starring Jack Nicholson.
To avoid going to prison, Randle McMurphy, a convicted felon, faked insanity and was committed to a mental hospital. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest tells the story of McMurphy’s ordeal. McMurphy’s antagonism of Nurse Ratched is the focus of the novel.
Similar to Lord of the Flies, the novel examines power dynamics and leadership in a similar way. As a great underrated classic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a must-read for anyone interested in William Golding’s seminal work or just a fun read in its own right.
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
Anthony Burgess’ 1962 dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange, which was made into a film by the incomparable Stanley Kubrick, is a great choice if you’re looking for books that are similar to Lord of the Flies.
Alex, a 15-year-old delinquent and violent young man who lives in a dystopian society in the not-too-distant future, is the focus of this bizarre and disturbing novel. Each of the three sections of the novel follows a different phase of Alex’s life as he grows up.
When Alex takes on the role of de facto leader of a gang of violent youths, he must deal with the fallout in a society very different from our own. Anarchy, leadership, and authority all feature prominently in this book, making it an excellent addition to any reading list.
Have you already read it? More books like A Clockwork Orange can be found on our list.
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
I highly recommend The Hunger Games to anyone who enjoys a story about young people stranded together in an impossible situation, and who enjoy the anarchy that ensues.
The Hunger Games tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a 12-year-old girl who is chosen to participate in an annual televised event that pits 24 children between the ages of 12 and 18 in a battle royale. It’s important to note that while William Golding’s novel has a predominantly male protagonist, this one has a female one.
There are many parallels between this novel and Lord of the Flies, which was made into a hugely popular film franchise with Jennifer Lawrence as the star of the film series.
The Hunger Games (and its two sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay) is a great alternative to classics like Lord of the Flies if you’re looking for something new to read.
Check out our list of other books like The Hunger Games and Divergent if you’ve already read this one.
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, is a great read if you’re looking for more works like Lord of the Flies.
After becoming “unstuck in time,” this novel from 1969 follows Billy Pilgrim through his experiences as a POW in World War II, witnessing and surviving the devastating firebombing of Dresden while also being kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore and made an exhibit in one of their zoos (in an out of order fashion).
While Lord of the Flies and Slaughterhouse-Five are unquestionably two different works, they share many of the same themes. Among other things, it examines the impact of childhood exposure to violence and the devastation of World War II on young people (as it is implied in Lord of the Flies that the boys on the island were in the process of being evacuated from the Blitz).
Slaughterhouse-Five is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a classic novel that’s reminiscent of Lord of the Flies.
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, is another excellent dystopia like Lord of the Flies. (Are you looking for more book suggestions? Please take a look at our list of books like Fahrenheit 451!
Similar to other dystopian novels, Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a society where the government heavily restricts access to reading material for the general population (believed to be 1999).
The novel is based on Guy Montag is either a firefighter or someone tasked with the task of incinerat[ing] books. Actually, the full title of the novel is Fahrenheit 451, which refers to the temperature at which a book’s paper catches fire.
After witnessing a woman who would rather die than see her books burned, a suicide attempt by his wife (and subsequent medic ambivalence), and the disappearance of a neighbor who was actively questioning the government, the reader is forced to question the totalitarian regime in which Guy lives throughout the novel.
Fahrenheit 451 is a notable anti-censorship and critique of the modern obsession with mass media, and it is an excellent choice for readers looking for books similar to Lord of the Flies.
If you’ve already read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, take a look at our list of books that are similar.
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
There are many books like Lord of the Flies out there, but Animal Farm by George Orwell is a great place to start if you’re curious about how a seemingly perfect society can quickly devolve into madness.
Allegory of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and the subsequent establishment by Stalin of the Stalinist USSR, Animal Farm was first published in 1945. Farm animals plot to overthrow their human owners and establish a “communal farm” in which “all animals are equal” and they work for the greater good of their society in this novel.
However, the situation quickly deteriorates due to the influence of power dynamics and propaganda on the farm’s animals. Eventually, their once-idealistic collective society will devolve into a dystopian wasteland where only a few animals enjoy relative prosperity while many more suffer as a result.
While Animal Farm may be a good choice for those interested in the Soviet Union’s (under Stalin’s) power dynamics, it’s also a great read if you’re looking for something similar to Lord of the Flies.
Is this your first time reading it? Take a look at our list of additional Animal Farm-like works!