I really really liked Patrick Ness’ YA novel More Than This. The protagonist, Seth, wakes up in a world empty of people and figures it’s hell. He figures that because the last thing he remembers doing was killing himself. The first part of the book is about him exploring the empty world, which is surprisingly like the town he grew up in in England, and having these incredibly vivid dreams about his life back in Washington leading up to his drowning.
Then things change.
The book is so good at working with the reader’s and with Seth’s expectations of what this story should be like. There are many shades of the ideas behind the Matrix floating around in here, which is great because Seth’s conscious of the kind of world he’s in, and is critical of it, even while he’s flashing back to these (mostly) awful memories of life before. The whole “this isn’t right” aspect of the novel just builds and builds until you really don’t know what will/could happen next. I guess I’m saying it uses its science fictional elements perfectly to create a story about what it’s like being a human.