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Books like The Hunger Games
What to read when you have finished The Hunger Games trilogy
You devoured The Hunger Games. Now, what's next? You want more of the same - what books will you enjoy as much? I know how you feel because that is how I felt when I finished reading the series. So I did some research and started reading books others suggested. Here is my list of books similar to The Hunger Games trilogy. All the books fall into the genre of dystopian literature. The majority can be classified as science fiction and most of them are designated as teen books. However, if you don't usually like science fiction, or you aren't a teen - I still think you will find books in this list you will enjoy.
I have reviewed each book and tried to explain in which ways the book is similar, and also how much I liked it - and why. I hope this is useful to others as you try to select more books like The Hunger Games to read.
Image courtesy of http://librarypresentations.wikispaces.com/
Lord of the Flies
I must admit, I read this in high school and hated it. However, my son has just read it - also for school - and he LOVED it. It is similar to The Hunger Games in that children and teens are trying to survive. In this case they choose to see others as 'enemies' - it is not forced upon them as in The Hunger Games.
It is a classic, and it is thought-provoking. You are likely to either dislike it as I did - or love it like my son did. Maybe it appeals more to guys. I would love to hear your comments in the Guest book at the end of this page.
The Running Man
Like The Hunger Games this book centers on a game devised by the authorities. The contestants are pawns in the game, manipulated to produce exciting entertainment for the viewers. And like Katniss, Ben Richards, the 'running man' of the title, decides he will not play the role laid out for him.
This book is a gripping read and I would heartily recommend it but for the bad language. There is, unfortunately, a lot of it. So, please take that into account in deciding whether to read it or not.
Ender Wiggins and other children are selected from a young age to be taken from their parents and specially trained to save their planet from an invasion but the alien 'buggers'. This book is similar to The Hunger Games in that children are once again the heroes and must play roles that the average child is not called on to bear.
Even non sci-fi lovers will enjoy reading this book as the focus is not so much on the technology of the future, but rather on the emotions of Ender Wiggins. He has to make decisions that mature adults would find hard and he constantly struggles to know what is the right thing to do.
If you enjoy this - please note that there is an entire series of Ender's Game books to provide you with many happy reading hours.
Although this book is only similar to The Hunger Games in that teens are the protagonists, I was gripped by the characters and the storyline in the same way I was by The Hunger Games. In this book, everyone over 15 suddenly disappears, and the 'world' becomes a 20 mile circle or sphere around a nuclear power plant. Those left behind have to figure out how to live together and to look after each other - and how to survive against those who are power hungry.
The teens in this story are very representative of teens one would expect to find in the average school: there is the girl who suffers from bulimia, numerous bullies, a computer geek, the jocks, the immigrant, the nondescript and many others. It is not hard to 'see' them as real people - even though some have strange powers.
This was my favorite book of all the books on this page, but as I continued reading through the series it got darker and darker. This series is not for the fainthearted. I have continued reading it as I want to find out the final outcome, but it is both extremely intense and depressing the further in one gets. And gory. Very gory.
Don't start this book unless you have plenty of time on your hands! I struggled to put it down once I had started it and read late into the night, and when I should have been doing other things till I finished it.
The Maze Runner
This is a difficult book to describe as practically anything I share with you will give some of the story away. At the beginning you don't know what's going on and nor does the protagonist, Thomas. What I can tell you is the main characters are all children and teens - and they face a situation they don't understand must come to grips with and 'solve'. A giant maze is at the heart of the problem.
I found myself contrasting this book to both Lord of the Flies and Ender's Game. I found it particularly interesting to see how a group of boys left to themselves operate differently in this world to those boys marooned on the island in Lord of the Flies.
At the age of 16, each person must choose to either remain in the faction they were born in - or choose one of the other 4 factions. This choice will define the rest of your life. Beatrice Prior makes the hardest choice of her life - and finds herself undergoing a gruelling initiation. Soon she starts questioning the world she has always taken for granted - and this puts her life in danger.
This is fast-paced and action-packed similar to The Hunger Games. There is also a love story woven throughout. I felt that sometimes there was too much emphasis on the love story and especially on its physical aspects. But it does make another gripping read and you will want to continue through the whole series.
Gaia Stone lives in a world where the privileged live inside the walls of the Enclave - while she lives in poverty outside. At 16 she becomes a midwife like her mother and has to handover a quota of the babies she delivers to be brought up inside the Enclave. Gaia accepts her world - until her parents are suddenly arrested and she has no idea why. Gaia is determined to find her way into the Enclave after them and rescue them.
Gaia is another strong feminine protagonist who refuses to accept the rules of her society. She follows her conscience and is prepared to put herself in danger to do what is right. This will probably appeal more to girls than boys, though there are boys who play a prominent role in the story. Another great read. I will be reading the rest of the series.
These books can also be found in eBook format.
Cassia is excited to turn 16 and attend her Matching Banquet when she will discover who The Society has picked out as her perfect mate. But she is thrown into confusion, when a second face momentarily appears on her screen. This is the beginning of her questioning all the choices The Society makes for her - as it does for everyone. And soon Cassia realizes she can't carry on living as they want her to.
I read well into the night to finish this and also enjoyed the second book in the series (Crossed). This book gets the reader to think about the concept of free-will. The Society has created a peaceful place for people to live, where they live needing nothing - but is it worth giving up ones freedom for that?
Like in The Hunger Games, the main characters are teens, though they do live in a world where adults are also present. Children are born 'ugly' and then at a certain age undergo an operation that transforms them into "pretties" and allows them to move into Pretty Town. Like Katniss, Tally Youngblood does not toe the line and comply with what the authorities have planned for her.
I read all 4 books in this series in quick succession. I didn't find them as gripping as The Hunger Games but they were still a good read and raised some thought-provoking questions.
Shades of Grey - *not to be confused with '50 Shades of Grey'*
Jasper Fforde has imagined a world where society is classified by color. You can only see one color and the rest of your world is just 'shades of grey'. The color you 'are' determines your rank in society. No one can move up or down the social ladder. And for the most part, people in this world are content to live like this, with their lives dictated to by the bureaucracy. They have forgotten there was a time when people could see colors and have choices they no longer have.
This book does not have teen protagonists and is not full of action like the Hunger Games, but it is clever, and often funny and I loved it and will defnitely re-read it.
Chromatacia is dystopian world like none other you may have read about. As with much good dystopian literature, the world the protagonist, Eddie Russet, a 'Red', lives in is not what he thinks it is. All his plans for a secure and comfortable future are thrown into disarray when he meets a 'grey' called Jane.
The earliest novel that is classified as "dystopian" is Jack London's The Iron Heel which was published in 1908. Interestingly, although the author was a man, the protagonist is a female!
Inside Out - by Maria V. Snyder
Inside Out's protagonist, Trella, is also a teen girl, like Katniss. She lives in an enclosed 'world' (read the book to figure out what that means) that is divided between the scrubs who live in crowded conditions with little free time in the Lower Levels and the Uppers who enjoy the privileges of the Upper Levels. The scrubs are policed by the Pop Cops and most do what they are told. But some question and want to rebel.
As the book unfolds, so does Trella's understanding of what is really going on. And she finds herself involved in dangerous activities.
Please note: there are many books with the same title - make sure you are getting the one I reviewed :)
This is a great read, and I did carry on to read the next book,Outside In, and look forward to finishing the series. It does have more love interest in it than many boys may care for, and I think it went into more detail of the physical relationships than was necessary (I think this was more in the second book.)
Jonas, the eleven year-old protagonist, is born into a Utopian society devoid of any character. The bad parts of life have been removed, but so have the good parts. There is no suffering, hurt, or pain, but there is also no joy, love, or emotion. Jonas is given the job of Receiver of Memories, a highly revered position in which the Receiver holds all of the old memories, both good and bad,. With these new memories, Jonas takes on an entirely new perspective of life and the community he lives in. With this knowledge he tries to share it with his loved ones, but he encounters many problems along the way.
This is a poignant book analyzing what society might be one day. The resolution and ending is slightly disappointing, but it was still a good book. There isn't any romance, but there are still two great human relationships which make the book compelling. Overall, it is a good read and is worth the time.
Legend - Marie Lu
Like The Hunger Games, Legend is set in a United States of the future, but this time, just in the western United States. The protagonists, June and Day, are both 15 - but come from very different backgrounds. June is from an elite family while Day is one of the republic's most wanted criminals. Then they are thrown together when June's brother is murdered - and Day becomes the prime suspect.
Although I didn't enjoy this as much as The Hunger Games the characters are believable and the plot is gripping though perhaps more predictable than some of the other books reviewed on this page. I read it fast and will definitely carry on and read the sequels. Although there is a love story practically from the moment June and Day meet, there is plenty of action to keep guys interested. June is a strong female heroine, very reminiscent of Katniss.
Girl in the Arena
Once again, as you can tell from the title, the book centers on a teenage girl. Lyn comes from a family of modern gladiators who battle to the death on reality television. Lyn wants to escape the life her mother has lived - watching husband after husband die ... but after her seventh 'father' dies, she finds herself unwittingly tied to that lifestyle - and her only way out is to go in and fight herself.
This book was OK, but it didn't have the pace or depth of The Hunger Games.
I am Number Four
The premise of this novel is that 9 children have been saved from another world (Lorien) and are now living on earth in an effort to preserve their nation so that one day their planet which was destroyed by the evil Mogadorians can be repopulated. The children have been split up and the Mogadorians - who are hunting them - can only kill them in numerical order. Number 4 is next.
Somehow this book just didn't grab me. I did not find myself transported into another time and place - I always felt like I was reading a book. It seemed contrived - and the love story which was introduced really could have been left out. It did not add to the storyline as Katniss's romantic involvement with Peeta and Gale does.
I know there is a movie of this book, but one of the librarian's at our local library assured me it was not worth watching.