18 Thrilling Books Like THE HUNGER GAMES

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Abby Hargreaves

Staff Writer

Abby Hargreaves is a New Hampshire native living and working as a Children’s Librarian in Washington, D.C. She fulfills the gamut of the librarian stereotype with a love of cats, coffee, and crocheting (and likes a good run of alliteration). Her MLIS degree enjoys the company of a BA in English from Hollins University, making Abby an advocate of women's universities. Her favorite color is yellow.

With a new Suzanne Collins book exploring Panem before Katniss set to hit the market in May, you might have a fresh appetite for books like The Hunger Games and its sequels (pun absolutely intended). Whether you enjoyed the dystopian setting, the reality television spin, the average-girl-takes-on-the-government plot, or the survival aspect of the series, there are lots of young adult books like The Hunger Games out there for you to enjoy.

18 Thrilling Books Like The Hunger Games

#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil

Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeilThe latest iteration of America takes reality television to a new level when convicted felons spend their final days on Alcatraz 2.0, trying to survive their inevitable execution. With a host of costumed characters gleefully slaughtering their way across the island, Dee is certain she’s not leaving alive as one of the latest prisoners, even though she knows she’s innocent. When she teams up with a group that calls themselves the Death Row Breakfast Club, she must do all she can to avoid the murderous executioners and find a way to prove her innocence. Meanwhile, the comments of the show’s audience haunt and torture the convicts—but if Dee can look at them closely, she might find the key to her survival.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies by Scott WesterfeldIt’s not just the usual allure of turning 16 that has Tally excited for her next birthday. Once she turns 16, a whole new world will open up for her, starting with a cosmetic surgery that will take her from being an ugly to being a pretty. Once that’s done, she’ll have access to a lavish lifestyle with a glamorous job and even more amazing friends. Life will be bubbly! Except, before she can get the operation, Tally meets Shay, who is anti-surgery and believes in a better life where the destination isn’t up to those in power, but to the people who are living those lives. When the authorities find out Tally has a connection with Shay, they give her an ultimatum: bring Tally to them or give up the dream of ever being a pretty.

Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon

Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla MagoonFor readers looking for books like The Hunger Games on the younger side, try this one. On a mission to find her parents after her home is taken over by the terrible Ignomus Crown, Robyn teams up with a group of misfit outlaws. Each with their own skill, they work together to oppose Ignomus Crown. But the more Robyn falls into this world of trouble, the more she begins to understand her place in Nott City and how its evolution will unfold. With influence from the classic Robin Hood story, Shadows of Sherwood makes for an exciting and adventurous coming-of-age story demonstrating how anyone can stand up to an authority in the wrong.

Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson

Flicker and Mist by Mary G ThompsonAs part-Flickerkin, Myra keeps half herself hidden under the thread of death from the Plats who don’t trust those who can go invisible at will. But when things seem off in her city and it seems those going invisible are to blame, Myra finds her world falling apart despite her efforts. As the two camps come up against each other, it becomes clearer by the day that one must triumph over the other, leaving Myra with a battle within herself as well as on the streets. With her first love in the balance and the future of her city at stake, Myra must determine if going invisible is the best way to be seen.

Gone by Michael Grant

Gone by Michael GrantIt happens before anyone even realizes it—everyone is simply gone. Everyone except people under age 15. Those who are left in what comes to be called the Fallout Alley Youth Zone or, the FAYZ, are left to fend for themselves. With no adults to produce and provide basic necessities, the kids and teens form opposing camps and come up against each other for basic survival. And then there are the powers that have appeared in some of the remaining kids—powers that only get stronger and stronger. As natural leaders arise from the groups, everyone else must pick a side and weigh the intentions of their leaders against the likelihood that their leaders will get them through this—if there is an end—alive.

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth PfefferA catastrophic event in the reaches of the space beyond Earth’s atmosphere changes life as everyone knows it in this first book in the Last Survivors series. After a meteor crashes into the moon and brings it closer to Earth, everything is thrown into chaos. Natural disasters of epic proportions rock communities big and small, leaving many to fight for their own survival. Miranda occupies herself with recording her new existence in her journal, relying on what little she, her two brothers, and her mother can bring into their sunroom to sustain themselves as they approach summer, which has become a deadly Arctic winter. With limited supplies, Miranda and her family must cling to each other and their belief that they will see the end of these harrowing days.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh MafiTouched with a power that makes her own touch fatal, Juliette has been thrown in prison to prevent another murder at her hands. On the other side, the Reestablishment hasn’t done enough to keep the population alive. While the environment is ravaged, Juliette has an opportunity to get out, but to do so, she will have to become the Reestablishment’s ally. Now, she must decide if her freedom is worth betraying what she believes in and those she loves most as she fights for her survival.

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks

The Bunker Diary by Kevin BrooksLinus hardly expects to be kidnapped and left in a bare bunker after he helps a seemingly blind man on the street, but as the days pass, this appears to be his new reality. Soon, he’s joined by others who are just as puzzled as to why they’ve been captured and imprisoned. When the group is left with just themselves and little contact from their imprisoner, they consider among themselves the purpose for their capture. Bonds form between some and forces of desperation pushes them each to the edge in their own way as they try to determine a way out, but before long, it’s clear not everyone will see daylight again.

The Declaration by Gemma Malley

The Declaration by Gemma MalleyIn a world where near-immortality is a reality thanks to scientific intervention, those in charge have imposed a law that makes youth illegal. The attempt at population control outlaws anyone who signs the Declaration and agrees not to have children in exchange for a lengthy life. Anyone born under these circumstances are Surplus, like Anna, who must now decide whether to follow the law and die or to be constantly on the run but keep her life. With her parents in prison, Anna has few people to rely on and the authorities are closing in.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky by Veronica RossiProtected from an apocalyptic wasteland in a dome called Reverie, Aria has no reason to leave the safest place she’s known until her mother disappears. Stuck on finding her mother, Aria disembarks on a journey that could cost her her life. Before long, she meets Perry, who as an outsider, has never lived anywhere but the wasteland. He knows his way around and how to survive, so Aria decides to team up with him to increase her chances. The terrain is still unforgiving, however, and it will take more than an alliance to endure the journey.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal ShustermanAfter the second Civil War, new standards were drafted to determine and define life. Now, between the ages of 13 and 18, individuals can be “unwound”—that is, involuntarily harvested for their body parts and organs. After all, since a piece of them continues to live on, they aren’t actually being killed. When three teens find themselves facing the reality of being unwound for various reasons, they join together to try and escape with their lives and bodies intact. Unable to rely on the adults who are supposed to care for them but instead bring them to slaughter, Connor, Risa, and Lev start a runaway scheme that could save their lives if they get it right.

Legend by Marie Lu

Legend by Marie LuIn a redistricted United States, June is well on her way to becoming part of the Republic’s elite military. Not only is she a natural, but she’s also been pushed by authority to accept the righteousness of the Republic. Then there’s Day, who at the same age is listed as the most wanted criminal in the country. After June’s brother is murdered and Day is thought to be guilty of it, June starts in on the business of hunting Day down for revenge. But when the two finally come into each other’s reach, they learn a government secret that will blow apart everything they thought they knew about each other and the world they live in.

Starters by Lissa Price

Starters by Lissa PriceAfter a biological act of war kills everyone between the ages of 20 and 60, Callie is desperate to find a way to support her younger brother, especially since the Spore took her parents. When an opportunity comes from the hair-raising and suspicious company known as Prime Destinations run by someone known only as the Old Man, Callie can’t turn it down. Soon, she’s renting out her body to a wealthy older woman. It’s almost worth the money, except the procedure went wrong and now Callie is experiencing everything her the guest of her body is. Parties and nights out with a senator’s grandson is all fun and games until Callie is suddenly in for much more than she bargained for and the intentions of Prime Destinations become less murky.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles by Dhonielle ClaytonWith the coveted power to make others beautiful in a world where beauty doesn’t come naturally, Camellia is known as a Belle. While this alone makes her special, there’s more to want—to be a selected by the Queen of Orléans as a favorite. When this becomes a reality for Camellia, her old reality becomes blown apart: suddenly, her understanding of her powers is much deeper, and the powers themselves are much darker than she could have imagined. Now tasked with helping the princess, Camellia must determine whether it’s worth tainting all she knows.

S. T. A. G. S. by M. A. Bennett

STAGS by MA BennettInvited by the elite of the elite at her new school for a weekend of huntin’, shootin’, and fishin’, Greer can’t pass up the opportunity to potentially change her frustratingly low status. When she arrives on Henry de Warlencourt’s family’s estate, Greer quickly learns this is not a simple weekend of recreation. The invitation never specified what the group would be huntin’, shootin’, and fishin’, after all—and it turns out, it’s the invitees. Now, Greer must survive the weekend with just her wits as she figures out the strategy behind Henry and his friends’ sick game. As far as books like The Hunger Games go, consider this to be if the dystopian novel took place in modern-day England where the government is the main character’s peers.

The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay

The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKayThe popular game Killer has made its way into Cate’s boarding school, where a secret society among students has made the game of strategy and stealth a favorite pastime. But as those involved become more deeply entrenched in the game, it starts to seem less like a game and more like something all too real. Soon, the school is working to shut it all down, but Cate isn’t ready to let it go so easily, especially after finally being accepted into the ranks who play. Now with an enemy of the school administration, Cate is hanging on as tightly as she can—but the prize to be won may be one that could cost her life.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin KwaymullinaWith her tribe under the most serious threat from Chief Administrator Neville Rose, Ashala has little choice but to submit to her thoughts being read. And betrayed by the one she thought she could trust, Ashala can only pull herself together in an attempt to oppose Rose. Meanwhile, her people are hiding out, away from the dystopia that, when Ashala can free herself, she is determined to destroy. But she’ll need her tribe, and first, they will have to make it through her interrogation. The beginning of a series of books like The Hunger Games, The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf brings Aboriginal tradition to a dystopian landscape.

Tracked by Jenny Martin

Tracked by Jenny MartinPhoebe hardly knows anything but racing. She’s left with no choice but to race for the one company she hates alongside her best friend, Bear. With a new team to race with, Phee meets and falls for Cash, threatening her friendship with Bear. And distracting her from the motives of Benroyal Corp. Soon, she realizes her racing is part of a bigger scheme and it’s up to her to get to the bottom of it.

Want more YA goodness? Check out our Young Adult Literature archives. Plus, find more books like The Hunger Games and other Hunger Games content here.