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Hunger Games read-alikes at your library

Janet Good
Special to the Daily

Four years after the publication of “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, the release of the movie based on the book has pushed the novel from a favorite of teens to a work with widespread adult appeal. More than four months after the movie’s release, “The Hunger Games” and its sequels, “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay,” still require a wait before they can be checked out of the library. While you are eagerly anticipating your name popping up, there are many more fascinating young adult novels out there to try.

Molly Wetta of the Lawrence Public Library in Kansas recently compiled a flowchart of read-alikes for “The Hunger Games.” If you like the dystopian nature of the book, she suggests reading the “Uglies” series by Scott Westerfeld. At 16 years old, teens are given extreme plastic surgery to become “pretty.” Not all 16-year-olds are keen on this transformation, fearing a more insidious plan of control by the government. A rebel underground forms to challenge the ruling class at great peril to themselves.

Another story featuring a young woman like “The Hunger Games” heroine, who matches her abilities against others, is “Graceling” by Kristen Cashore. This debut novel features a female warrior with remarkable combat skills. She is one of very few people in her culture born with extraordinary powers, and she is both revered and feared for them.

“The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness features a society gone wrong on a colonized planet. Upon landing, settlers discover that they now hear the cacophony of everyone’s thoughts all at once, and cannot keep their own thoughts private. Todd flees the settlement, told by his guardians that he must not undergo the transformation to manhood coming on his 13th birthday, but he is not told why. This is only the first in a trilogy that is sure to provide lasting excitement.

Another compelling read is “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, who describes a future society wherein all 16-year-olds must choose one of five societal groups to join, each representing a particular virtue: Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peacefulness) and Erudite (intelligence). Unfortunately not everyone passes initiation, leading to a dire fate.

“The Hunger Games” takes place after an apocalyptic war devastates the United States. This is also the case in “The Diary of Pelly D” by L. J. Adlington. In his job cleaning up the debris left by a horrible war, Toni V finds a diary written by a privileged teenage girl, Pelly D. He should throw it in the trash heap, but he can’t resist reading it. Through the diary the twisted state of pre-war society is revealed.

Classics such as George Orwell’s “1984,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, or “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley provide the same, sometimes disturbing, food for thought as “The Hunger Games.” Find your favorite in book, audio CD, or eBook at your local library.


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