I read The Hunger Games series when my second son was an infant and I was up with him late at night. I know you’re supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps, but the story of Katniss Everdeen kept me up way after he fell back asleep!
I confess to feeling a little bereft once I finished the books, because they had it all: a strong heroine whose struggles were relatable; unpredictable plot twists and turns; and a message of hope that even the darkest times can end in a happy ending. Thankfully, there are so many other good series to keep you going long after you leave District 12.
Here are five books for kids who like The Hunger Games:
5 Books for Kids Who Like The Hunger Games
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EON/EONA by Alison Goodman—A 12 year old boy named Eon has been training for years studying Dragons, swordplay, and magic, in the hopes of being chosen as a Dragoneye—an apprentice to one of the twelve dragons of good fortune. He endures abuse, extreme physical and mental exhaustion, and humiliation for a chance at gaining the enormous power of the energy dragon. Girls are absolutely forbidden from the world of Dragoneyes—which is why it’s extremely inconvenient that Eon is actually a 16-year-old girl named Eona who has to hide her true identity through a tale of court intrigue, sword fights, and of course, powerful dragons.
Matched Ally Condie—In the first book of a story of a utopia that is more of a dystopia, government control rules all—controlling how a person eats, how often they exercise, where they work, and even when they die. At age 17, citizens are “matched” with their future life partners—they are partnered with someone with whom they have the best chance of producing healthy children, and after a courtship period, they marry their match. Cassia is matched with a childhood friend, but then learns from a glitch in the system she was initially matched with someone else. The series follows Cassia’s journey as she learns to question the system that is all she has ever known, and fights for her own desires.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner—A boy named Thomas wakes up in an area called the Glade—a large, grassy expanse enclosed by tall stone walls—with no recollection of who he is. He settles into a society of boys who all do basic work to stay alive, with a select group of Maze Runners who go out every day to try to solve the maze outside of the glade which presumably leads to freedom. This continues until the first ever girl arrives in the Glade, with a mysterious note saying she will be the last one to arrive. She also knows Thomas, although he doesn’t remember her. The dwellers of the Glade find themselves in a race against time to escape. This is a great series of books for kids who like The Hunger Games.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater—On one hand, yes, this is a love story involving a boy who turns into a wolf and the girl who falls in love with him. But it’s so much more than just that—Sam’s melancholy struggle with the potential loss of his humanity juxtaposed with Grace finding her own inner strength to become her own person weaves a story that is achingly, hauntingly sad—but at the same time leaves hope for the future.
Ring of Fire (Century Quartet Book 1) by PD Baccalario—This fast-paced mystery starring a quartet of 12 year olds who all share the same birthday—February 29—who are all drawn together in a hotel owned by the father of Elettra, one of the girls. A power outage, a mysterious stranger, and a briefcase of secrets leads Elettra, Harvey, Mistral, and Sheng on a quest through the city of Rome to find the elusive Ring of Fire, and they must outwit assassins and learn who to trust in the process.
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