You may have heard of a little movie coming out today about a dystopian America and a most disloyal band of subjects.
Or perhaps you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years?
The Hunger Games has become a worldwide phenomenon. It’s brought untold attention to YA literature, and with good reason. It’s an un-put-downable story with an utterly compelling heroine. Love her or hate her, you won’t quickly forget Katniss Everdeen.
But, after tearing through the books and seeing Mockingjay: Part One this weekend, you might be looking for something else to read.
The good news? YA dystopian was alive and well long before Effie Trinket called out Prim’s name, and have been alive and well since. Here are five YA dystopians for anyone who’s not quite over The Hunger Games.
Five YA Dystopians for Your Hunger Games Hangover
By: Lois Lowry
Full disclosure: I haven’t seen the movie adaptation of The Giver. But from the previews, it looked like a bit of a Hunger Games/Divergent ripoff with a boy and vague hints of Taylor Swift. Perhaps that was just the marketing guys. The truth is, this book couldn’t be more different.
The hero is twelve year old Jonas, a boy who has come of age in a futuristic society. He is chosen as The Receiver. He’ll be tasked with receiving, remembering and experiencing all the painful memories of the human race, memories it’s rejected in order that it might know peace. No war. No hate. No violence or tragedy. But no love, either. They don’t even see in color. Experiencing Jonas experiencing all this, and growing to question the society, its practices and his own family, is the stuff great stories are made of.
By: Scott Westerfield
Imagine a future where, at age sixteen, you underwent surgery that made you tall, thin, and beautiful. You got to live in a spectacular, high tech city with fireworks and parties every night. You got to eat whatever you want and never gain weight. And it’s all ripped from you.
That’s what happens to sixteen year old Tally in this pre-Hunger Games dystopian. She’s an ‘ugly’ who has to find the secret colony of runaways who are avoiding undergoing the surgery, if she wants to undergo it herself. Along the way she hoverboards on broken roller coasters, learns to survive in the wilderness and learns some things about her city that aren’t so pretty. If you’re looking for a fast paced story with a compelling heroine, a dash of romance and a lot of scary parallels to our own society to contemplate on your commute, Uglies delivers, along with two sequels and a companion novel.
By: Veronica Rossi
Under the Never Sky: this was a post-hunger games dystopian with an interesting twist. After radioactive clouds made the surface uninhabitable, the human race retreated into pods, where they live in virtual reality and know no hardship. The other half was left outside, to the harsh wilderness, where they were forced to live under primitive conditions, and developed strange powers from the aether in the sky.
In a classic boy-meets-girl, boy-and-girl-loathe each other setup, Under the Never Sky tells the story of Perry, an outsider, and Aria, a dweller, exiled from her pod home for a crime she didn’t commit, who are forced to work together and undertake a journey, Aria to reunite with her mother in another pod, and Perry to save his nephew, who’s been kidnapped. Love, adventure and great writing abound. The novel is told in alternating chapters from Perry and Aria’s perspectives. There are two sequels and two novellas, completing the saga.
By: Allie Condie
Matched features more of a utopian than a dystopian world. Everything in The Society is perfect. At age seventeen, boys and girls are matched with their ideal mate. If all goes well (as it usually does), they marry at twenty one. When Cassia is matched with her best friend, Xander, she sees this as perfect. He’s handsome, clever and has been her friend all her life. But just for a moment, another face flashes on the screen, instead of Xander’s. It’s another boy she knows, the mysterious, quiet Ky. Cassia will be forced to choose between a life of perfection and a life of passion. For those who wanted more from the love triangle in The Hunger Games along with your action and adventure, Matched is a perfect . . . match. See what I did there? Ignoring my corny pun, this is another great YA dystopian and there are two sequels already complete.
By: Kiera Cass
If the carnage of The Hunger Games left you feeling like you just wanted to curl up and watch light reality TV, you might just love The Selection. Set in a dystopian America called Illea, with strict laws, a monarchy and caste system, The Selection follows America Singer, a girl from a middle caste who is chosen as one of twenty four girls to compete–not to the death–but for the hand of the crown prince Maxon. The problem? America is in love with a boy back home, a boy who has broken her heart, but now wants her back, and has followed her to the castle. Glittering ball gowns, romance and glamour, The Selection is a lighter dystopian that plays on our love of fairy tales and happily ever after. There’s two sequels and a new novel–The Heir–coming out soon.
So there you have it! Five books to read if you loved The Hunger Games and haven’t quite had your fill of YA dystopia yet. There’s many more books the genre has to offer, and something to tide you over until Mockingjay: Part Two.