Friends and coworkers who blazed through The Hunger Games and Divergent series (even if they don’t usually read young adult fiction!) sometimes ask me what they should next. I haven’t had a standard answer…until today. This list was inspired by my coworker Liz, who has picked up each book I’ve suggested so far. Thanks Liz! You’re great for my ego. Enjoy these books and series (series are all complete – I wouldn’t torture you like that!).
Top Ten Books I’d Recommend to Fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games
1. The Goblin Wars series by Kersten Hamilton – This dark fantasy trilogy based on Irish myth starts with Tyger Tyger (which I kind of adored). I told Liz about when it was available for free, and she’s already finished book #3. Proven winner!
2. Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness – Oh dear goodness, The Knife of Letting Go! It tore emotion right out of me, but it was so, so good. And scary. Yep, as long as readers push past Todd’s vernacular a bit, they’ll get used to it and catch the amazing rhythm of the story.
3. Benny Imura series by Jonathan Maberry – Rot & Ruin is a different kind of zombie novel – in that it’s not ALL scares. There’s lots of growing up, angst, and beautiful writing mixed in there, too. It’s survival and brothers and a crazy, messed up town. Oh yes, and zombies.
4. Curse Workers series by Holly Black – Black is genius. And she wrote a series of perfect con books… for young adults. With magic, the mob, and everything in between. White Cat rocked it, and Red Glove was pretty amazing too. Just thinking about Cassel and Black’s slick writing makes me want to go back and fall for it all over again.
5. Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore – This series might be too much ‘epic fantasy’ for fans of the dystopian rank and file, except for one thing: Katsa. She’s just as unflinching and unstoppable as Katniss, and Graceling is her story. The following books in the series are companion novels, not direct sequels.
6. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – What if there’s a very dangerous path just on the other side of a door you've never noticed before? What if every step along that path takes you deeper into nothingness? What if you met legends? Gaiman immortalizes London and writes a gripping adventure story all in one go with Neverwhere.
7. Book of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau – Dystopian adventure, mystery and escape abound in The City of Ember. It's the perfect read for Hunger Games fans all ages (but especially those on the younger side of things).
8. Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld – Steampunk reimagining of WWI? Doesn’t sound much like the plot of The Hunger Games or Divergent, I know. However, Westerfeld writes non-stop action with convincing characters and plenty of dangerous missions – and he makes you believe in the unbelievable settings. Leviathan is just the first in a fantastic trilogy – every book is better than the one before!
9. Abhorsen series by Garth Nix – Sabriel was the start of a harrowing journey through the Old Country and Death to put things back to rights. The series continued from there with Lirael’s generation. Nix has written a fate-of-the-world-on-her-shoulders story believably. All of the books kind of melt my brain with their awesomesauce.
10. Unwind by Neal Shusterman – Okay, I lied about all of the series I mentioned being completed. But really, if you’re brave enough to keep reading after this one, props to you and your heart could probably use an adrenaline break before you try to find the second, third and fourth title (it’s up to 4 books now?!). Shusterman wrote a truly terrifying future that creeped me out more than The Hunger Games.
Do you have any suggestions for the list? Let me know!