If You’re Going Through Hunger Games Withdrawals
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Scifi/dystopian set in a world where men can hear each other’s thoughts, called their “noise.” A trilogy with deep societal issues that echo the Hunger Games’ themes of inequality and power. The characters are younger, so while there is a romance, there’s very little kissing and definitely no fake proposals.
Divergent by Victoria Roth
I’m sure you’ve heard of this one if you’ve already looked into books similar to The Hunger Games. Set in a futuristic Chicago in a society that has been divided into four factions. Features a protagonist just as badass and multi-dimensional as Katniss and plenty of romance. First two books in the trilogy have been published, third is forthcoming.
Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden
Set in an Australia that’s been invaded by foreigners, seven teenagers became guerilla fighters trying to stay alive in a country no longer their own. Deals with a lot of survival-of-the-fittest issues similar to the Hunger Games. A seven book series that’s already finished — no waiting for the next release!
If You Want Action and Romance AND Beautiful Prose
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
This is at the top of my to-do list right now. I read the sample online, and it has some wonderful writing. The premise is set in a dystopian world and based around a girl whose touch is lethal. Sounds amazing, and the author has some very funny videos online.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Another dystopian book, this time set in a world where love is considered a disease. Lauren Oliver weaves her words together like poetry while telling us Lena’s story as she’s infected with love. Beautiful writing, and the last book in the trilogy will be released next month.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
This book appeals to young adult and adults alike. A story set in Prague about star-crossed lovers, the book follows Karou, the unique girl with blue hair and a strange family, as she meets Akiva, a man some would call an angel. Beautiful, poetic writing with an intriguing story.
If You Want a Unique Fantasy World
Smokeless Fire by Samantha Young
This YA Paranormal centers around Djinn, gods who inspired the legends of genies, and Ari, who finds out she’s much more than she thought she was. Young’s Warriors of Ankh and The Fade series are also very unique. This is a self-published book available primarily in ebook (print is available, but not widespread distribution: better bought online).
Becoming by Raine Thomas
Amber has no idea what she is or what causes her to explode every three years, but in this story, she finally finds answers for the strange things that have happened in her life. A great romance tied up with strong world building and an exciting story. Also a self-published book that probably won’t be in your Barnes & Noble.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Set in a medieval world where certain people have different graces (powers). Katsa has the Grace of killing, and she’s worked as an assassin for her uncle for years. Things change when she meets Po and investigates a mysterious kidnapping. Fire and Bitterblue are also set in the same world, though they focus on different protagonists.
If You Don’t Mind Crying Your Eyes Out
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A powerful story about young love and the fleetingness of life. The book follows Hazel, a young teenage girl with cancer, who meets Augustus Waters, a boy her age who also has cancer. They bond over books and video games and slowly fall in love and learn what it means to love and live and. . .I know this is a cheesy description, but it’s so good.
If You Need to Understand the Female Species’ Obsession with Mr. Darcy
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (duh)
Okay, I know it’s not young adult, really. But I just needed to add it to the list since a lot of teens read this. It’s been a classic for generations among everyone, mostly females — if you have any book nerd friends, they’ll definitely be Darcy fangirls. Just read it.
If You are Anyone with Breath in their Lungs
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is a book I cannot praise enough. Set in Nazi Germany during World War II, this story is narrated by Death and follows young Liesel as she learns about the power of words, friendship, and family. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and I think everyone should read it. Don’t disappoint me.
What are your recommendations? Young adult or no, what books should we be reading, in your opinion?