I don’t know about you, but after I read The Hunger Games when I was 12 years old, I felt like I couldn’t pick up another book ever again (I was a little bit dramatic, to say the least). I recovered eventually and was able to read more books that expanded the dystopian-science fiction-starcrossed lovers genre, but there are still times today where I long to get lost in books like The Hunger Games that recreate the feelings I had when I first read about the girl on fire. If you’re in a similar boat, look no further. Below you’ll find a list of books that scratch all the same itches The Hunger Games does. Dystopian worlds unsettlingly similar to our own, fantasy realms beyond our wildest imaginations, badass heroines, and so much more are just waiting to be added to your personal library.
The Bone Season
In the year 2059, Paige Mahoney is a 19-year-old clairvoyant living in the criminal underworld of Scion London. When she is kidnapped and taken to the secret city of Oxford, she is imprisoned and her life changes forever. Fans of The Hunger Games will be frantically turning the pages as Paige emerges as the unlikely hero of her people.
The Last She
After surviving a worldwide plague that wiped out almost all of humanity, Ara is the last female in the world. She comes across a group of survivors who take her captive for her own “safety,” which puts a dent in the plan her father set for her to end the plague. A whirlwind of romance and dystopia, this one is hard to put down.
The One: A Novel
On the romantic-thrilling side, this novel takes place in a society that matches people with their “perfect soulmate" based on DNA tests and a quick mouth swab. But what happens when your soulmate wasn’t all you thought they'd be? Exploring secrets and the dark side of “perfect,” you won’t be able to put this psychological thriller down.
House of Earth and Blood
Set in a contemporary fantasy wolrd, Bryce Quinlan wants justice for the murders of her best friends. Teaming up with Hunt Athalar, who is a Fallen angel, they search deep within Crescent City for a power that could threaten their entire existence. Sarah J. Maas has done it again with romance, thrill, and mystery.
She Who Became the Sun
Taking place in 1345 China under Mongol rule, this story follows two siblings who find their way toward different fates. When the beloved son dies, the daughter takes over his identity in order to survive. A story of fate and second chances, this novel is a striking fantasy of war, love, and identity.
You know how we all read those dystopian novels when we were younger and wondered, “So all these teens just saved the world and lived happily ever after?” This novel explores the “after.” Set 10 years after a group of five teens defeated a dark enemy, this story follows them as they deal with the aftermath and discover that maybe the enemy never really left.
Hitting a little close to home right now, Station Eleven is one to immediately add to your TBR. Based in a world 20 years after a pandemic collapsed society, Kirsten Raymonde is a part of a troupe that vows to keep the spirit of the arts alive, essentially, at the end of the world. When the troupe encounters a strange prophet, their entire existence is put in jeopardy. Come for the promising premise and stay for the strange twist that will leave you speechless.
The School for Good Mothers: A Novel
Frida Liu is a struggling mother who turns to her daughter Harriet for comfort within her imperfect life. With a husband who pays too much attention to his mistress and Chinese immigrant parents who don’t deem her worthy enough, Frida finds great solace in Harriet—that is, until her surveillance-state government threatens to take Harriet away after one particular bad day. The School for Good Mothers is a page-turner that blends dystopian drama and the trials of parenthood in a way we never thought possible.
Klara and the Sun
Here is the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her.
After you finish Klara and the Sun (probably in a single sitting—it's that good) you'll be left questioning humanity, existence, and what it truly means to love.
The Girl with All the Gifts
A thriller like no other, this novel revolves around Melanie, who lives in a cell and is followed at gunpoint every day as she is escorted to school. Without giving anything away, it’s got everything you love about dystopian fiction wrapped in one.
In a world where human cloning exists and society is divided by the ethics and nature of it, Constance “Con” D’Arcy is gifted a clone of herself. But when something goes wrong and her original self dies, she starts a new life as her clone, with no memory of how she got there. A captivating mystery with twists, turns, and thrills, this is one you won't be able to put down until you know how it ends.
Barry Sutton and Helena Smith band together to battle “False Memory Syndrome,” which has infected the population with memories of events that never happened. But when Barry and Helena are faced with another, more terrifying enemy—one that alters reality itself—they realize they're the only ones who can put a stop to it.
The Midnight Library
Somewhere at the edge of the universe, between our world and the next, is The Midnight Library. Each book is a life you could have lived, had you only made a different choice. When Nora Seed is given the opportunity to choose a different life, she embarks on a journey through all the lives she could have lived. Which one will she choose?
Taking place in Lagos, this story follows Obinna and Eze, two former friends who have reunited and live completely different lives. Eze’s visit disrupts Obinna’s orderly routine and puts other aspects of his life at risk in their world where men are constantly under surveillance. If it was up to me, I’d say that anything by Ngozi Adichie is an instant classic.
The Invisible Library
Irene is a spy for the Invisible Library and is sent to “alternative London,” a land where chaos and magic thrive alongside supernatural creatures, to retrieve a dangerous book. Irene and her assistant find the book to be stolen, leading to an adventure full of danger and mystery.
When the British government starts clamping down on the freedom of the people, pregnant women begin to go missing, and the country ends up in severe turmoil. Emma, a midwife, finds herself and her 17-year-old daughter in trouble. This female-led psychological thriller will have you turning page after page.
Jazz Bashara lives on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon. She’s a bit of a troublemaker; some may call her a criminal. When she finds herself with the opportunity to commit the perfect crime, she ends up tangled in an operation that aims to take control of all of Artemis. A heist story set on the moon? We're all in.