Sunday, April 29, 2012

What to Read After The Hunger Games

Good vs. evil, an emerging hero, nonstop action, mysterious circumstances, dark surroundings - these are all the qualities of a great novel.  They also happen to be the qualities in the new dystopian novels that are gaining in popularity since The Hunger Games.

Great plots and strong characters are the basis for these books, but it's the idea of a world that is different and worse than our own that is so compelling.  And let's be honest, it's a nice break from the vampire books!

Title:          The Maze Runner
Author:      James Dashner
Target:       Grades 6-10
Series:        This is the first book in a trilogy
What this book is about:
Thomas wakes up in an elevator, his memories gone.  When the doors to the elevator open, he is surrounded by a group of boys, a farm like setting and stone walls.  The stone walls are closed every night to keep out evil creatures that inhabit the darkness and opened during the day to expose an elaborate maze.  The boys are convinced that this maze holds the key to their way home.
What I love about this book:
The premise is riveting.  Why are they here? Can they figure out the maze, and if they do, will it save them?  There is plenty of action and lots of cliffhangers.  I didn’t love the main character, Thomas, but many of the supporting characters were well done and I was invested in the outcome!  While this book does have a conclusion of sorts, it also sets the reader up for the next book by creating new doubt.
Who this book is for:
Kids who like the unknown and imagining different worlds.  This book has a little science fiction bent as well.  There are some more graphic death scenes, so be forewarned if that is an issue!
Final thoughts:
The mystery will suck you in.  Be prepared to read all three books in this series.

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here for a link to Amazon: The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1).  A portion of your purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:          Legend

Author:      Marie Lu

Target:       Grades 7 and up

Series:        First book in a planned trilogy

What this book is about:
The US has been fractured by an apocalyptic event and divided into two warring factions, the Republic and the Colonies.  In the midst of this, a young man, Day, has been evading the Republic and causing trouble for their troops.  When it is believed he killed a Republic officer, the officer's sister, June, hunts Day down for revenge.  However, the more she learns about Day and the actions of the Republic, the more she questions what she has been brought up believing.

Why I love this book:
This book is told in the alternating voices of Day and June and is a thrill ride the whole way.  There is action, deceit, romance, daring physical challenges and a really bad guy.  You get thrown into the action from the first page and have to work to fill in the blanks.  The characters are well developed and it was enlightening reading the story form each of their perspectives.  There are a few things left hanging but I assume that is because this is a planned trilogy.  Just a fun read with great characters and the required government cover ups!

Who this book is for:
Boys or girls will enjoy it, and it is a fairly quick read at 300 pages.

Final thoughts:
I am very much looking forward to the second book!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here for a link the Amazons: Legend A portion of your purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:          The City of Ember

Author:      Jeanne DuPrau

Target:       Grades 4-8

Series:        This is the first book in a series

What this story is about:
After an undescribed apocalyptic event on earth, the Builders create an underground world where a group of humans go to live until they feel it is safe to return to the surface.  The catch in this book is that the humans don’t realize they are living underground, they simply think this is life as they know it.  The safeguard to release them from this underground world 200 years from its inception was lost long ago, and no one even remembers it exists.  Our two main characters, Lina and Doon find the now almost indecipherable lost instructions, and they must grapple with the fact that there may be another way of life.

Why I love this book:
The premise of this story is just fabulous.  I love the idea of generations of people living underground for so long they have no concept of the sun, and they make up legends and tales about the dark that surrounds them.  I also enjoyed that this was an exciting adventure.  As Lina and Doon hunt for the truth, there are others who are happy to keep things as they are, which leads to an exciting climax as they try and save their people.  They also wrestle with their own hopes, fears and leadership.

What is interesting in this book is that the citizens of Ember behave in the same way that any group of people will behave.  There are some that like the status quo, others who are looking to be saved, some who hoard and take advantage of the situation and a few that stand up and lead.

Who this book is for:
Great for kids interested in dystopian literature or who love the idea of that our world may not be as it appears.

Final thoughts:
This one ends on a cliffhanger so be prepared to read the second book!

To purchase this book, visit you local bookstore or click here for a link to Amazon: The City of Ember (Books of Ember).  A portion of your purchase goes to support this blog.


  1. I Am Alive by Cameron Jace and divergent by Veronica Roth are super dooper too

    1. I love Divergent and will be blogging on that in the upcoming weeks!! I Am Alive is a new title for me. I can't wait to check it out! Thanks.