Posts filed under ‘Book lists’

Love The Hunger Games? Try these!

Although it was published nearly 4 years ago, Suzanne Collins’ young adult dystopian bestseller, The Hunger Games, and its subsequent sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, remain as popular as ever.  Due in part to the release of the cinematic version of The Hunger Games earlier this year, The Hunger Games Trilogy is the hottest series of the year.  What to do if you’re on the waiting list for the books, but they haven’t come in for you yet? What about if you’ve read the books and are looking for the next great action-packed series with similar themes? Never fear, we have compiled a list of read-alikes for Suzanne Collins’ blockbuster series. Enjoy!

P.S…..Don’t forget to check out our Dystopian Reads display this month!

First, Becky recommends….

Books of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau

The Books of Ember are my go-to series to recommend for middle-schoolers or above.  Like The Hunger Games, the Books of Ember (The City of Ember, The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood,  and The Diamond of Darkhold) deal with a dystopian world where residents live underground and have never seen natural light.  If you like fast-paced and compelling science fiction, check out this series suitable for age 11 to adult.

Feed by M.T. Anderson

Imagine your Facebook newsfeed literally wired to your brain, floating inside your line of vision all the time. Teenage Titus lives in a future world where tiny computer chips release feeds of constantly updating news, information and advertising directly into peoples’ brains.  Then Titus meets Violet, an intelligent home-schooled girl without a feed who thinks for herself.  Bitterly brilliant, cutting and right on the money, M.T. Anderson’s Feed is one of those books that almost hits too close to home, predicting a not-too-distant future that seems disturbingly possible.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

L’Engle’s classic sci-fi tale is one of my favorite books of all time.  Meg Murray, a smart but unhappy misfit who feels she doesn’t measure up to her brilliant scientist parents, must travel to a distant world to save her long-lost father.  L’Engle’s characters are unforgettable, and fans of Katniss will appreciate the similarly strong-willed Meg.

More Hunger Games Trilogy Readalikes (compiled from NoveList)

Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

Reason:  Fans of vividly imagined, dystopian future societies, ugly secrets, and high-octane action will be well pleased with either of these hugely popular science-fiction series. — Ellen Foreman, NoveList

Seven Kingdoms trilogy by Kristin Cashore

Reason:  While the Seven Kingdoms trilogy is fantasy and the Hunger Games books are science fiction, readers who love independent heroines, political intrigue, romantic tension, and compelling writing will devour either of these stirring series full of action and adventure. — Ellen Foreman, NoveList

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Reason:  Strong female heroines must literally fight to survive in these gritty, action-packed, and fast-paced dystopian stories, both of which make room for romance and other complicated relationships amid the ratcheting violence and suspense. — Jennifer Stubben Hatch, NoveList

July 24, 2012 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment

California Readin’

Fed up with all the snow storms that kept battering New England earlier in the winter (remember those?), my husband and I were lucky enough to be able to get away for a short trip to California at the end of February.  We explored the California coast for a week, making the trek from LA to San Francisco.  Since I’m a person who loves to have my surroundings match what I’m reading on a trip, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of appropriate reading material in the car. Hence, I compiled a short book list dedicated to the The Golden State:

Los Angeles may make you think of sun and beaches, celebrities and palm trees, but the city has an impressive literary pedigree.  If you’re a true-crime or detective story enthusiast, there are plenty of LA novels to choose from. Classic LA Noir writers such as Raymond Chandler (who set his short story “I’ll Be Waiting” in the Mayfair Hotel, where we stayed) and James Ellroy (whose novel The Black Dahlia fictionalizes a classic unsolved true crime) are usually the first who come to mind.

Two authors who I believe capture the essence of LA spectacularly, two of my favorites, are Janet Fitch and Joan Didion.  If you’re planning a trip to the LA area, bring one (or both) of these two ladies along and you won’t be disappointed.  Janet Fitch’s excellent first novel, White Oleander, tells the story of Astrid, a teenager who comes of age in the foster care system after her mother, Ingrid, is convicted of murder. This was the book I curled up with in the car, at the beach, in the hotel–and it was a re-read! Janet Fitch is one of those writers who absolutely hypnotizes me. She perfectly captures the cool yet heartbreaking ambiance of Los Angeles and its surrounding natural wonders–the San Gabriel mountains, the Santa Ana winds, and the title’s oleander flowers that are beautiful but poisonous like the character of Ingrid.

I had originally tried to read Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays on a trip to Israel.  I started it, but soon put it down, frowning.  Didion’s rich, languid prose is so saturated with a precise Southern Californian mood that it felt wrong to read it anywhere else.  Didion’s heroine, Maria Wyeth, is an actress, divorcee and mother mired in the ennui of living an insincere Los Angeles existence.  This novel has become a classic over the last three decades with good reason – it showcases Didion’s astute, acerbic voice.   (In case you’re interested, the book I should have brought to read in Israel is Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love.)

As we made our way up the Pacific Coast Highway, I moved from LA novels to a writer who is arguably one of the most important figures in American literature — John Steinbeck.  OK, I hadn’t actually brought any Steinbeck novels with me, but as we entered Steinbeck territory I began to appreciate him in a way I hadn’t before.  In Monteray, we explored the setting of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row.  Salinas, California, about two hours south of San Francisco, is the hometown of this literary great, and also the home of a fantastic museum dedicated to all things Steinbeck.  After our visit I promptly added Cannery Row and East of Eden to my reading list, since I had now spent time in the very streets where those books are set.

When we arrived in San Francisco, the last leg of our trip, I cracked open Fault Lines by Anne Rivers Siddons.  Siddons, who usually writes Southern-set fiction, takes a departure here with a story that begins in Georgia, but quickly migrates to California, first LA and then San Francisco, where the bulk of the story is set.  Siddons is a master at portraying complicated female relationships, and this title is no exception.  The plot concerns Merritt Fowler, a “natural caretaker,” her fragile 16-year-old daughter, Glynn, and Merritt’s younger sister Laura, a beautiful, charismatic, semi-washed-up Hollywood actress.   The three set off on a road trip through the earthquake territory surrounding the San Andreas Fault and end up in a secluded mountain lodge staffed by an enigmatic groundskeeper.  While the story did veer off into romance-novel territory in the middle, it was an absorbing and ultimately satisfying read.

Thus concludes my California reading list. And next time, I’ll remember my Steinbeck!

-Becky

May 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm 1 comment


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