Sci-fi enthusiasts who were thrilled by Suzanne Collins’ writing will be happy to learn there are many other books like The Hunger Games. After its debut in 2008, The Hunger Games captivated readers both young and old with the story of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. The book transported audiences into the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, where The Capitol holds an annual battle called The Hunger Games. The trilogy continued charming readers with its death-defying quests in Catching Fire and Mockingjay. By 2014, The Hunger Games had sold both more than 65 million copies in the United States.
Popularity only grew as the books were brought to the theater by film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. Now that the final Mockingjay – Part 2 is released for DVD, fans are left craving more adventure. Luckily, the young adult fiction market is filled with dramatic books like The Hunger Games. Many dystopian novels also depict a future world where courageous characters fight to overcome oppressive regimes. Books like The Hunger Games all share the common themes of power, competition, sacrifice, and love. So whenever you’re looking for a page-turner, pick up one of the following top 50 books like The Hunger Games.
#1 – Birthmarked
Caragh M. O’Brien
Birthmarked is a young adult trilogy sharing the story of 16-year-old Gaia Stone who lives in a dystopian, post-climate change world baked by the sun. Gaia and her mother are midwives responsible for handing over three newborns per month to the Enclave, an elite walled society. When Gaia’s parents are suddenly arrested without cause, she valiantly pledges to rescue her parents from the Enclave or die trying.
#2 – Gone
As the first in a six-part series, Gone takes place in a fictional Southern Californian town called Perdido Beach that’s surrounded by an impenetrable energy barrier. Every teenager reaching age 15 disappears from the town. Best friends Sam Temple, Astrid Ellison, and Quinn Gaither set out to solve the mystery. Instead they encounter a malicious creature known as “The Darkness” and are imprisoned in Coates Academy.
#3 – Scored
Like many books like The Hunger Games, Scored shows a dystopian near-future world where a totalitarian regime is oppressing humanity. Surveillance cameras monitor teenagers’ every move so that software can score their mental aptitude. Scoring above 90 sets teens up for college and career success. But Imani LeMonde, a high-scoring senior, risks her future by sticking with her “lowbie” best friend Cady and starting a relationship with an un-scored boy.
#4 – The Well
The Well is a gripping, suspenseful novel set in modern-day Britain where water is running out everywhere except at one farm owned by Ruth Ardingly’s family. Abundant rain within the 30-acre perimeter keeps the lush farm thriving while the outside world dries up. The Well attracts the attention of neighbors, starting accusations of witchcraft and wrongdoing. Soon the family’s safe haven becomes their prison.
#5 – Wither
The first book of the Chemical Garden trilogy shows a dystopian world where failed attempts to create a perfect race have made the lifespan just 20 years. At age 16, Rhine Ellery has only four years remaining. Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride. She discovers her new husband Linden’s father is an eccentric scientist using corpses to find an antidote. Fearing for her life, Rhine fights to escape before her time runs out.
#6 – Hatchet
Hatchet is the first Newbery Honor-winning novel of a five-part series about 13-year-old Brian Robeson. When flying to visit his estranged father in northern Canada’s oil fields, the pilot suddenly suffers a fatal heart attack. Brian tries landing the plane, but crashes into a lake. He’s left alone in the vast forest with nothing but his hatchet. Brian must now find shelter, hunt food, battle bears, and survive a mysterious tornado.
#7 – Rook
Centuries after the Earth’s poles shifted, the Sunken City that was once Paris is taken over by a tyrannical regime. Anyone who opposes the new dictator is put to death by blade. But some doomed revolutionaries mysteriously disappear from their prison cells, leaving only a red-tipped feather behind. The search for the Red Rook leads the regime to Sophia Bellamy’s house. Perhaps her arranged fiancée isn’t what he seems.
#8 – Renegade
As part of Kerry Wilkinson’s Silver Blackthorn trilogy, this book tells the tale of a 16-year-old girl born with a silver streak in her hair and supernatural powers. In the new English capital of Windsor, Silver helps 11 teenagers escape from becoming Offerings for King Victor. The soldiers of the Minister Prime begin a perilous search for them. Silver Blackthorn endeavors to protect them from the King’s vicious clutches.
#9 – Initiation
Initiation is the first installment to The Warrior series about Rachel Clancy, a 16-year-old girl born three decades after the world ended. Rachel has a unique genetic makeup that allows her to fight monsters, including vampires and werewolves. She begins the daring journey Upwards to battle her enemies. What Rachel doesn’t know is that her quest will alter the lives of everyone she loves.
#10 – The Scorpio Races
Every November, the Scorpio Races begin on the tiny fictional island of Thisby. Some riders gallop their water horses across the finish line. Others drown in the sea’s dark abyss. Sean Kendrick, a four-time champion, is confident in his ability to claim another title. He’s unprepared for the strength and endurance of newbie Kate “Puck” Connolly. Who will win this thrilling, deadly race?
#11 – Blood in the Sandbox
Blood in the Sandbox is a short, 45-page novella about the post-climate change United States, which is divided into independent countries. Former states resolve conflicts by funding small-scale fights in gigantic sealed domes. Watching soldiers battle with medieval weapons becomes America’s newest reality TV. The California Guard is leading the next combat mission against the Nevada Guard, but Captain Mark Husky’s conscience is having second thoughts.
#12 – Last Survivors
Susan Beth Pfeffer
When looking for books like The Hunger Games, the four-part Last Survivors series is a good starting place. The fascinating novels paint a near-future world where a meteor strike moved the Moon closer to Earth, spiking climate change. Miranda is a 16-year-old living in Pennsylvania. She connects with Alex Morales, a sudden orphan caring for his two young sisters. The two join forces to save the small town of Howell and its residents.
#13 – Undertow
In Undertow, 16-year-old Lyric Walker’s life has been forever changed. More than 30,000 ocean-dwelling warrior called Alphas surfaced from the water. Now her small Coney Island neighborhood has transformed into a military state of humans versus Alphas. Lyric is recruited by the crown prince, Fathom, to assimilate a defense. She soon begins to question whether the Alphas are really their worst enemy, or if a greater threat is looming.
#14 – Incarceron
Published in 2007, Incarceron is a young adult fantasy novel centered on two teenage friends, Finn and Claudia. They’re both confined in Incarceron, a futuristic prison created by the Sapienti to brainwash prisoners’ morals for creating a perfect society. Faced with an arranged marriage to Prince Caspar, Claudia sneaks into the Warden’s office. Here she discovers a crystal key that could unlock their escape.
#15 – Unwind
Like several books like The Hunger Games, Unwind won the Boston Globe’s Horn Book Award for young adult literature. This dystopian novel takes place after the Second Civil War leaves the United States battered. Parents can now send unwanted teens between 13 and 18 to camps where their body parts are harvested. Three runaways, Connor, Risa, and Lev, fight plans to “unwind” them. Thus begins their cross-country journey for survival.
#16 – The Fog Diver
Joel Ross presents The Fog Diver, a fantasy thriller where the Fog has clouded earth with a deadly white mist. On the highest mountain peaks, the wealthy Five Families rule over the last survivors of humanity. 13-year-old Chess and his friends Hazel, Bea, and Swedish are journeying to Port Oro to cure their beloved Mrs. E from fog sickness. Now Lord Kodoc is hot on their trail to protect the Rooftop’s secrets.
#17 – The Mysterious Island
As one of the oldest books like The Hunger Games, The Mysterious Island was written in 1874 by the same author as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. This fantasy novel takes place during the American Civil War. Five northern prisoners of war escape by stealing a balloon. After Cyrus, Neb, Bonadventure, Harbert, and Gedeon fly for several days, they crash onto a deserted South Pacific island holding a shocking secret.
#18 – The Call of the Wild
The Call of the Wild is another adventure classic about Buck, a bulky St. Bernard-Scotch Collie who’s sold by his California owner to settle a gambling debt. He’s shipped to Seattle and given to French-Canadian government dispatchers. Francois and Perrault take him to Yukon where he’s trained as a sled dog. Facing a bitterly cold climate, Buck reverts back to his primordial instincts and emerges as pack leader.
#19 – The Institute
First in an exhilarating trilogy, The Institute centers on Allira Daniels, a 17-year-old girl named a Defective for her supernatural abilities. She’s determined to protect herself and her Defective brother Shilah from being imprisoned by The Institute. But when Allira saves two classmates from a fiery car accident and walks away with a burn, her heroics attract unwanted attention. Will The Institute find her?
#20 – Extraction
Extraction is the first book in a pulse-pounding trilogy about a 15-year-old fearless girl named Clementine. She’s preparing to be tested for Extraction to leave Earth’s toxic Surface. When she passes, Clementine leaves behind her best friend Logan for the utopic world in the Core. Yet she soon uncovers the plot to exterminate the remaining Surface dwellers. Clem begins a perilous journey to escape the steel walls and rescue Logan.
#21 – The Island of Doctor Moreau
A shipwrecked Englishman named Edward Prendick is rescued by a passing boat and taken to an island owned by Doctor Moreau. Once an esteemed physiologist, Moreau has turned to grotesque experiments creating human-like hybrids from animals by vivisection. Edward has several encounters with the sadistic Doctor’s bizarre creations. However, he soon adapts to the Beast Folk and joins them to defeat the all-powerful Hyena-Swine.
#22 – The Testing
Closely resembling The Hunger Games, this fantasy novel, the first of a trilogy, opens with 16-year-old Malencia Vale on her graduation day. It’s Malencia’s greatest hope to be selected for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program offering training and a college education. When she’s chosen, her father warns her about his own nightmarish experience in The Testing. Malencia still bravely heads to Tosu City, unaware of the sheer terror awaiting her.
#23 – The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner is a five-part young adult series written about several teenagers left in a strange, mysterious land called the Glade. Beyond the Glade’s walls, there’s a complex maze filled with gruesome creatures known as Grievers. Every month, new Gladers arrive with all their memories wiped clean. Those deemed Runners must venture into the maze to “solve” it. Thomas finds an exit, but does it lead to freedom?
#24 – The Knife of Never Letting Go
Written by a two-time Carnegie Medalist, The Knife of Never Letting Go is about Todd Hewitt, the only boy left in Prentisstown. He’s told that a Noise germ was released by his planet’s native species. Now the men in Prentisstown can hear each other’s thoughts. Through the cacophony, Todd learns that the town is hiding something awful. Todd and his dog Manchee flee with an army in pursuit.
#25 – Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury’s acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is set in a bleak, dystopian future within the American Midwest. The protagonist, Guy Montag, is a “fireman” hired by the oppressive government to burn the possessions of people reading outlawed books. Guy has no qualms about his destruction until meeting his eccentric new neighbor, Clarisse. He begins stealing and hiding books in his home. But after Clarisse disappears, Guy must run for his life.
#26 – The Cage
Cora Mason is driving to a ski resort with her brother when everything changes. She awakens in an unfamiliar desert with four other teenagers: a stunning model, tattooed thief, quiet genius, and rebellious Army brat. Together, they discover they’re being held in a human zoo as study subjects for malicious aliens. Now the captives are forced to pair up and procreate within 21 days or face a harrowing fate.
#27 – The Lightning Thief
Starting the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, this book depicts the adventures of a 12-year-old boy who discovers he’s the son of the Greek god Poseidon. Percy lives a modern-day life in New York City until he’s suddenly visited by a young satyr named Grover. He’s taken to Camp Half-Blood where he befriends Annabeth Chase. Together they quest to prevent a war between Zeus and Poseidon.
#28 – 1984
George Orwell’s novel 1984 is a classic dystopian novel taking place in Airstrip One, a province of the totalitarian superpower of Oceania. Like many books like The Hunger Games, the Socialist regime employs omnipresent surveillance. Winston Smith unwillingly works for the Ministry of Truth to spread propaganda. In secret, Winston begins writing a journal criticizing Oceania’s leader, Big Brother. Now he must hide from the Thought Police or risk capture.
#29 – Dominion
Dominion is a gripping spy thriller set in 1950s Great Britain after Churchill surrendered to Nazi Germany in Dunkirk. A Resistance organization is created to oppose the dark authoritarian rule. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald is recruited by the Resistance to spy on the government. Before long he finds himself spearheading a mission to rescue scientist Frank Muncaster from incarceration. Only the Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer is hot on his heels.
#30 – The Young World
After an inexplicable Sickness kills off Earth’s adults and children, the surviving teenagers assemble into tight-knit tribes. Jefferson becomes the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe in Manhattan. Soon thereafter, another tribe member discovers a clue to what may cure the Sickness. Jefferson and Donna, the girl he’s secretly in love with, begin a life-altering journey braving enemy gangs to save humankind.
#31 – The Always War
Margaret Peterson Haddix
15-year-old Tessa lives in a future United States plagued by over 75 years of war. Her childhood friend, Gideon, returns from war and is awarded a medal for courage. Overwhelmed with guilt over his killings, Gideon refuses the medal. A confused Tessa follows, but she accidentally stows away on a rogue plane heading into enemy territory. Tessa then discovers the unimaginable truth about the war.
#32 – The Books of Ember
The Books of Ember is a four-part series about a dystopian world clouded in darkness without a sun or moon. Ember is the only city where there’s electricity, but the lights are starting to flicker. Lina Mayfleet finds part of an ancient document. Her friend Doon Harrow also discovers a clue in the Pipeworks. Together they must decipher the cryptic message and find a solution before light is extinguished forever.
#33 – Across the Universe
Ideal for fans of books like The Hunger Games, Across the Universe is an action-packed trilogy about Amy, a teenage girl cryogenically frozen on the spaceship Godspeed. Amy and her parents are participating in Project Ark Ship to travel 300 years forward to Centauri-Earth. But her chamber is mysteriously unplugged early. Amy awakes from her slumber in an unfamiliar world under the tyrannical control of the Eldest.
#34 – Divergent
Divergent is the debut novel in Veronica Roth’s trilogy set in the Divergent Universe, the post-apocalyptic realm of Chicago. Survivors are divided into five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. It’s time for 16-year-old Beatrice Prior to take the aptitude test that decides her faction. When the test is inconclusive, Tris joins Dauntless on Choosing Day. Thus begins her initiation training filled with electrifying choices and powerful consequences.
#35 – Mindwalker
As a 17-year-old prodigy, Lain Fisher is passing the Institute’s training program for joining the Mindwalkers with flying colors. After her father’s mysterious death, Lain is determined to become one of the therapists using neural links to save patients from traumatic events. Her classmate, Steven, asks her to wipe a horrific childhood memory. Despite The Institute’s refusal, Lain explores his mind. What she finds is a secret conspiracy that could ignite revolution.
#36 – The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Once each century, one person is selected for greatness. Elisa, an unremarkable young princess, is the chosen one. On her 16th birthday, Elisa becomes the secret wife of a handsome king whose realm faces chaos. The prophecy makes him think Elisa will be his people’s savior. But savages seething with dark magic are stalking her. Elisa must find power and strength deep inside herself to survive.
#37 – Matched
Matched is the first installment of Ally Condie’s trilogy about a dystopian Society where teenagers are automatically paired with their life partners. At her Matching ceremony, Cassia Reyes is matched with her best friend Xander, but a computer glitch causes Ky Markham’s face to flash across the screen. Cassia finds herself unable to stop thinking about Ky and questioning the Society’s infallibility. Which mate will she dare choose?
#38 – Unison Spark
Unison is the world’s most fascinating social network that knows people better than they do. A 15-year-old poor girl named Mistletoe can only dream of logging in to Unison. A twist of fate has Mistletoe saving Ambrose Truax, the wealthy heir to the Unison empire, from attackers. The duo soon realizes they share astonishingly similar dreams. Ambrose and Mistletoe begin learning their true identities as pawns in someone’s bigger game.
#39 – Delirium
In Delirium, scientists have declared love a dangerous disease. Authoritarian rulers in the future United States force everyone turning 18 years old to have the Cure. After watching love destroy her mother, Lena Haloway is excited about being cured. That all changes when she meets Alex, a puzzling boy from the Wilds, just 95 days before her procedure. Lena faces the choice of following her heart or conforming to society’s standards.
#40 – Save the Pearls: Revealing Eden
Eden Newman, a young white Pearl, has been raised in a post-apocalyptic world after a solar burst decimates the Earth. Humanity is forced underground to avoid “The Heat” and split into classes by skin color. Eden’s father is recruited by Bramford to experiment with injecting animal DNA into humans for survival. But research is halted when a malicious political group begins attacking test subjects.
#41 – Last of the Breed
Published in 1987, Last of the Breed is a fictional tale about U.S. Air Force pilot Joseph Makatozi. After his plane was shot down, Mack is captured by the Soviets and imprisoned. A diversion allows for Mack’s escape into the wilderness of Siberia. Now he must utilize his Native American survival skills to cross the Bering Strait to Alaska. Unbeknownst to Mack, the legendary tracker Alekhin is following closely behind.
#42 – Girl in the Arena
Girl in the Arena tells the story of Lyn, the daughter of a modern-day gladiator. After a traumatic turn of events, Lyn’s father is killed in the ring. His winning opponent, Uber, captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet during the fight. To avoid marrying Uber, Lyn must do what no female has ever done: enter the arena. She’s determined to fight her father’s killer, even though she’s falling for him.
#43 – The Giver
Lois Lowry’s classic quartet begins with The Giver, a dystopian novel about a society that eradicated pain by converting to “Sameness.” Jonas, a 12-year-old boy, is chosen for the role of Receiver of Memory. He now sees all of community’s past memories, both good and evil. Jonas desires a life with the freedom to choose emotions. He asks The Giver to help him escape to Elsewhere, a mysterious land beyond Elder rule.
#44 – The Bar Code Tattoo
In 2025, the United States’ corrupt society forces everyone to tattoo a barcode on their arm. The barcodes store all of the person’s information without a paper trail. Kayla, a 17-year-old girl reaching barcode age, wants to keep her privacy. Rather than conform, Kayla flees and joins a resistance group called Decode. But the government begins spreading lies that she murdered her mother. Will the barcode tattoo destroy her life?
#45 – Shade’s Children
Penned in 1998, Shade’s Children is a futuristic sci-fi novel that inspired several books like The Hunger Games. Evil Overlords have taken over earthlings and declared that no children may survive past age 14. On this Sad Birthday, children are harvested into machine-like beings and forced to kill. The mysterious Shade recruits four children lucky enough to escape. Now they fight to discover the source of the Overloads’ power and yank it.
#46 – Life of Pi
Also adapted into a movie like The Hunger Games, this fantasy adventure novel is about piscine Molitor Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry. Born to a zookeeper, Pi is an expert on animal behavior. At age 16, Pi’s family emigrates to North America on a cargo ship with their zoo animals. When the ship sinks, Pi survives for 227 days aboard a lifeboat with a hyena, orangutan, zebra, and Bengal tiger.
#47 – Trash
In a near-future Third World County, three teenage boys survive by picking through the city’s mountains of garbage. One day, 14-year-old Raphael finds a mysterious bag he decides to keep, even when the police issue a reward for its retrieval. Raphael, along with his friends Gardo and Rat, discover that the bag holds secrets of extreme political corruption. Now they must join together to right society’s terrible wrongs.
#48 – Night Angel Trilogy
Starting with The Way of Shadows, this spell-binding trilogy follows the life of Azoth, an orphan living in the Warrens of Cenaria City. He’s a member of the Black Dragon Guild and steals money to pay rent to Rat, the Guild Fist. Azoth strives to become the ultimate wetboy, a magical assassin, by training with Durzo. But then he leaves it behind to become the exemplar of retribution – The Night Angel.
#49 – For Darkness Shows the Stars
Based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this fantasy novel occurs in a dystopian future after a failed genetic experiment decimates humanity. Anti-technology Luddites have assumed total control over remaining survivors. Elliot North, an obedient Luddite, runs her father’s estate. She has always chosen familial duty over love. But when her childhood sweetheart, Kai, returns, Elliot must decide whether their bond deserves a second chance.
#50 – Battle Royale
Similar to The Hunger Games, this sci-fi novel depicts the future authoritative rule of the Republic of Greater East Asia. For military research, 50 high school juniors are randomly selected and forced to battle to the death. Each student is issued a survival pack, which could hold guns and knives or useless tools like boomerangs. Metal collars allow every student to be tracked as the deadly competition begins.
If you’re a diehard fan of Suzanne Collins’ hit trilogy, consider adding some of these great books like The Hunger Games to your library for more adventurous reading.