The much anticipated movie hit the big screen on Friday, March 23. The Hunger Games book trilogy by Suzanne Collins is flying off library book shelves. Even though the Hunger Games is classified as a Young Adult novel recommended for grades 7 and up by School Library Journal, I have found that many tween readers are picking up this dystopian-focused fantasy.
My library’s teen librarian recently pulled together a list of teen level read-a-likes which got me thinking, “Which of these titles, if any, are suitable for ages 9-12?”
I quickly checked School Library Journal for the recommended reading levels of some of the most popular Hunger Games read-a-likes. I then consulted with our teen librarian about which titles may have the most appeal to tweens. Even though the reading levels of some of the read-a-likes were higher than grades 4-7 (tween age group), they like Hunger Games might appeal to younger readers.***
Horn Book Magazine just released their listing of ‘lite’ Hunger Game read-a-likes! Horn Book – Hunger Games Lite Of their choices, I highly recommend Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember and for a more humorous tale, Terry Pratchett’s Only You Can Save Mankind.
Hunger Games: Tween Read-a-likes
- Matched by Allie Condie. “From School Library Journal… In a story that is at once evocative of Lois Lowry’s The Giver… George Orwell’s 1984, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Condie introduces readers to the ‘perfect’ Society.” Gr 7 Up
- House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. “From Publishers Weekly… It hits close to home, raising questions of what it means to be human, what is the value of life, and what are the responsibilities of a society.” Gr 6-9
- Unwind by Neal Shusterman. “From School Library Journal… Set in the future, the second civil war is fought over abortion. To end the war, a compromise is reached that ends the practice of abortion but creates an alternative called ‘unwinding.’ Between the ages of 13 and 17, parents or guardians can choose to have their children unwound, which involves having every part of their bodies harvested to be “donated” to another person so, technically, they don’t really die.” Gr 7 Up
- Epic by Conor Kostick. “From School Library Journal… Where fantasy and video games meet, there is Epic. In a society where violence is banned, people must settle their disputes in Epic, at the same time that they are trying to stay alive in order to accumulate wealth and status in both the game world and in reality.” Gr 8 Up, tween appeal
- Memento Nora by Angie Nora “From School Library Journal...the themes of inquiry and fighting back will resonate with young and old.” Gr 9 Up, tween appeal for strong readers
- Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. “From School Library Journal… Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic society that acculturates its citizens to believe that they are ugly until age 16 when they’ll undergo an operation that will change them into pleasure-seeking ‘pretties.'” Gr 6 Up
- Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn. “From School Library Journal… It’s 2025.. on your 17th birthday [you] get a bar code tattoo.. used for everything from driver’s licenses to shopping. Kayla, almost 17, resists because she hates the idea of being labeled. Then the tattoos begin to drive people to commit suicide, Kayla’s father among them, and she soon finds out that the markings contain detailed information about their bearers, including their genetic code.” Gr 6 Up.
- Maze Runner by James Dashner. “From School Library Journal.. Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days.” Gr 6-9
There are many other great Hunger Games read-a-like lists out there. Since tweens vary in their reading levels, some YA books may be appropriate recommendations. I always recommend reading the book first, but if time is an issue, you can ask a librarian or teacher who has recently read the book, or refer to a site like Common Sense Media that will highlight any particular issues you are looking out for (such as violence or language).
Below are some additional Hunger Games read-a-likes resources for you to consider. Enjoy!
- Teen Reads Dystopian Round Up
- Normal Public Library Teens: Hunger Games Read a Likes
- Palatine Public Library: Hunger Games Readalikes
- Evanston Public Library: The Hunger Games
- Wauconda Public Library: Book Lists for Teens, Hunger Games Readalikes
- Madison NJ Library: PDF list of readalikes
- Jefferson Madison Regional Library Wiki Page
- Provo Library Hunger games Book List
- Mengle Library Read a Likes
- Frederick County Public Library Read a Likes