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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Dystopian book recommendations for ‘Hunger Games’ fans

Six books stacked on top of each other sit on a black table. An interest in dystopian books may be reemerging since the new Hunger Games film was released. (Brynn Krug | Northern Star)

With the release of “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” many fans may find their enjoyment for the dystopian genre reawakened.

A dystopia is a society that is unjust or of great suffering. Usually, dystopia literature readers find themselves being transported to a world that is set in the future or to another world entirely. Think dystopian books like “The Maze Runner,” “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games.” 

For those who want to branch out and read some dystopian novels other than “The Hunger Games,” here are four recommendations.


In the kingdom of IIya, there’s a divide between the Elite and the Ordinary – between the powerful and the powerless. When protagonist Paedyn Gray saves one of Ilya’s princes’ lives, Gray finds herself thrown into the Purging Trials, a series of deadly competitions where the contenders must fight to survive. 

Written by Lauren Roberts, the novel is considered high fantasy. The book spins a story set in a completely different universe that revolves around the character’s power dynamics. Packed with brutality similar to that of the Hunger Games and an enemies-to-lovers romance, give “Powerless” a try. 


For a more science fiction feel, Brandon Sanderson’s “Skyward” will take you on a perilous adventure through the universe. Spensa is at the center of the story, a girl who finds a ship that seemingly has a soul inside it. 

Sanderson’s masterfully crafted worldbuilding is evident in this book, and it makes it easy to fall in love with his stories.

“Skyward” presents a strong female lead and is accompanied by lots of action that made me want to keep reading more. 


Those who choose to pick up “Scythe” will enter a futuristic world where humans live with no fear, no hunger and no worry of violence breaking out. The so-called Scythes are the only individuals who can take a person’s life because humanity has conquered death. The novel follows two characters – Citra and Rowan – who are training to become Scythes. 

“Scythe” is one of the rare young adult books that isn’t predictable, and it contains several plot twists that keep readers on their toes. The dystopian novel also explores what it means to play God and the fragility of human beings. 


Probably one of the most popular young adult dystopian series of the last few years because of TikTok is “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi. 

In a barren world that has been overtaken by the Reestablishment, an oppressive movement, 17-year-old Juliette has been held prisoner for almost a year due to her having the ability to kill people with just a touch. Juliette soon finds herself at the center of the cruel world she lives in as a global war is about to break out, and she teams up with her enemy’s son. 

“Shatter Me” has been published for over 10 years, but the series’ popularity and intriguing storylines make the novels never go out of style. The books are simple for new readers and can be read within two days for ambitious bookworms.

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