Looking for dystopian books to read like The Hunger Games? Here are the best books like the Hunger Games
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I'll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
'Katniss Everdeen, The girl on fire!' And Katniss Everdeen really was on fire. Did you know that the Hunger Games was the first book to sell more than a million electronic copies? After reading The Hunger Games, I fell down a rabbit hole of dystopian books. So, I've compiled the absolute best books to read after The Hunger Games.
You're going to learn all about the best books like the hunger games from books like the Hunger Games for adults, dystopian books and Books like the hunger games for teens.
After learning about all these ya fantasy books, you are going to have so many new books on your tbr list and will be extra prepared on your next trip to the book store.
This post is all about books like The Hunger Games
What books should I read if I liked the Hunger games?
1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Divergent is wildly popular, successful and slightly ridiculous. But it's so entertaining. And the plot is really fast paced. It's a book that you'll want to binge read in one sitting. Divergent is a ya dystopian novel with a strong female lead and a long lost childhood friend as the love interest.
If you enjoy books like the Hunger Games chances are you’ll love this one. In Divergent the world is divided into 5 factions. Each faction is based on a personality trait which that faction embodies – Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peaceful), Erudite (intelligent) and abnegation (selfless).
Each sixteen year old must choose a faction. To help them decide, they take a test telling them which faction they belong to. Those who don’t fit into one faction are divergent.
Divergent seems to divide fans a lot. But it’s a fun premise and fast-paced book. It's also probably the most similar to the Hunger Games on this list. Veronica Roth has a writing style that compells you to just keep reading. I would take this as a standalone. The rest of the series just isn’t as good as the original.
Good reads rating: 4.13
2. Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
I am a HUGE fan of the found family trope and it was executed so perfectly in this book! The plot was also really action-packed and fast paced throughout. There were no lulls or sections that lost my attention.
It follows 16-year-old Deka. She lives in a village where all the girls undergo a blood ceremony. If their blood runs gold – they are impure.
Deka has lived in fear of this ceremony. And on the day – her blood runs gold. And Deka must face consequences worse than death.
But then a mysterious woman comes to her rescue. And offers her the chance to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her.
There is so much to love about this book. The found family trope works really well. There was so much diversity in the army of Alaki. The magic system was really intriguing and the world-building was excellent.
This book is not for everyone – it has a lot of violence. Please check the trigger warnings before reading.
Good reads ratings: 4.04
3. We set the dark on fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
This book features one of the best enemies to lovers romances that I’ve read! It's a ya dystopian book with Latine representation and dark academia vibes
We Set The Dark On Fire follows Daniela Vargas. She lives in a dystopian world where each man is entitled to 2 wives. A Primera and a Segunda. The Primera is intelligent, calm and analytical. The Segunda is the mother figure.
Outside the wall, the people go hungry. Dani started life outside of the wall. And she must use her wits to survive illegally in the capital. She is also married to one of the most powerful men in the kingdom.
The premise was intriguing. And the main character was instantly likeable. She also grows a lot through the book. But the romance is what makes this so perfect. Two badass women who are married to a Straight man but fall in love with each other.
The world-building is also excellent. And the book has such dark academia vibes. It opens in a prep school for girls. But it discusses so many important issues such as immigration politics and forced marriage.
We set the Dark on Fire features an intriguing dystopian premise and a likeable, strong-minded main character. This YA LGBTQ+ Dystopian book explores immigration politics, toxic masculinity and feminism.
Good reads rating: 3.76
4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Oh Ember in the Ashes is such an incredible ya fantasy book. And guess who was an emotional mess while reading this? ME! It's a YA Dystopian Novel with a strong female lead and brutal world building.
An Ember in the Ashes opens with Laia. She has found an illegal sketchbook belonging to her brother. The empire comes and takes away her brother. So she must locate the resistance and go on a perilous mission to save him.
The book opens with a punch and it’s fast-paced throughout. The opening makes you really emotionally invested. Laia goes to extraordinary lengths and becomes a slave in order to save her brother. There is so much at stake that it leaves you on the edge of your seat.
Perfect if you're looking for:
- Epic/ brutal world building
- enemies to lovers romance
- Strong female lead
- ya dystopian books
Good reads rating: 4.27
5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is seriously one of the most unique retellings. It's a Cinderella retelling in a future dystopian society featuring an android It also mentions a deadly plague (sound familiar ). It features a cute romance, a strong female lead and a compelling mysert.
The main character Cinder is an android. She had an accident when she was younger. And she now has a cyborg hand and ankle. But the world she lives in shuns androids.
She meets and falls in love with the Prince. But she can’t tell him that she’s an android.
This one of the most fast paced ya fantasy books. It features so many intriguing elements: an enemies to lovers romance, androids, a deadly plague and an evil queen. You'll want to keep reading to find out what happens.
If you’re a fan of retellings like A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Cruel Prince or a Curse so Dark and Lonely – then you need to read this one.
Good reads rating: 4.13
6. Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
A Cinderella retelling with a sapphic romance. This is another twist on the classic story that features BIPOC characters and a wlw romance. It's a twist on Cinderella but set in a dystopian world. It feature a Black female lead and a wlw romance.
The premise is that teen girls are now required to appear at an annual ball where men select wives. But Sophia wants to marry her childhood best friend Erin. And isn’t a fan of the whole parade in front of suitors thing.
She decides to flee and decided to take down the king once and for all.
The premise in this book is so unique. And I loved the dystopian twist on the classic Cinderella story. The romance is also adorable. It is a bit insta-lovey but it’s developed so well that I was really engaged.
The plot really kept me hooked. And I really enjoyed the concept of women overthrowing a dystopian patriarchy. There is also much cottagey and woodland imagery. And I think this is something Kalynn Bayron writes exceptionally well. And it made me want to live in the forest.
If you’re looking for LGBTQ+ books or fantasy romance books – then I highly recommend Cinderella is Dead
Good Reads Rating: 3.73
7. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
When it comes to YA Fantasy, you should definitely read Girls of Paper and Fire. It's a dark ya fantasy featuring magic and a dystopian society. And Asian mythology is woven seamlessly throughout.
Girls of Paper and Fire follows Lei. She is a member of the Paper Caste. And the people of Ikhara persecute her.
She sees the royal guards take her mother. Afterwards, Lei suffers with trauma. But the guards return and try to take Lei. She has to learn skills fitting of a King’s Consort. But she falls in love.
The worldbuilding in this book is seriously beautiful. Natasha Ngan was inspired by her own experiences growing up in Malaysia - a country with a mix of cultures. And Ikhara was heavily inspired by this.
The character development is excellent. I loved the wlw romance in the book. The grumpy/sunshine trope was executed perfectly. The plot of the book is quite dark but it was handled really sensitively
The pacing did lapse a bit in the middle for me. But the character developement was so good that I still enjoyed reading it.
Good reads rating: 3.82
8. Ruinsong by Julia Ember
This is yet another seriously underrated book. I don't see this recommended nearly enough online. Ruinsong is an ya lesbianbook set in a dystopian world. It has lush world-building, a twisty plot and feisty main characters.
In this world, singers have magic powers when they sing certain songs. And they are able to heal, cause pain and heat people.
Cadence is an incredibly strong mage. She was born in poverty in an orphanage and rises to success. But she works for the evil Queen Elene. And Elene forces Cadence to use her power to torture others.
But when she is reunited with her childhood friend she must make a choice. Does she take a stand or follow the queen.
This book is like a dystopian and queer phantom of the opera. The world building is so unique. It's full of strong willed women wearing beautiful ball gowns taking down evil. It's a dark fantasy where girls take down their enemies while wearing beautiful pink ballgowns.
It also has one of the most unique magic systems with singing as a vehicle for magic. It was really well developed. And the magic system and well developed characters really hook you into this story.
Good reads rating: 3.54
9. Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi
Shatter me opens with the main character locked up for murder. She is unable to touch anyone. And she falls in love with the first person she is able to touch.
The writing style in Shatter me is unlike anything else I’ve ever read. It’s very prose heavy. And consequently, it seems to be a book people either love or hate. I love it.
It’s set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world. But it’s definitely more of a romance. And an ansgty one at that. There was a definite ‘will they, won’t they vibe. Similar to Kaz and Inej for me.
Juliette is an excellent main character. She has been dealt an awful hand in life. And yet she still perseveres and looks for the best in everyone.
The plot behind the series is excellent. And it particularly picks up towards the end. Trust me when I say – you will instantly want to read the next book.
Good Reads Rating: 3.92
10. The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
In this dystopian novel, blood defines your status. Reds are commoners. But silvers are the elite and have superpowers. The main character is red. But she has superpowers.
The Red Queen has received thousands of five stars reviews and was a #1 New York Times Bestseller. I can see why!
The plot and the twists in this book left me on the edge of my seat! A thrilling read and an excellent choice for Katniss fans.
Good Reads Rating: 4.04
11. War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi
War girls is a post-apocalyptic book set in Nigeria in the year 2172. Two girls sisters live in a country torn apart by war. Soldiers are given Artificial limbs that turn them into deadly soldiers. But Ify and Onyii both dream of more.
The book draws from horrific real-world events. It was hard to read at times. But it kept me on the edge of my seat.
The strongly developed female characters are what made me fall in love with this book. And I highly recommend this for Katniss fans.
Good Reads Rating: 3.75
12. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The book takes place in a future dystopian world. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen parents can have their child "unwound". Essentially all the child's organs are transplanted into different donors.
This dystopian book for teens was published before the original dystopian craze. The premise is really intriguing. And it keeps you hooked throughout.
Unwind is a bit older. But I had to include it. A creepy, gripping and excellent book like the Hunger Games.
Good Reads Rating: 4.16
13. Uglies by Scott Westerfield
For those who love a transformation scene with a dark twist...
The world is divided into uglies and pretties. When you come of age, you get surgery to become pretty. And to make you physically perfect.
The concept is unique and what sells this book to me. The main character is strong-minded and an excellent successor to Katniss.
Good Reads Rating: 3.85
14. The maze runner by James Dashner
The Maze Runner is awesome. Please don't judge the books by the movies.
Thomas wakes up in a lift. All his memories are gone. Teenage boys greet him and welcome him to the glade. Outside the glade is a dangerous maze.
And it's the only escape.
The book took so many twists and turns. I genuinely didn't expect them and it kept me hooked.
A fast-paced adventure that Hunger Games and Divergent fans will love.
Good Reads Rating: 4.04
Ya fantasy books like The Hunger Games
15. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
One of the top ya fantasy books you should read is Legendborn. It's a fast paced ya fantasy book with an action packed plot and plenty of twists and turns.
Legendborn follows Bree Mathews. After the death of her mother, she wants to avoid family memories. So, she joins a residential program for gifted high school students.
But then she witnesses a magical attack on her first night. A flying demon feeding on human energy. A Mage tries to wipe her memory. But he fails. And instead Bree unlocks new memories of her mother’s death.
You should read this if you love a strong female lead, morally grey characters or the A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy. It also features great commentary on slavery and racism.
Perfect if you're looking for:
- dark academia books
- strong female leads
- friends to lovers romance
Good Reads Rating: 4.43
16. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
If we're talking about fast paced ya fantasy books then I can't not bring up Sarah J. Maas. Sarah J. Maas dominates the fantasy book world but for a good reason. Her books are seriously binge-worthy.
That said, sometimes her books dump a lot of world-building at the start. This can make it hard for some people to get into them. Throne of Glass starts with a bang and hooks you in instantly.
It follows Celaena Sardothien who is imprisoned in a horrific prison called Endovier. She is an assassin. And one day she is summoned by the Prince to fight in a competition. The winner will become the king’s personal assassin.
If you're looking for a long fantasy book series to get into - then this is the book series for you. It features an incredible slow burn, enemies to lovers romance later in the series.
Perfect if you're looking for:
- enemies to lovers
- books with fae
Good reads rating: 4.19
17. Malice by Heather Walter
Let me tell you - Malice is one of the best books I have read this year. It was an instant 5 stars from me. You will absolutely love the dystopian world building, morally grey main character and grumpy/sunshine romance.
Malice is a Maleficent retelling. The book is set in a Kingdom called Briar. Once upon a time, a wicked fairy cursed a line of princesses to die. Only true love’s kiss can break the curse.
The book follows Alyce – the dark grace. She was left abandoned in Briar from a dark kingdom. The dark magic that runs in her veins abhors residents in Briar.
Except for Princess Aurora who accepts her. And she encourages Alyce to accept herself.
This book is almost a cross between Wicked and The Hunger Games. But with fae. The world building is darkly magical. And the residents of Briar reminded me of the residents of the Capitol.
Good reads rating: 4.06
18. A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth
This book is so underrated! If you like Crescent City then you will be obsessed with the grumpy/sunshine wlw romance in this book.
A series of gruesome murders threatens to expose the faerie world to humans. Four queer teens – Nausicaä, Arlo, Vehan, and Aurelian – each hold a piece of the truth. And they must track down the mysterious killer.
The characters in this book are so well developed! Nausicaä is a grumpy, chaotic and sarcastic lesbian. Nausicaä and Arlo have such a perfect slow burn enemies to lovers vibe.
If you're looking for an audiobook then you should definitely give this one a listen. It features a full cast of narrators which make it so engrossing!
19. Lore by Alexandra Bracken
Lore is perfect for any greek mythology fans out there. It's Greek Mythology meets The Hunger Games.
Lore features Greek mythology, an urban setting and a strong female lead.
Every seven years Greek Gods are hunted by descendants of ancient bloodlines. If the hunters succeed they seize their immortality. It follows Lore Perseus who has turned her back on this world. But as the next hunt dawns, two participants seek out her help.
The plot of Lore is quite complex but it’s executed perfectly. Bracken did a great job of building the concept. I was intrigued and hooked from the first chapter.
It has a really great revenge storyline. So if you liked the revenge elements in Six of Crows then this is a great book to read.
Good Reads Rating: 3.84
20. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone combines a fast-paced, action-packed plot with magical West Africa inspired world-building. The book opens in a world where magic has disappeared.
There used to be magic in Orïsha. Zélie remembers how powerful her reaper mother was. But one-night magic disappears and Zelie is left without hope.
She now has to bring back the magic with the help of a runaway princess. Orïsha is full of danger everywhere. But Zeéie’s greatest danger is herself.
Children of Blook and Bone has much in common with A Court of Thorns and Roses – A strong female lead and a quest. I loved Zélie instantly and the world building is enchanting.
But Children of Blood and Bone also explores much darker themes such as racially charged violence. And that makes it a really powerful read.
Good reads rating: 4.10
21. Spellhacker by M.K. England
Spellhacker has so many great elements– a diverse cast of characters, a high stakes heist, criminal mastermind main character and plenty of banter. In this world magic is a commodity and we follow a group of friends who run an illegal business siphoning it.
It’s set in a world where magic ( known as maz) was once freely available. But an earthquake unleashed a deadly plague. And now maz is a tightly controlled and expensive commodity.
We follow Diz who runs an illegal maz siphoning business with her three best friends. They get offered one last massive heist that could change everything.
This was a well written standalone. The book opened with a bang and it was fairly fast-paced throughout. It felt like a cross between Ready, Player One and Six of Crows. The world-building around the magic was also really excellent.
Good Reads Rating: 3.59
This post was all about books like the Hunger Games
Other posts you might like
This post on Romance books to read
Some recommendations for YA Fantasy books to read
This post with the best LGBTQ+ YA Books
Insanely good books set in France
27+ Insanely good Summer Beach Reads
17 of the best books like The Selection