So you’ve read the Hunger Games trilogy. Your brain, stomach, and dreams have been in constant upheaval for a week, two weeks, maybe a month (if you have more self-control than I do). Who knew Young Adult fiction could be so awesome?! And more importantly, what do you read next? Here are a couple of next-book suggestions!
If you loved the kick-butt heroine: Try Graceling or Fire by Kristin Cashore. Both featuring kick-butt heroines, these YA fantasies are part of the Seven Kingdoms series and a third, Bitterblue, is due out in May. The world created by Cashore is fascinating and breathtaking, the heroines are believable and inspiring, and the plots are dangerous and exciting.
If you want to try another dystopia: So, the world of Panem is called a “dystopia.” Basically, it’s a world post WWIII or America post second civil war in which the laws have changed and everything is far from perfect. Divergent by Veronica Roth divides a dystopian Chicago with five factions, each holding a certain value above all others: Abnegation (selflessness), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery), Erudite (knowledge), and Amity (peace). The rules of the world are mind-opening and the storyline keeps you reading. It’s fun to peek into this world and this book really sets up the next one (Insurgent, due out in May!).
If you want another regular-guy-turned-hero story: Try I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak. The author of The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak is a wordsmith to the highest degree. This is a contemporary story set in London in which a less-than-regular guy starts to receive cards- playing cards- with messages on them, challenging him to solve specific situations. These cards take him places he never thought he’d go and cause him to do things he never thought he’d do. And you get to take the ride along with him.
If you liked the “kids-fighting-wars” idea: Try Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. A classic sci-fi, Ender’s Game follows a young boy who is chosen to attend a special school where he participates in battle simulations in order to fight the aliens that once attacked Earth. Although I’m not a huge alien story-line fan, this book is not about aliens or space travel. It’s about a boy going to a training academy in hopes of saving the world. Incredible classic.
For something complete different: Try the Little House on the Prairie series. (I will recommend those every single time that I can!) They actually have a few things in common: An intrepid heroine, life-threatening situations, and a love story all figure into these books. They are quick reads and when you figure that every single thing that happens is real- Ma actually did pet a bear thinking it was their cow, Laura actually did nearly drown in a swollen spring river, Almanzo actually did save the town from starving- they become all the more impressive.
If zombies are your new thing: Try The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. If you like zombies, you will love this book. Another dystopian YA, this time it’s science that screwed us up. In an effort to preserve life eternally, a virus was created that turned people into, you guessed it, zombies. Society is now confined to small towns surrounded by fences in order to keep the highly contagious zombies out. This follows a girl as she goes finds out the shadowy truth about her small town and eventually tries to escape.
If you want something that goes just a leeeetle too far: Read Unwind by Neal Shusterman. The second US civil war is fought over reproductive rights when a new medical procedure causes a tenuous compromise: Because there is now a way to re-use an entire donated body, all pregnancies must be kept, but between the ages of 15 and 18, a child may be “unwound.” The idea is that since every single part of his body will be re-used, his life will continue in other people. Follow a couple runaways slated to be unwound, and the end will have your heart in your throat!
Good luck on your next book! Let me know what you picked and if you liked it!