10 Dystopian Books Like The Hunger Games – Must-Read Titles

As a proud bookworm, I recall the moment I turned the last page of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy. I felt a weird blend of satisfaction and emptiness — the story had concluded, but I was still craving more of the exhilarating dystopian adventure. If you’ve felt the same, you’re in the right place.

In this post, I’ll introduce you to 10 books that echo the thrill, suspense, and insightful social commentary found in The Hunger Games.

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is a three-part series by Veronica Roth that will remind you of the faction-divided world of Panem. It’s a tale of bravery, self-discovery, and the human spirit’s resilience, which will likely resonate with Hunger Games enthusiasts.


Set in a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue. When Tris, our 16-year-old protagonist, discovers that she doesn’t fit into any single faction (making her ‘Divergent’), she must hide her status to survive. Much like Katniss, Tris is thrust into situations that test her courage and values, offering readers a compelling coming-of-age narrative amidst social unrest.

Why It’s Like The Hunger Games

Divergent checks all the boxes for a Hunger Games alternative. Not only does it offer a strong female lead facing enormous odds, but the societal division and looming threat of rebellion are sure to be familiar themes for Hunger Games fans. It’s about bravery, making tough choices, and questioning societal norms — all under the shadow of a dystopian regime.

2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

James Dashner’s The Maze Runner provides an adrenaline-infused, mystery-filled experience set in a dystopian world. It’s an ideal choice for readers who enjoy the constant uncertainty and action of the Hunger Games trilogy. The book The Maze Runner was adapted into a film just like The Hunger Games, both of which garnered significant popularity in the movie industry.

Check out the movie trailer below:


When Thomas wakes up trapped in a massive maze with a group of other boys, he has no memory of the outside world other than strange dreams about a mysterious organization. The boys don’t know why they’ve been put there, and every 30 days, a new boy is delivered. Their only hope of escape is to decipher the Maze’s patterns and secrets.

Why It’s Like The Hunger Games

This book has the suspense, thrill, and fast-paced action that made The Hunger Games a page-turner. While the setting and premise are unique, the harrowing survival aspects, coupled with the ever-present mystery, make The Maze Runner an exciting read for Hunger Games fans.

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

An enduring classic in the genre, Lois Lowry’s The Giver gives us a glimpse of a ‘utopian’ society where pain, war, and suffering have been eradicated — but at what cost? The dystopian undertones will undoubtedly intrigue fans of Collins’ series.


In the “Community” where 12-year-old Jonas lives, everything is seemingly perfect. There is no war, no pain, and no choices. When Jonas is chosen to receive the memories of the past from an old man known as the Giver, he learns about the true nature of his community — a stark and emotionless place where uniformity reigns.

Why It’s Like The Hunger Games

The Giver shares themes with The Hunger Games, such as the loss of innocence, societal control, and the importance of individual choice. Both Jonas and Katniss are propelled into roles they did not choose but accept out of necessity. Both novels encourage readers to question the nature of society and the importance of individual freedoms.

4. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel offers a different kind of dystopian narrative, focusing less on the action and more on the human ability to persist and find beauty even in the direst of circumstances. This might be a refreshing change for readers who enjoyed the more introspective parts of The Hunger Games.

Emily St. John Mandel is active on social media; you can find her Twitter and Instagram below:


This novel revolves around the Traveling Symphony, a troupe of actors and musicians wandering through the territories of the post-apocalyptic Great Lakes region. The story is a testament to the power of art and human connections in the face of loss and disaster.

Why It’s Like The Hunger Games

While Station Eleven isn’t a dystopian YA novel in the strictest sense, its exploration of post-apocalyptic survival, societal collapse, and human resilience are thematically similar to The Hunger Games. However, it offers a softer, more philosophical perspective that might resonate with readers who appreciate the emotional depth of Collins’ work.

5. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

With an alien invasion as the catalyst for its dystopian setting, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey brings a science fiction twist to the genre. If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games but also love extraterrestrial narratives, this is the book for you.


In The 5th Wave, most of the Earth’s population has been wiped out by four waves of increasingly deadly attacks from aliens. The story follows 16-year-old Cassie who, much like Katniss, must muster all her strength and courage to survive and rescue her younger brother.

Why It’s Like The Hunger Games

The 5th Wave and The Hunger Games share the theme of young individuals fighting against oppressive forces much bigger than themselves. In both stories, the protagonists are driven by their love for their families and the need to protect them at all costs. Moreover, the action-packed sequences and the suspenseful plot twists make The 5th Wave a worthy pick for Hunger Games enthusiasts.

6. Legend by Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu

With its dual narrative, exciting action, and a well-constructed dystopian world, Legend by Marie Lu will likely be a hit with fans of The Hunger Games.


In the Republic, the war-ravaged country that was once the western part of the USA, June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s military. Day, on the other hand, is the country’s most wanted criminal. When June’s brother is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect, their lives intersect in an unlikely and dramatic way.

Why It’s Like The Hunger Games

Aside from being a thrilling dystopian read, Legend explores themes similar to The Hunger Games such as societal inequality, oppression, and rebellion. The compelling characters, high-stakes action, and the growing tension between the government and its people will surely remind readers of the journey they undertook with Katniss Everdeen.

7. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember is a spellbinding story set in an underground city on the brink of running out of resources. The book, geared towards younger readers but equally enjoyable for adults, offers an adventurous and suspenseful journey similar to The Hunger Games.


Ember is an isolated city with no knowledge of the world above, where all light comes from street lamps. But the city’s resources are dwindling, and the once-bright lights are starting to flicker. It’s up to two young friends, Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow, to decipher a cryptic message that holds the secret to saving their city.

Why It’s Like The Hunger Games

While it’s not as violent or politically charged as The Hunger Games, The City of Ember features young protagonists who show great courage and resourcefulness in the face of a society that’s failing its people. Their struggle against an overwhelming crisis and their fight for survival in a deteriorating civilization echo the resilience and spirit of Katniss Everdeen.

8. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The first in the Chaos Walking trilogy, The Knife of Never Letting Go is a gripping and original tale that explores gender politics, colonization, and the abuse of power. Its stark, dystopian setting and poignant storytelling make it a must-read for Hunger Games fans.


In the New World, where everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an unending, chaotic Noise, Todd is the only boy in a town of men. Just a month shy of becoming a man himself, he stumbles upon an area of complete silence. This discovery propels Todd into a dangerous journey that upends everything he thought he knew.

Why It’s Like The Hunger Games

Both books depict societies controlled by sinister forces and feature young protagonists thrust into deadly situations. There’s a blend of adventure, struggle, and moral dilemmas that will remind you of Katniss’ journey. The themes of tyranny, rebellion, and the loss of innocence are explored, making this trilogy a compelling read for Hunger Games enthusiasts.

9. The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Naomi Alderman’s The Power is a dystopian novel with a feminist twist. If you appreciate the strong female characters in The Hunger Games, you’ll likely be intrigued by this book’s exploration of power dynamics.


In The Power, women develop the ability to release electrical jolts from their fingers, leading them to become the dominant gender. The narrative follows the lives of four main characters — Roxy, Allie, Tunde, and Margot — as they navigate this new world order.

Why It’s Like The Hunger Games

While it’s much different in terms of premise, The Power delves deep into issues of power, gender, and corruption, much like The Hunger Games. Additionally, it doesn’t shy away from depicting brutality and the dark side of human nature. Both books prompt readers to question societal norms and inspire conversations about inequality and oppression.

10. The Children of Men by P.D. James

The Children of Men by P.D. James

P.D. James’ The Children of Men is a powerful and chilling dystopian novel that contemplates a future where humans have become infertile. This mature and thought-provoking narrative will be appreciated by Hunger Games fans looking for a more philosophical read.

This book also has a movie, you can watch the trailer below:


Set in England in 2021, mass infertility has led to the imminent extinction of the human race. The story follows Oxford historian Theodore Faron as he navigates this bleak world and gets drawn into a group of revolutionaries who might hold the key to humanity’s survival.

Why It’s Like The Hunger Games

Both novels depict dystopian societies and explore the idea of hope amid despair. While The Children of Men is less action-packed than The Hunger Games, its intriguing plot, social commentary, and gripping depiction of a dystopian future make it a notable recommendation. Plus, the struggle against a totalitarian regime is a common theme in both novels, adding to the tension and sense of urgency.

Other Dystopian Novels Worth Checking Out

While the aforementioned novels are more directly comparable to The Hunger Games, the following books also offer intriguing dystopian narratives that readers might enjoy:

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Closing Thoughts

Each of these stories presents its unique take on a dystopian future, exploring themes like power, resistance, identity, and human nature. Whether you’re an avid fan of dystopian literature or someone who’s just discovered the genre through The Hunger Games, these novels will provide you with a thought-provoking, thrilling, and memorable reading experience.

Be sure to visit marciapreston.com to find out more about the author Marcia Preston and her books that will pull you into their captivating stories.