More like Hunger Games, please?
July 7, 2011 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Looking for books a lot like the Hunger Games for a reluctant (adult) reader? Likes: POV changes and fast pace.

I have a friend who's a reluctant reader. She's in her early 20s and doesn't read much. Recently I convinced her to read the Hunger Games and she really loved the series, finishing it in 3 weeks. Now she wants more recommendations...but my style of reading is so different from hers that I'm not sure what to recommend.

She really liked the POV changes and fast pace of Hunger Games and says she's agnostic as to genre/theme.
posted by eleanna to Work & Money (27 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
...I'm not sure what POV changes you're referring to. From what I remember, THG series was written entirely in First Person Present (from Katniss's perspective). Anyhow, could you try to convince her to give Harry Potter a try? Quite a bit of action there...
posted by litnerd at 4:40 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend doing a search for "Hunger Games readalikes". You'll find a lot of suggestions of books dealing with similar subjects/themes to the THG series. Some include:

The Maze Runner - James Dashner
Uglies (and sequels) - Scott Westerfeld
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
The Running Man - Stephen King
posted by jenny76 at 4:41 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Uglies is a good one; I'm an adult who reads a lot of YA fiction, and this series sort of scratched that specific itch in similar ways to The Hunger Games. It's very fast-paced, with some good moral quandaries.

Two that are similar to The Hunger Games in their strong female characters, pace, and excitement are Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore. They are companion novels and it doesn't matter what order they're read in.

If she doesn't mind waiting until November for the next book in the series, Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien is a good post-apocalyptic read.

I'm having trouble thinking of non-sf/fantasy books that fit the same criteria, since YA speculative fiction is kind of my "thing," but maybe someone else has some good ideas?
posted by crowyhead at 4:54 PM on July 7, 2011

The obvious answer is the Twilight series, which does have at least one POV change.
posted by amro at 5:04 PM on July 7, 2011

Stephen King's Dark Tower series would work for at least the first few books.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:14 PM on July 7, 2011

Fast-paced and interesting, with several POV changes: Lost and Found, by Carolyn Parkhurst. It's about an Amazing Race-style reality TV show, with each chapter told from the point of view of a different contestant. The contestants travel around the world in pairs, attempting to do various challenges and navigate foreign cultures while struggling with their own relationship issues. There's a mother and teenaged daughter; a fundamentalist Christian husband and wife who have supposedly "cured" themselves of homosexuality; a pair of former child stars attempting to regain fame; and two brothers, both recently divorced.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:22 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire has POV changes and a good pace. It's also currently a series, Game of Thrones, on HBO if she's interested in following a great adaptation based on the books.
posted by macska at 5:27 PM on July 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

as much as I love the Dark Tower, I don't think it fits the requirements here. (The Gunslinger is a bit slow at times, easily the slowest of the series, and it is a lot more complex in its mythology and characters than the Hunger Games. Fantastic series, though.) However, OP, could you clarify - Hunger Games really doesn't have POV changes.

I would also second Ender's Game, and throw out a suggestions for The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch & it's sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies.
posted by firei at 6:27 PM on July 7, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth! Similar to the Hunger Games (dystopian, actiony); also, if she likes sci-fi, Across the Universe by Beth Revis had me quite literally up all night reading.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:08 PM on July 7, 2011

Please don't recommend Twilight. Fast-paced that series is not, as there is barely any actual plot to speak of. (And if she liked Katniss, there's a good chance she won't like Bella.)

I too am having trouble coming up with things outside of the fantasy vein, and would point her towards Harry Potter and the books of Diana Wynne Jones.
posted by keever at 7:11 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

When I think POV changes, I think World War Z. It's written as an anthology of primary source interviews about the apocalyptic zombie war. I loved reading how the different places (Cuba, North Korea, Paris, etc) dealt with the fictional crisis. (haven't read THG yet, though)
posted by Kronur at 7:30 PM on July 7, 2011

The Help is a great read. It's accessible, has a plot line that is coherent, thoughtful and interesting. Bonus: it's written from the perspectives of three characters with widely differing viewpoints. It's definitely not an obvious recommendation, however, I loved The Help for many of the same reasons I loved The Hunger Games: a strong female protagonist and a cause worth fighting for.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 7:38 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I guess it's been a while since I read Hunger Games (she has my copy ATM), but I remember there being a chapter or two from Peeta's POV in addition to Katniss's. If I'm completely wrong (entirely possible), maybe there's something else about the POV she liked? She mentioned that particularly.

Thanks for all of the great suggestions.
posted by eleanna at 8:16 PM on July 7, 2011

The Lies of Locke Lamora is excellent, and definitely fast-paced. The sequel is sadly neither of those things.

There's a fantasy series called The Healing Wars by Janice Hardy that's pretty zippy. It's technically MG, and it chafes against those limitations sometimes, but it has a really enjoyable heroine and lots of derring-do. The first two books are Shifter (The Pain Merchants in the UK/Australia) and Blue Fire. I believe the third and final book is due later this year.

Something a bit more left field: the romances of Jennifer Crusie are fast-paced, with sharp writing and witty banter. My favourite novel of hers is Welcome to Temptation, but most people seem to rank Bet Me as her best. Really, you can't go wrong with any of her solo work. Her co-written stuff is more of a mixed bag.
posted by Georgina at 10:29 PM on July 7, 2011

Maybe in the POV area she meant that it's in first person? FWIW, it's been almost a year since I read the Hunger Games series but I cannot remember anything that wasn't in Katniss' perspective.

macska, I have to disagree-- the Song of Ice and Fire series was really heavy, and for a reluctant reader, might be a bit too daunting. They are compelling reads, but the sheer size of the books could be off-putting.

Seconding Graceling and Fire.

I'd also recommend Biting the Sun by Tanith Lee. It's first person, speculative, and has a really strange (but interesting!) view of the future.
posted by lockstitch at 10:33 PM on July 7, 2011

I'm in the middle of book two of The Hunger Games right now. No POV changes yet. All first person present from Katniss. It's a good lightweight read though.

One that occurs to me that might suit your friend is The Pillars of th Earth by Ken Follett. It does have POV changes. It is a bit heavier than THG, but quite fast paced with enjoyable characters.
posted by rglasmann at 4:09 AM on July 8, 2011

Your friend might want to give Scott Westerfeld's Uglies a try: many of my spawn's friends ate up both Uglies and Hunger Games books when they came out (and were harsh in their criticism of Twilight). Like Hunger Games, Uglies/Pretties/Specials/Extras is a well written, reasonably mature series that works for both its YA target market and adults.
posted by thatdawnperson at 5:58 AM on July 8, 2011

Yay Lies of Locke! Also Enders Game (but not any of the other OSC. Sorry, probably not for this reader)

My girlfriend likes Mary Janice Davidson Undead and X series. humor/paranormal romance thats better than it sounds, from what I gather. Anita Blake books 1-8 if she can stand the gore/sex.

Lemony Snicket a Series of Unfortunate Events? Quick reads, but amusing. Harry Potter, since everybody likes HP. Discworld?

Maybe look into graphic novels and even some manga.

If you, OP, tell us more about what she likes outside of books, we can probably recommend more books on that topic.

Dear god above, why would you suggest Ice n Fire? its 600 pages and more depressing than a Mel Gibson movie. Novice reading it is NOT.
posted by Jacen at 7:12 AM on July 8, 2011

Please don't recommend Twilight. Fast-paced that series is not, as there is barely any actual plot to speak of. (And if she liked Katniss, there's a good chance she won't like Bella.)

I liked both series and found them similar in terms of pacing. YMMV.
posted by amro at 8:34 AM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you're going to recommended Lender's Game then recommend Lender's Shadow to read right after it. It's the same story told from the perspective of Bean.
posted by CathyG at 9:02 AM on July 8, 2011

Ender's, not Lender's. Autocorrect grrr
posted by CathyG at 9:04 AM on July 8, 2011

BoneShaker by Cherie Priest. Includes airships and zombies in an alternative-history Seattle - loved it!!! The story alternates perspectives between mom and her teen soon looking for his missing dad.
posted by SarahbytheSea at 8:14 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also Snowcrash by Neal Stephensen. If she likes that, also try A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer.

Nthing the Uglies series, Ender's Game; and I've heard good things about World War Z. Agreed to try some graphic novels.

I haven't read it so can't recommend it, but another violent teens-fight-to-the-death tale is Battle Royale: it was originally a novel and a manga/comic series (translated from Japanese).
posted by SarahbytheSea at 8:29 PM on July 8, 2011

Hi it's me again. I'm wondering if she liked the futuristic/scifi side of Hunger Games, she might also like William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy, and maybe the Bridge Trilogy:

- Neuromancer (1984) - though some people may have been turned off this in highschool?
- Count Zero (1986)
- Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988)
- Virtual Light (1993)
- Idoru (1996)
- All Tomorrow's Parties (1999)

Similar to Neal Stephensen, there is alternating, interweaving points of view between characters; I remember some books have a lot of chaotic fun when all the threads finally come together. Also several of the characters are mercenaries, hackers, messengers, mobsters... so decent action.

Note it seemed to me that the pace slows down in the last two books, and in some of William Gibson's later books.
posted by SarahbytheSea at 8:41 PM on July 8, 2011

2nding Divergent. Not quite as compelling as HG, but a quick read with a strong female protagonist.

Also (all YA, for what it's worth):
Rot and Ruin, Jonathan Maberry
Life as we knew it, Susan Beth Pfeffer
Lips Touch: Three Times, Laini Taylor
Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver
Dangerous Angels, Francesca Lia Block
Looking For Alaska, John Green
13 Little Blue Envelopes, Maureen Johnson
posted by magnoliacoffee at 3:57 PM on July 9, 2011

City of Ember? I can't remember if it has POV changes, but it's not slow-paced and has a similar theme. I picked up the first Hunger Games book because it sounded a bit like City of Ember (which I loved). Post-apocalyptic teen fiction ftw. If you haven't seen the movie, it's about a city that was built underground in preparation for nuclear war, except that it was initially populated only with babies and elderly people to raise them. They were not allowed to tell the children about the surface, so any knowledge of the outside world died with them. Everyone in the town believes that the universe is simply the City of Ember surrounded by infinite darkness in every direction, and those who've tried to wander too far get killed or go insane. But the City is starting to fall apart. Cue spunky teen protagonists.

The sequel (Town of Sparks) is OK, if she reads City of Ember and likes it, it's probably worth a read. The book after that (Prophet of Yonwood) has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the previous two books and I found it pretty boring. Haven't read the fourth one but I think it flips back to the setting of the first two books.
posted by purplecrackers at 2:40 PM on July 11, 2011

I apologize for the POV confusion. These are all great suggestions and I am going to recommend them to her!
posted by eleanna at 4:20 PM on July 11, 2011

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