Now that “The Hunger Games” has been released on DVD, students are being reminded of how much fun it was to read the books for the first time. Some of my students are picking up the books to read them again, but most of them are coming to me for recommendations of similar books to read in their free time.
Luckily, there is no shortage of books that are similar to “The Hunger Games.” Suzanne Collins’ trilogy falls firmly into the category of dystopian literature — literature that shows a “perfect” world and takes one aspect to an extreme in order to show us the dangers of such extremes in our society — and authors have been producing dystopian literature for decades.
Dystopian literature is so popular, especially right now, because of the anxiety of these times. We are facing a global recession, war, and a new tragedy every time we turn on the news. People turn to dystopian literature in these times because it calls to our attention the possibility of a different world, and makes us think about how much worse the world could actually be. Furthermore, each dystopian novel is equipped with its own Katniss — its own hero willing to risk everything to make the world a better place. For this reason, people with idealistic tendencies, and especially teenagers, love dystopian fiction because they still believe that the world can be improved.
Whatever your reason for loving dystopian literature, there is plenty of it to choose from. Some of the best authors in the world have written classic dystopian fiction for you and your teen to enjoy, and the following slideshow will give you some ideas for what to read after you’ve finished “The Hunger Games.”
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