5 BOOKS FOR THE DISSATISFIED HUNGER GAMES READER
- Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi— Brilliant YA futuristic dystopia that actually examines interplay between race/class/power; heterosexual male protagonist and rest of cast all POCs, brings critical lens to current USAmerican —> global institutionalized inequalities with many thrilling action sequences
- Graceling, by Kristin Cashore— action/adventure fantasy novel all about gender and power. Fabulous white, heterosexual female heroine, like Katniss, is bad at feelings, good at killing; unlike Katniss, her entire book is a study of her agency, and she thinks extensively on whether she wants a romance and ultimately makes that decision, too.
- Parable of the Sower & Parable of the Talents, by Octavia Butler— not YA, but the best dystopia ever??? Yes. Heroine & most of cast are POC, explores race & gender in futuristic unraveling of USAmerican society & one incredible woman who manages to build something new in the rubble; she is, like Katniss, logical & determined, and unlike Katniss, in charge.
- Octavian Nothing, by MT Anderson— YA historical duology about a heterosexual African American boy during the American revolution. The author explicitly plays on the popularity of YA fantasy dystopias to interrupt the reader’s expectations of a traditional fantasy narrative with the reality of US history— like Hunger Games, grim adventure that doesn’t traditionally conclude, unlike Hunger Games, explicitly about race
- Sisters Red, by Jackson Pearce— white werewolf hunting sisters in contemporary USA; older sister is focused, protective, and genuinely asexual!!! while younger sister has a perspective, agency, and doesn’t die. The entire book is about their difficult changing healthy A+ relationship.
I am excite about this list! (Looove the Parable books, had Graceling on my to-read list for ages.) I would like to add though, that there’s been a lot of talk about Paolo Bacigalupi’s racism and Orientalism in The Wind-Up Girl, so…. I don’t know if Ship Breaker is just not that way or what, but I WORRY.
I’ve seen Graceling everywhere.