This weekend sees the release of The Hunger Games, and it looks like it’s going to be a big deal. Box-office watchers have breathlessly reported that advance tickets are selling like hotcakes, outpacing the presales for that other young-adult-book-series-turned-movie-franchise that shall remain nameless (the one with the sparkly vampires). The Hunger Games movie could well make $90 million its first weekend, which would be huge. (That’s what the first Harry Potter made when it opened.)
But when the movie is over and the lights come back on, what’s going to fill that Mockingjay-shaped hole in your heart until the next film? It’s time to turn back and find some new books to obsess over until their theatrical adaptations.
If you like The Hunger Games because of its post-apocalyptic setting…
Read World War Z. While not a young-adult novel (and probably not the best for younger readers), the setting is certainly post-apocalyptic. The book is an “oral history” of a 10-year, worldwide war with zombies. It’s been reported that author Max Brooks based the style on oral histories he’s read of World War II.
Chances for a movie? There’s a movie already in development, with Brad Pitt attached to star. Right now plans are to release it next summer, so you have a year to read it.
If you like The Hunger Games because it has a strong, female lead-character…
Read A Great and Terrible Beauty. It’s the first book in a young-adult trilogy, but unlike The Hunger Games, it focuses on the magical and the mystical. Author Libba Bray’s main character, Gemma Doyle — a girl with magical powers who attends an all-girls boarding school in Victorian times — is definitely as strong-willed as Katniss Everdeen.
Chances for a movie? Mel Gibson’s production company acquired the rights in 2006, but nothing ever came of it and eventually relinquished them. It’s possible that someone else can pick it up in the future, but there’s nothing in the works right now.
If you like The Hunger Games because it puts children in peril…
Read Ender’s Game. Like the tributes in The Hunger Games, the children in this book are trained to fight and battle each other in mock battles. And like The Hunger Games, protagonist Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks maybe the world should be set up in a different way.
Chances for a movie? The good news: There is a movie in production. The bad: It’s from the director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is not in the top tier of X-Men movies. Hugo’s Asa Butterfield has been cast as the young Ender.
If you like The Hunger Games because of the romance…
Read the Mortal Instruments series. If you’re in it for the romance, chances are you don’t mind if things get a little silly — think demons, angels, werewolves, that sort of thing. These books are often built around some kind of love triangle, and this is no exception. The main character Clary is torn between a fellow demon-hunter and — you guessed it — a vampire.
Chances for a movie? Things are still in the beginning stages, but Mirror Mirror’s Lily Collins was cast as Clary; The Karate Kid’s Harald Zwart is set to direct.
Have you found anything to replace The Hunger Games? Let me know in the comments.