The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
In anticipation of the big-screen rendition of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, we have curated a collection of YA books where the thrill of dystopian adventures meets the pulse-pounding intensity of The Hunger Games. These novels explore narratives that echo the spirit of survival, rebellion, complex characters, and the gripping tension between power and resilience.
For Fans of The Hunger Games
The Meadows by Stephanie Oakes
Everyone hopes for a letter—to attend the Estuary, the Glades, the Meadows. These are the special places where only the best and brightest go to burn even brighter.
When Eleanor is accepted at the Meadows, it means escape from her hardscrabble life by the sea, in a country ravaged by climate disaster. But despite its luminous facilities, endless fields, and pretty things, the Meadows keeps dark secrets: its purpose is to reform students, to condition them against their attractions, to show them that one way of life is the only way to survive. And maybe Eleanor would believe them, except then she meets Rose.
Four years later, Eleanor and her friends seem free of the Meadows, changed but not as they’d hoped. Eleanor is an adjudicator, her job to ensure her former classmates don’t stray from the lives they’ve been trained to live. But Eleanor can’t escape her past . . . or thoughts of the girl she once loved. As secrets unfurl, Eleanor must wage a dangerous battle for her own identity and the truth of what happened to the girl she lost, knowing, if she’s not careful, Rose’s fate could be her own.
The Spells We Cast by Jason June
Nigel Barrett has spent his whole life preparing for the Culling, a spell-casting competition that determines which of the world's teenage magicians will be stripped of their powers to preserve magical balance. But nothing could have prepared him to face Ori Olson, a broody rival whose caustic wit cloaks a painful past. From the moment Nigel and Ori meet, sparks fly. Their powers are stronger, more thrilling, the closer they get—not that they can risk getting attached. Because as the field narrows and the Culling grows more dangerous, Nigel and Ori realize there's more at stake than just their powers. The greatest threat to magic, their future, and all of humanity might be the connection growing between them. . . .
Nightbreaker by Coco Ma
Fifteen years ago, The Vanishing thrust Manhattan into darkness, forever changing the City That Never Sleeps. Aboveground, resilient New Yorkers have adapted by clinging to the vestiges of their cosmopolitan lives. Below the streets--well, you never go underground unless you have a death wish.
Or unless you're Rei Reynolds.
By day, Rei attends the an elite New York prep school, but by cover of night, she's is a self-initiated warrior with a knack for hunting Deathlings, the deadly creatures that haunt Manhattan's subway tunnels and blood-soaked streets at night. All Rei wants is to avenge her parents, who were slaughtered years ago by the nightmarish monsters.
The Tournament is the only path to the career Rei has always dreamed of--becoming a Maverick, the city's elite Deathling-killing force. Winning should be a breeze, but the one potential problem is fellow competitor Kieran Cross, Rei's infuriating ex with whom she shares a bitter history. But as the Tournament progresses--and the cutthroat betrayals mount--everything Rei believed about who she can and cannot trust is called into question. She soon becomes the target of everyone who wants to keep the city's ruling class in power, as well as those who seek to bring it down.
In other words, Rei is positively and completely screwed.
Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White
Prepare to die. His kingdom is near.
Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.
But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.
Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.
Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson
Jamal Lawson just wanted to be a part of something. As an aspiring journalist, he packs up his camera and heads to Baltimore to document a rally protesting police brutality after another Black man is murdered.
But before it even really begins, the city implements a new safety protocol...the Dome. The Dome surrounds the city, forcing those within to subscribe to a total militarized shutdown. No one can get in, and no one can get out.
Alone in a strange place, Jamal doesn't know where to turn...until he meets hacker Marco, who knows more than he lets on, and Catherine, an AWOL basic-training-graduate, whose parents helped build the initial plans for the Dome.
As unrest inside of Baltimore grows throughout the days-long lockdown, Marco, Catherine, and Jamal take the fight directly to the chief of police. But the city is corrupt from the inside out, and it's going to take everything they have to survive.
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody & C.L. Herman
The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins.
Every generation, at the coming of the Blood Moon, seven families in the remote city of Ilvernath each name a champion to compete in a tournament to the death.
The prize? Exclusive control over a secret wellspring of high magick, the most powerful resource in the world―one thought long depleted.
But this year a scandalous tell-all book has exposed the tournament and thrust the seven new champions into the worldwide spotlight. The book also granted them valuable information previous champions never had―insight into the other families’ strategies, secrets, and weaknesses. And most important, it gave them a accept their fate or rewrite their legacy.
Either way, this is a story that must be penned in blood.