Life After Hunger Games

I remember reading a review of The Hunger Games about five years ago when it first came out. It said that the book would appeal to the generation who was raised on reality shows such as “Survivor.” Not being a fan of any kind of reality show, I put this on the bottom of my pile. I got to it about a month later and cracked the spine while I sat in bed, assuming it would put me to sleep. Boy was I wrong! I stayed up way past my bedtime, debating and rationalizing with myself at the end of each chapter. I had put myself in Katniss’ world and couldn’t get out. Imagine being forced to compete in a competition to the death…and knowing it’s televised to the entire world! I got just enough shut eye to function at work the next day. I was delighted to find out that the story continued on in a trilogy format.

The Hunger Games was originally written for the teen audience, but the books are equally popular with adults. Ever since the popularity of Harry Potter, adult readers are not afraid to be seen carrying around popular stories about vampires, wizards, or even teen romances. The current publishing trend seems to be publishing trilogies. The tri-story is usually just enough time to cover the teen years and see the growth and coming of age of the characters, leaving you to imagine what their adulthood will be like. The three-story arc is also just long enough for the reader to stick with it and not move on to something else.

Now I know I’m not the only one who’s read the trilogy, seen the movie, and has the problem of what do I read now? Here are a few more trilogies that helped me lose more sleep:

The Last Survivors features Miranda and Alex, teenagers from very different backgrounds, coping with the same catastrophe: an asteroid hitting the moon that causes immediate climate change. I liked Life As We Knew It best of the three stories. It features Miranda who lives in a community similar to Litchfield. Her family deals with the tragedy by sticking together and making things work. Her story is a quick read, featuring journal entries of the year following the moon’s demise. Alex’s experience is completely different in The Dead and the Gone. He lives in New York City and has to learn how to get food and travel without the use of the subway. The two characters meet in the third book; The World We Live In.

Divergent is the first in another planned trilogy and tells the tale of Tris (short for Beatrice) who at age sixteen must choose one faction to live in for the rest of her life. The decision is not an easy one nor is the training that follows. This story oozes rebellion, anger and secrecy. I was literally biting my fingernails when Tris walked up to the podium and declared her faction. I couldn’t believe which one she picked! The book ended with quite a climax and I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel, Insurgent, that’s due out next month.

The Maze Runner series is like a futuristic Lord of the Flies. Thomas wakes up in a box screaming, remembering only his name. He pulled out by a group of teenage boys who live in a community surrounded by an ever changing maze. Tom struggles to learn their slang and lingo while his urge to get out into the Maze and find a way for everyone out distracts him. The series continues after some mysteries are solved in The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. The series was originally written as a trilogy, but its popularity led to a prequel, which is due out in August. That’s a long way from now to find out exactly how and why the Maze was built and why Thomas was chosen to be a participant!

If you’re yearning for another love triangle then Matched (a soon-to-be trilogy) will speak to you. It’s the story of Cassia and her “matching” ceremony. At age seventeen, teens are matched with their perfect genetic mate to make perfect little versions of themselves. Cassia’s match turns out to be “the boy next door.” Though an error occurs during her match upload and she can’t help thinking about Ky; a boy who is not allowed to be in the matching pool. The love triangle consumes the story and leaves the reader wanting to know what happens next!  This trilogy begs you to join either Team Xander or Team Ky. Crossed answers most of your questions, but leaves just enough room for the final book that’s due out next fall.

Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who has recently joined Team Peeta.

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