‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: YA Novels for the ‘Hunger Games’ Lover

‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: YA Novels for the ‘Hunger Games’ Lover

Jun 20, 2012

Hunger Games Countdown Main

How about a break from all of those Hunger Games: Catching Fire casting rumors? While Francis Lawrence and co. are hard at work bringing Finnick, Johanna and the rest of the franchise newcomers to life, why not sit back and relax with a good book?

Reading can be fun in itself, but if you’re one of the many who relished Suzanne Collins’ books before seeing the story come to life on the big screen, you know there’s something special about being part of that transition, falling in love with text and then literally seeing it come to life right before your eyes. Lucky for us, the whole young adult novel adaptation craze is as hot as ever so there are quite a number of soon-to-be movies to choose from.

With the help of The Hunger Games fandom, Movies.com brings you a comprehensive list of the best of the best the YA-to-film realm has to offer.

Perri – Movies.com – Trylle Trilogy
Honestly? Amanda Hocking’s Trylle Trilogy isn’t particularly original and leans towards the tacky side, but boy does she know how to write a page-turner. The first book of the series, Switched, introduces us to Wendy Everly. Not being the most popular girl in school, constantly wrestling with her untamable curls and dealing with her admittedly bratty attitude is one thing, but at the age of 17, Wendy also must come to terms with the fact that she’s a troll. No, not like the toy or the beasts that live under bridges, rather the model-like, incredibly wealthy and powerful ones living in Förening, a secret community for trolls of the tribe Trylle in Minnesota.

When they’re born, Trylle babies are taken from their troll parents and given to human host families where they establish trust funds that ultimately fund Förening. When they’re old enough, Trackers are sent to retrieve them and bring them home. When Wendy’s Tracker, Finn, comes for her, not only does she have to adapt to her new identity, but – surprise, surprise – she also recognizes her feelings for her dashing escort home. Again, the writing is rather rudimentary, but Hocking has a wildly colorful world here with notably charming characters in situations that leave you itching for more. Media Rights Capital snagged the rights to this one just about a year ago and supposedly has District 9 co-writer, Terri Tatchell, adapting the trilogy. Who knows? This could be a good Elysium follow-up for Neill Blomkamp.


Kait – Victor’s Village – Divergent Trilogy
The city of Chicago has been barred off from the rest of the world, the government absolved. What lies in its place are five factions dedicated to holding up the virtues they hold dearest: Abnegation (The Selfless), Amity (The Kind), Candor (The Honest), Dauntless (The Brave), and Erudite (The Intelligent). At age 16, every individual must choose their own faction. The decision should be easy for Tris Prior until she finds out some shocking news about herself. When Tris joins the most dangerous of all the factions, she finds herself facing the destruction of everything she loves. Divergent is a refreshingly original book filled with almost non-stop action. The characters are a perfect combination of charming, flawed, and badass without getting totally unrealistic. As Tris transforms from a meek nobody to a leader, you can't help but be enthralled by her, even at the times when her decisions are outrageous.

Crystal – Mockingjay.net/Fictionalfood.net – Ender’s Game
Decades ago, Earth was attacked by the Formics, an alien race that made no contact except to start killing humans. Now, the military on Earth has joined forces to create the International Fleet and they search the planet for the world's smartest child that will be raised to become the military genius that will lead the human fleet to win the war. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is six years old when he's drafted into the IF to head into Earth's orbit to the Battle School where he must face a grueling physical and psychological training among the world's most brilliant children. They train in the Battle Room and Ender must face intense bullying at the hands of the older kids jealous of his amazing abilities. The movie starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Sir Ben Kingsley, and Viola Davis is coming out a mere three weeks before The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and I can’t even imagine what an exciting and busy month that is going to be. I got to visit the set in New Orleans for my fansite, EnderWiggin.net, in May and, as a fan of the book for 21 years, it was a dream come true. Hunger Games fans will love it.


Savanna – Hunger Games Fireside Chat – Delirium Trilogy
Can mankind live without love? Is a life without love even worth living? These questions lie at the heart of Lauren Oliver's Delirium, the first book in a dystopian trilogy that was recently optioned by Fox 2000 Pictures. Set in Portland, Maine, Delirium depicts a “happy and safe” society in which love – a.k.a. amor deliria nervosa – is considered a dangerous disease and has been almost entirely eradicated. At the age of 18, all citizens undergo a government-mandated surgical cure, and Lena – our protagonist – is scheduled to have her procedure in exactly 95 days. While Lena is understandably nervous about the operation, she doesn’t question it; in fact, she looks forward to it … until, that is, she meets Alex, a mysterious young man who changes everything. Delirium is, without a doubt, one of the most beautifully written pieces of YA literature that I’ve ever had the privilege of reading. The story does unfold a bit slowly, but Oliver’s prose is so lovely and descriptive that every moment spent with this book is completely worth it. Trust me! And for those of you who prefer faster-paced narratives, the sequel, Pandemonium, is much more energetic and action-packed.

Shylah – Down With The Capitol – Matched Trilogy
Imagine living a life where all of your decisions are made for you, from what you eat to where you work to who you love. There are no mistakes, no accidents; as long as you follow the Society's rules, you'll live a long, productive life. At least that's what Cassia believes until her Match Ceremony when she finds out that the boy she is destined to marry, Xander, is not the boy whose face flashes past on her dossier - the mysterious Ky. As Cassia explores her feelings, she delves deeper into the warped structure of the Society, learning with each passing day that her life of privilege comes at a cost. Armed with a desire for truth, and to simply make her own decisions for once, will Cassia choose to abandon the path laid out for love? Hunger Games fans will find lots of similarities in the Matched series- from a strong heroine in Cassia to a corrupt government in the Society - and with the third book set to come out this fall, there is still time to get hooked before the grand finale!

Underland Chronicles

Theresa – Down With The Capitol – The Underland Chronicles
Long before there was Panem, there was the Underland. Suzanne Collins’ first series, The Underland Chronicles, follows the story of Gregor the Overlander, an 11-year-old boy from New York City who Alice and Wonderland-style falls through a laundry room vent with his 2-year-old sister, Boots, into a dark land where humans live alongside giant versions of bats, cockroaches, rats, lizards, mice, ants, and spiders. The peace between them is uneasy and tensions are rising, the world looking to be on the brink of war. The humans who live in the stone city of Regalia believe Gregor to be the "Warrior" whose coming had been foretold to them through prophecies made centuries ago. Throughout his quests, Gregor faces ever-increasing challenges, both physically and emotionally, all while fighting for survival. In the books Collins uses themes of war, featuring scenarios such as POW's, biological warfare, genocide, and military intelligence. Despite its fantastical setting, the series is compelling, suspenseful, traumatic and heartwarming. It's essential Suzanne Collins.

Amanda – The Hob – The Mortal Instruments
One of my favorite YA series is The Mortal Instruments, and currently the first book (of six) – City of Bones – is being adapted for the big screen. It’s set in modern day NYC with a group of half human/half angels called Shadowhunters who are responsible for protecting the world from demons. There are also vampires, fairies, werewolves and other creatures called “downworlders.” The first book is about a teenage girl, Clary, learning about the Shadowhunter world while also learning about her own past … and of course there’s a ridiculously attractive bad-boy named Jace. There is much more to the plot, but it’s nearly impossible to explain within a limited word count because so much happens. (Seriously, reading the production company’s attempted plot synopsis for the film even left my head spinning!) And believe me when I say, this book contains one of the biggest, most shocking plot twists ever. As for the movie adaptation, it’s been floundering for a while – change in production company and director, delayed casting (because fan favorite for Jace, Alex Pettyfer, declined the role) – but if they do this film right, it could be unbelievable. The movie is set to be released on August 23, 2013.


Celine – HungerGamesTrilogy.net – Legend
Legend by Marie Lu is a dystopian novel that revolves around two central characters, June and Day. June is from a rich family in one of the Republics’ wealthiest districts while Day, their country's most wanted fugitive, lives on the streets. They cross paths when Day becomes the main suspect in June's brother's murder. June, the Republic's most gifted soldier, will do anything to avenge her brother's death. However, she starts falling for Day. What I like about the book, aside from the action-packed story line, is that it's written from both June and Day's perspective. I think the author did a great job transitioning between the two points of view. According to Marie Lu's official site, CBS Films currently holds the film rights with Temple Hill producing. The second book in the Legend Trilogy titled Prodigy will be released on January 29, 2013. 

Jacqui – My Hunger Games – The Fault in Our Stars
It’s hard to explain why this book is so good, as when you go to outline the plot, it sounds like one of the worst things ever written. The primary characters are teenagers with cancer. And yes, they meet and fall in love.  And yep, that sounds like a recipe for serious treacle, but this story is also full of wisdom; it’s sweet and philosophical but also, surprisingly funny. The story is narrated by 16-year-old Hazel Lancaster. She has terminal cancer and nearly died at the age of 13. Since then she’s hardly had the chance to be with people her own age so her parents decide that she should attend a support group. There she meets and falls in love with 17-year-old Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player and amputee. While this could be one of the great tearjerkers, Green doesn’t take you down that path, except by being brutally honest about the characters and their condition. Hazel is caustic. She’s funny and interesting. This book is going to make a heartfelt and interesting movie. The film rights were optioned by Fox 2000 in February of this year. 

Vampire Academy

Jessica – The Hob – Vampire Academy
The novels I'm dying to see on film are Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. The first book - Vampire Academy - follows Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir, or vampire/human hybrid, and Lissa, a royal vampire, as they re-adjust to their boarding school after a couple of years on the run. In addition to dealing with catty classmates and a furious administration, the girls have concerns about Lissa’s safety - they are sure someone is after her. But Rose has her own problems to deal with, like an administration out to make her life miserable and the feelings she has for Dimitri, the hot Guardian assigned to supervise and train her. The book has been optioned by Preger Entertainment, who has a firm commitment to see its script on screen. The production company has been actively searching for a studio, but continues to turn down deals that do not meet their expectations in areas such as a commitment toward production. Even with its romance heavy storyline, Vampire Academy is packed with action. It could easily be made into a film that attracts both sexes, á la The Hunger Games. Let’s hope that Preger is able to find a studio willing to get behind their movie.

Adam – Hunger Games Fireside Chat – His Dark Materials
I took some liberty by choosing His Dark Materials, since The Golden Compass has already been made into a film, but any great lover of this extraordinary trilogy knows that first attempt at a movie - though featuring an excellent cast - failed miserably in its goal of appealing to a broader audience and satisfying ravenous fans. With a lower budget and a much more faithful script, a second go-around could be extremely successful and very much beloved. Pullman's masterpieces are adventurous but also profoundly dark - a timbre The Golden Compass movie disregarded. Give us the real thing! Fancy special effects aren't needed, nor are big-name actors. Lyra deserves better, and her full story deserves to be on screen.

Beautiful Creatures Series

Elena – HG Movie Site – Beautiful Creatures Series
I know I love a book when as soon as I'm finished with it, I flip back to page one and start all over from the beginning. This is exactly what I did with Beautiful Creatures. The story takes place in a small, fictional southern town where everyone knows everyone and no one has any secrets. But Ravenwood Manor is filled with some of the darkest secrets of all. And no one can ignore the strange things that followed Lena Duchannes when she moved in, especially Ethan Wate. Ethan can't seem to keep his distance and it doesn't take long for him to fall for the unusual girl in the strange clothes who drives around town in a beat up hearse. But the dark magic that awaits could ruin them and everyone they care for. As if I didn't love this book enough, I know the movie is going to be amazing. Filming is close to complete and with a cast that includes Viola Davis, Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, Emmy Rossum and many many more, this movie just can't go wrong. We've already had a glimpse of Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich as Lena Duchannes and Ethan Wate and I think the still speaks for itself. The two have obvious chemistry that I think will translate beautifully to the big screen. And with four books in the series (Beautiful Redemption due October 24th), readers and viewers alike will be kept on the edge of their seats.

Erin – HG Movie Site – Quarantine: The Loners
Quarantine: The Loners is high school like you’ve never seen it before. McKinley High School has been quarantined after the outbreak of a deadly virus that affects those going through puberty. The school has banded into gangs, based off the cliques that they have been in. Every day is a struggle to survive. Several gangs have taken over the school, but due to circumstances that happened before the school was quarantined, David and Will Thorpe are on their own. This Hunger Games-esque novel, not due out until July, is non-stop action. The book is perfectly paced and has relatable characters. The ending leaves you on the edge of your seat, eagerly awaiting the next installment. The book has already been optioned by producers Mark Morgan (The Twilight Saga) and Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures Series) of Black Forest. Authors Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies are already adapting the screenplay, and two studios are aggressively pursuing the property. Hopefully we will see it in go into production soon. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Sara – Hunger Games Examiner – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky's quirky, quintessential teen coming-of-age novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower will be coming to the big screen this September. Since its release in 1999, Perks has garnered a devoted cult following amongst its readers – and it’s no surprise, considering its touching and relatable story. Perks features a series of letters from narrator Charlie to an anonymous friend, chronicling his first year of high school and his discovery of friendship, love, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. As a “wallflower,” Charlie is an observer of life more than a participant – and his observations are a strong reflection of the thoughts and feelings most any teenager experiences at some point. That’s part of what makes it such a universally appealing novel. For me, it was “that novel” that changed my life. I was in 11th grade when Perks first came out, and I’ve read it several times since then because it’s the one novel that I can continually come back to and still get something out of. It continues to shape me and influence me and give me something to hold onto. I hold this book so dear that I’d be wary of any movie adaptation – if it weren’t for the fact that the author himself also wrote and directed the film version. I can’t wait to see his vision brought to life on the big screen.

Tanvi – Hunger Games Network – Paranormalcy
Paranormalcy is the first of a trilogy by Kiersten White. Our protagonist, Evie, works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, a special international police force for paranormals. Evie possesses an ability to detect paranormals amongst human beings. She has two romantic interests - Lend and Reth - and also desires to live a normal teenage life which she's been denied for duty. The book was placed #7 on the NY Times Bestseller List, and has been optioned for film by Adler Pictures and Reverie Entertainment. The most drawing factor of this book is the female protagonist, full of sass and smart. Evie is witty, and the fast-paced narrative moves smoothly. Surely it'd be great to have a Buffy-esque heroine on screen once again! If cast correctly, Evie could be one of the most loved YA movie characters.

The Hunger Games Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday. There are 519 days until the release of Catching Fire.

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