Authors Like Marie Lu (7 Book Recommendations)

Marie Lu was born in Beijing but moved to the United States at a young age. This cultural background gives Lu a unique voice that inspires her writing.

If you love young adult novels, you will likely be familiar with the works of Marie Lu.

Authors Like Marie Lu (7 Book Recommendations)

This Chinese-American author is renowned for her Legend series. First released in 2011, Legend is a young adult dystopian novel.

Launching this series, Legend was Lu’s debut novel. In the future, the United States has become a totalitarian society known as the Republic.

The book explores the relationship between June and Day, two people from very different economic backgrounds within the Republic.

Aside from this, Lu has worked on other brilliant book series, such as The Young Elites series and the Warcross series.

The Young Elites is a fantastic fantasy series that’s set in a Renaissance-like world. 

Meanwhile, the Warcross series is a perfect fit for science fiction fanatics. It follows the life of Emika Chen, a young bounty hunter living in a cyberpunk-inspired world.

If you’re an avid fan of Marie Lu’s writing, you will likely adore the wonderful writing of Marrissa Meyer, Kiera Cass, Tahereh Mafi, and Leigh Bardugo.

This guide will help you discover some brilliant books that you won’t want to miss!

Books By Marie Lu

Books By Marie Lu

Now that you know a little bit more about Marie Lu, let’s dive into her books and the common themes that are present in her narratives.

The Legend series is what put Lu on the map. Having been released in 2011, Lu’s debut novel covers a range of gripping themes.

Perhaps the main theme of Legend is revenge, which motivates both Day and June.

In particular, June wants revenge against Day, who is said to be responsible for the death of her brother, Metias.

The Young Elites

However, June and Day are ultimately united by their shared quest for revenge against the Republic.

Poverty is also a large theme in Legend. The narrative highlights the economic disparity between its two protagonists. June’s family is at the top of the economic hierarchy of the Republic.

In contrast, Day lives in a slum and is barely able to afford food. Legend emphasizes that the Republic is responsible for creating this massive inequality.

Meanwhile, the themes of illusion vs reality and abandonment are prevalent in The Young Elite series, particularly in the first book.

Adelina, the book’s protagonist, personifies this theme. She develops the ability to create illusions, causing the line between reality and illusion to become blurred.

The Kingdom of Back

The book’s exploration of abandonment shows the effect that this has on Adelina.

The protagonist is continuously abandoned by people, whether that be intentionally or unintentionally. Thus, this powerful heroine has to fend for herself.

Other pieces of works that Lu has written include Skyhunter, The Evertree, Warcross, and The Kingdom of Black. 

Authors Like Marie Lu

Marissa Meyer

Renegades (Renegades, 1)

Our first pick is Marrisa Meyer, a best-selling American author who is known for her work in the science fiction genre.

If you adore Lu’s science fiction books, we recommend reading Renegades.

Launching a series of the same name, Renegades is a science fiction novel that tells the tale of a group of humans with amazing abilities.

Known as Renegades, these humans are considered heroes by everyone, except for the Anarchists.

Another amazing narrative by Meyer is Cinder.

Inspired by the popular fairytale Cinderella, this young adult science fiction text takes a very different approach to this timeless tale. Cinder is comparable to Lu’s Legends, which was inspired by Les Misérables.


  • Meyer’s writing style is similar to that of Lu.
  • These books fit the science fiction genre perfectly. 
  • Like Lu’s books, they are also aimed at young adults


  • There is less of a fantasy element to Meyer’s writing, which has more of a presence in Lu’s writing.

Themes: Justice, Vengeance, Identity, Sacrifice, Greed, and Perseverance.

Suzanne Young

The Program

Suzanne Young is best known for The Program, a gritty dystopian novel that’s centered around a forbidden romance.

It’s set in a dystopian world in which a treatment known as The Program is used to correct mental health.

Sloane worries that she will be forced to undergo this treatment, which also erases one’s memories.

As a result, Sloane has to hide her true feelings. Only around James can she truly express herself.

This book is the first in a whole series. So if you enjoyed Young’s The Program, feel free to dive into these other books.

Though it feels a little more grounded than much of Lu’s writing, the dystopian themes of The Program complement many of the fascinating worlds that Lu creates.


  • Young’s writing is perfect for young adults. She creates three-dimensional characters that younger readers can relate to.
  • The social commentary in The Program is comparable to Lu’s critique of society, such as her portrayal of economic inequality.


  • Young’s writing can feel a little angsty, which may not be a hit with older readers.

Themes: Mental Health, Depression, Youth, Rebellion.

Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, 1)

Thanks to her captivating young adult fiction, American author Tahereh Mafi is a popular writer.

Many of her books fit into the same genres as the works of Marie Lu. Mafi is best known for Shatter Me, a young adult thriller that’s set in a dystopian world.

Told from the perspective of Juliette, Shatter Me is about a character who learns to see her abilities as a gift instead of a curse.

Seventeen-year-old Juliet has the unique power to kill or paralyze people simply by touching them.

If you prefer something with a stronger fantasy vibe, Mafi’s This Woven Kingdom may be a better fit for you. Influenced by Persian mythology, this is a book all about royal intrigue.


  • Mafi’s writing is complex and packed with emotional depth. 
  • Shatter Me explores a morally complex world. Not only is this interesting, but it’s comparable to Lu’s books.
  • Mafi’s characters develop dramatically. As a result, her characters feel three-dimensional. 


  • There is a heavy focus on romance in Mafi’s works, which not every reader will enjoy.

Themes: Rebellion, Romance, Identity, Royal Intrigue, Magic.

Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection, 1)

Up next, Kiera Cass is a great author if you adore the enemies-to-lovers literary trope. First published in 2012, Cass’s most famous novel is The Selection.

This young adult book is about a society that has been strictly divided into different castes. 

America Singer has the opportunity to participate in The Selection, which will allow her to escape her lowly social standing.

But for America, this competition is a nightmare as it means leaving behind her lover. 

Thanks to its complex dystopian world, The Selection is a fabulous read for fans of Marie Lu.


  • Centered around a rebellious female protagonist, The Selection is an outstanding option if you appreciate The Young Elite.
  • The Selection is exceptional if you enjoy reading about social class. In this sense, it is similar to Lu’s Legend.
  • Though you should never judge a book by its cover, it’s impossible to deny that the covers of many of this author’s books look stunning (see also “Authors Like Sherry Thomas“).


  • This book skews more toward a female audience than a male one. Therefore, some male readers may not enjoy this subject matter.
  • The Selection is filled with genre tropes that may bore some readers.

Themes: Rebellion, Class, Social Divide, Gender, Love.

Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone

Last but not least, this Israeli-American writer is known for her fantasy novels.

Bardugo is the curator of the Grishaverse, a shared fantasy universe that is home to numerous book series. This includes Shadow and Bone, King of Scars, and Six of Crows.

We advise reading Shadow and Bone if you have a passion for Marie Liu’s books. This story is full of intrigue and mystery.


  • Shadow and Bone is a beloved book for good reason. Bardugo is skilled at world-building.
  • The fantasy elements make Shadow and Bone a good replacement for The Young Elite.
  • This is perhaps the best-known book on this list. Thus, it shouldn’t be difficult to obtain a copy of Shadow and Bone.


  • The narrator of Shadow and Bone, Alina, can be a little irritating. This is because she is rather high-strung. Of course, some readers enjoy this narrator.

Themes: Power, Belonging, Greed, War.

Final Thoughts

Marie Lu has revolutionized the world of young adult fiction. Her writing has made this genre so much more diverse and compelling.

She explores incredibly interesting themes, such as economic disparity, revenge, and family.

If you enjoyed the work of Marie Lu, there are plenty of other amazing authors out there for you to try.

Feel free to experiment by reading the books of lots of these authors (see also “Authors Like Stephanie Perkins“). This way, you can find the writer who works best for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Marie Lu A Good Writer?

Lu is a wonderful writer who creates immersive worlds within the fantastic and science fiction genres.

Which Marie Lu Book Is Best?

This is a tough question! Arguably, Legends is not only her most famous novel, but also her best piece of writing.

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Anna Davis