The 20 Best YA Books Like Hunger Games & Divergent

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Divergent, by Veronica Roth, are two of the most beloved YA dystopian stories today. Both have been made into films and are New York Times Best Sellers. 

The 20 Best YA Books Like Hunger Games & Divergent

These novels combine the struggles of strong teenage protagonists bravely working through problems far and above those of the typical young adult. The main characters are brilliant female leads as well as fascinating underdogs. Katniss Everdeen and Beatrice Prior (Tris) fight against cruel, corrupt government systems and are courageous enough to change society for the better. 

Leaving such amazing stories behind can be difficult, which is why we created this list of 20 more books like them. So if you loved The Hunger Games and Divergent, you’ll find your new favorite YA dystopian book below (for our favorite YA book series, check out our guide here).

You can buy The Hunger Games here.

You can buy Divergent here

The Maze Runner

By James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Book 1)

Thomas awoke on the floor of an elevator with no memory. At the top, he finds “The Grove,” a society of boys and young men who all arrived the same way. Surrounding The Grove is a megalithic-sized maze. No one has ever found their way through or out. Every day, the strongest boys run the maze, trying to memorize it and discover a way out, but each night the maze changes, and they must begin again.    

One day, the elevator sends up an unconscious girl. The first and only girl. A note is clutched in her hand, deepening the mysterious circumstances.  It changes the boys’ beliefs about The Grove, the maze, and each other.    

You can buy The Maze Runner here.

The Testing (The Testing Trilogy Book 1)

By Joelle Charbonneaux

The Testing (The Testing, 1)

Sixteen-year-old Cia Vale has been chosen for The Testing, a competition for new graduates worthy of future leadership in this dystopian post-war world. The Testing is an honor and a curse. The benefits of winning are many, but there are mysterious and chilling rumors about the repercussions of failure. 

Cia’s father warns her to trust no one in the competition. But this proves very difficult once she is competing and partnering with the best and brightest. 

The New York Times bestselling series The Testing Series is an excellent option for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. The Testing is YA dystopian survival story that will tug at the heartstrings.  

You can buy The Testing here

#MurderTrending (#MurderTrending, 1)

By Gretchen McNeil


The Postman app is about to claim another victim. 

Dee Guerrera has been condemned to death for a murder she didn’t commit. She’s sent to Alcatraz 2.0, where the worst of society gets their just desserts, streamed live online. Millions of show fans follow the lives of their favorite condemned and executioners.  

This YA Dystopian read is both gritty and a campy good time. The plot is full of twists, and the satiric themes of corporate and government corruption are strong. The story is also a fabulous commentary on the callous nature of social media, just right for fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games.

You can purchase #MurderTrending here

The Program 

By Suzanne Young

The Program

In this YA dystopian survival romance, Sloane can show no emotional weakness unless she wants to be sent to The Program. In this dystopian world, suicide is an epidemic, and people are surveilled for any sign of depression. 

When Sloane falls in love with James, they promise that their love can withstand anything. But can it survive The Program? 

Depression nips at their heels as they struggle to keep their heads above water. If they slip, it’s off to The Program with anyone else who has shown signs.  The Program works, but what it takes may be worse than the mental illness it cures.

You can get The Program here.     


By Lynne Matson

Nil (Nil Series, 1)

When Charly wakes up on the island of Nil, she has no idea where she is or how she got there. She works to survive alone at first. But then she meets hotty Thad, who introduces her to Nil City, and she finds that her strange experience isn’t unique. Other teenagers are also stranded on Nil, trying to find a way to escape.  

In this story, the reader gets insight into the harsh realities of life on Nil through both Charly and Thad’s POVs. The hard and fast rules are: Once transported to Nil, you have 365 days to make it off the island or die. 

As Charly and Thad’s time ticks away, they try to make sense of their predicament, their growing attraction, and that getting off Nil may mean life without each other.   

You can purchase Nil here


By Alex Aster

Lightlark (The Lightlark Saga Book 1)

Every one hundred years, one ruler of the six realms must compete in “The Centennial” to break the curses that have plagued their realms for hundreds of years. One leader must die to break the curses. 

And The Centennial is upon us again.

Each realm has a different and horrible curse. Isla Crown is the leader of the temptresses of Wildling, a realm of women cursed to kill those with whom they fall in love. Isla will have to use all the twisted talents at her disposal to compete to break the curse before it breaks her. 

You can buy Lightlark here.

The Darkest Minds

By Alexandra Bracken

Darkest Minds, The (Bonus Content) (A Darkest Minds Novel)

In The Darkest Minds, half of the young have died from a terrible disease. The other half are Psi, or Psychics. Their powers are new and uncontrollable. And the adults find them terrifying. 

At ten, Ruby’s parents send her to the government rehabilitation camp called Thurmond. She has no idea what she did, but it must have been awful. And at sixteen, her abilities have strengthened, and she can’t hide them anymore. 

Ruby must escape from Thurmond and travel in search of a secret haven for powerful kids while being pursued by those that would imprison her. She will have to rely on her strange new powers and the newfound friendship of other Psi teenagers that she meets along the way.  

You can purchase The Darkest Minds here.

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 1)

By Lauren DeStefano


Genetic engineering has gone horribly wrong in this dystopia. In trying to perfect humanity, scientists accidentally shortened lifespans – twenty-five for men, twenty for women. Now, scientists race against time to fix lifespans while women are kidnapped and forced into polygamous “marriages” to breed as many children as possible and try to keep humanity alive. 

When Rhine becomes a forced bride, she doesn’t hate her husband as much as she should. Instead, she is showered with wealth, and he tries to take care of Rhine and her sister wives. But the wealthy family is not what it seems. But it is a gilded cage that she and her sister wives live within, and a noose threatens at the end of their imprisonment. 

This mysterious YA dystopia is a perfect fit for fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games. 

You can buy Wither here

All of Us Villains (Book 1 of 2)

By Amanda Foody and C.L. Herman

All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains, 1)

A New York Times Bestseller and indie bestseller, All of Us Villains is the story of a Blood Moon tournament to the death for the right to control a secreted source of high magick. Seven families keep this dark secret, sending a champion family member to compete. 

But this year, a tell-all book has been released, and the tournament has become the center of the world stage. As the title suggests, the tournament brings together the best of morally gray characters to do the worst of morally gray tasks. All of Us Villains is a gritty, dystopian underworld win for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.  

You can buy All of Us Villains here.


By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae The Illuminae Files Book 1

Everything is going wrong. It is 2575, and there’s been an invasion on Kady’s planet, as two megacorps fight over planet ownership. Kady and Ezra are forced to evacuate the planet together and, to make it all worse, they just broke up. 

A plague breaks out, with frightening mutations affecting the ships. An AI may have gone rogue. And Kady and Ezra are going to have to work together to survive, despite barely being able to speak to one another. 

This dystopian space opera is written in a format that includes emails, medical reports, files, maps, and other hacked documents, for a unique reading experience. It is a perfect pick for fans looking for books similar to The Hunger Games and Divergent

You can purchase Illuminae here


By Ally Condie


Wouldn’t it be convenient if you were just supplied with a soul mate and didn’t have to worry about finding one yourself? This is the premise of the YA dystopia Matched. The Society, through its design process, has a formula that matches people with their ideal soulmates. 

Cassia has always believed in the system. 

Until the day she’s shown her match, and more than one mate flashes across her screen. She’s told it’s a glitch. It’s also a crack in her solid belief in the infallibility of The Society. Armed with choice in a totalitarian “utopia” stripped of choice, what will Cassia do? Can she dare to choose for herself?

You can buy Matched here

Recruitment: A Dystopian Novel (The Resistance Trilogy Book 1)

By K.A. Riley

Recruitment: A Dystopian Novel (The Resistance Trilogy)

Tomorrow is November 1st, the anniversary of the declaration of war against the Eastern Order, And tomorrow, Kress turns seventeen. Which is when the recruiters will come to take Kress and the other seventeen-year-olds away. Permanently. 

The “seventeens” are brought to an unknown location where they train in combat, do grueling fitness training, and have intelligence and psychological testing. But the training won’t end, and those in charge begin to seem more like jailers than trainers. Nothing about training makes sense, and Kress and her friends need to figure out the reality of their situation to survive.  

You can purchase Recruitment here

Graceling (Graceling Realm Book 1)

By Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm, 1)

Katsa is a graceling, one of the select born with a unique gift. Katsa’s grace is killing, which doesn’t feel like a gift. Since she was eight years old, Katsa has worked as the king’s assassin. Her life has been one big violent bloody mess.

Until she meets Prince Po from another kingdom, whose grace is fighting. And she begins to rethink her place in the world. 

This lyrically written YA fantasy dystopian is great for fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games.

You can buy Graceling here

Blood Red Road

By Moira Young

Blood Red Road (Dustlands) by Moira Young

Blood Red Road is an internationally acclaimed YA post-apocalyptic survival adventure novel, optioned for film before it even came out in publication, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent

Four horsemen kidnap Saba’s beloved twin brother Lugh right in front of her. Saba and Lugh have always lived in a sandstorm-plagued wasteland, where they survived with their family as scavengers. Now Saba must venture out into a violent world far worse than her own in search of her brother. 

What she finds is a vicious ability to fight and survive. 

You can purchase Blood Red Road here

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days Book 1)

By Susan Ee

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days)

Angels of the Apocalypse are taking vengeance on humanity for killing Archangel Gabriel. Penryn takes care of her schizophrenic mother and wheelchair-bound sister, Paige. One day Paige is kidnapped by Angels. In an unlikely alliance, Penryn teams up with an angel, Raffe, whose wings have been cut off, to search for and recover her little sister. 

This YA read is great for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent for its strong, unbreakable female lead, gritty dystopian world-building, and heartrending family dynamics. 

You can buy Angelfall here

The Princess Trials: A young adult dystopian romance

By Cordelia K. Castel

The Princess Trials: A young adult dystopian romance

Nuclear waste and desertification have taken over the earth. Small kingdoms live locked behind city walls that shield them from radiation. The divide between the rich elites and the poor is extreme. 

Zea has never had enough. In her sixteen years, she has lived in drudgery, and her future looks no different. She joins the group of thirty women competing to marry the prince, not for wealth or comfort, but in hopes of finding royal weaknesses to aid the revolution. 

You can purchase The Princess Trials here

Fire & Flood

By Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood

Fire & Flood is a thrilling take on the YA dystopian competition. Tella Holloway’s little brother is dying. Doctors can’t figure out what is wrong, and her parents move the family out into the country for the fresh air in the hope of a miracle. 

But nothing is going right, and there is no hope…until Tella gets instructions on becoming a competitor in The Brimstone Bleed, a literal race for the cure. Each contender competes for the most important prize, a cure for an ill loved one. The Brimstone Bleed is a grueling race across treacherous terrain. Fire & Flood asks how far you would go to save someone you love. 

You can purchase Fire & Flood here.

The 100

By Kass Morgan

The 100

In this dystopian book like The Hunger Games and Divergent, the earth is uninhabitable due to a nuclear war centuries ago. The last of humanity lives in a spaceship floating in orbit around the planet. But the ship is running out of resources, and something must be done soon to find a permanent solution. Like humanity returning to earth, for example.  

So the Chancellor sends the expendable one hundred teenage criminals to test earth’s safety. Wells, the Chancellor’s son, went to earth for the girl he loves. Bellamy was never meant to be there but snuck on board to be with his sister. Glass snuck back aboard the orbiting ship, which is just as dangerous, it turns out. These “criminals” must survive and resettle an inhospitable planet and maybe even save humanity at the same time. 

You can buy The 100 here

Under the Never Sky Enhanced Edition (Under the Never Sky Trilogy Book 1)

By Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky

This book, similar to The Hunger Games and Divergent, has two kinds of people. The dwellers and the outsiders, who the dwellers call savages. The dwellers live in a utopia inside domed cities, and the outsiders live a tribal existence outside the sheltered domes. 

Aria and Perry tell their story, an alternating POV between a dweller and an outsider. Aria must survive outside the domed city, and Perry, an outsider, will help her. But Perry also needs her because she holds knowledge that could save him as well. 

You can purchase Under the Never Sky here

Wolf by Wolf: One girl’s mission to win a race and kill Hitler (Wolf by Wolf, 1)

By Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf: One girl’s mission to win a race and kill Hitler (Wolf by Wolf, 1)

This sci-fi alternate history is set in a dystopia where Germany and Japan won WWII. 

Yael, a Jewish teenager living in Germania, is a former death camp prisoner who was the subject of medical experiments. 

The experiments were successful, making Yael able to ‘skin-shift.’ She joins a resistance group with the mission of assassinating Hitler. Yael joins the Axis Tour, a touring motorcycle competition, posing as the winner from the last year in hopes of becoming the one with the honor of killing Hitler herself. 

Wolf by Wolf is a great choice if you’re looking for the dystopian and competition elements of both The Hunger Games and Divergent, combined with gritty, imaginative fantasy and sci-fi. 

You can buy Wolf by Wolf here


What type of books are The Hunger Games and Divergent?

The Hunger Games and Divergent are young adult dystopian novels. Both books are set in futuristic worlds with severe class divisions. The Hunger Games and Divergent also have elements of science fiction, where the elite classes have the highest degree of science and technology, and the lowest classes do not typically have these advancements (unless they are stolen).

What reading level is The Hunger Games?

The Hunger Games is considered a 5.3 reading level, ideal for 11-13-year-olds. Some people have objected that The Hunger Games is intended for older readers, but that is due to violence, not readability. Many sites list The Hunger Games as 12+ for maturity reasons.

What reading level is Divergent?

Divergent’s reading level is roughly 5.0, which is also ideal for 11-13-year-olds. However, like in The Hunger Games, 12+ is the suggested age for readers due to violence and situational fear.

What are similar themes in The Hunger Games and Divergent?

Divergent and The Hunger Games share themes of courage and bravery. In addition, they both address themes of government control and the importance of individual choice. Both also have a romantic theme, but it is handled differently in each.

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Sara Zeller