I loved reading the Hunger Games. I picked it up on the recommendation of a friend and took to it in keeping part of my current favorite genre -preteen fiction. As novels go, I do love me some good Tom Clancy and Charles Dickins is peerless, but I have really come to enjoy the lightness and ease of kids’ books.
As Summer reading goes, this one is a real stand out piece that will satisfy your thirst for action, tension, interpersonal drama, a little bit of romance and science fiction. What it won’t do is last for more than a few days.
It’s a lightning fast read, so once you’ve devoured this set, here are a few comparably enjoyable works of the genre:
Written by Shirley Jackson 1962
This is a disturbing tale of two sisters and their uncle who live holed up in their house, rarely leaving for fear of the other inhabitants of their ordinary-seeming neighborhood. The backstory is that some years before the story, their family had several other members murdered over dinner one night. The prime suspect was the elder sister, but she got off on some lack of evidence. The town never believed in her innocence, and deep animosity developed between the surviving trio and their neighbors, a problem which is augmented by the psychosis of the younger sister who narrates the book.
Linda Sue Park 2001
If personality studies and local color appeal to you, then you should check out some Linda Sue Park. A Single Shard is the story of an orphan boy in ancient Korea who takes on work assisting a potter in his village. Of all Ms. Parks’ excellent books, this one stands out especially to me because of the endearing lead character. Orphan stories are hit or miss; they can be very sappy or charming, and this one is well written.
The Thief of Always
Clive Barker 1992
If you like a story with a little of the creepy factor, Clive Barker has penned some decently dark material. The Thief of Always is a monster that lures bored children in and devours them. Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, there is no explanation for the creature, except that it seemingly exists to feed off little boys and girls who aren’t satisfied with what they have. It’s unsettling like Pinnochio.
The Boy Who Reversed Himself
William Sleator 1986
Ignore the hideous cover. This is science fiction about a suburban girl named Laura. She reluctantly befriends a neighbor boy whom, she learns, is somehow entrusted with communication with the fourth dimension. Yes indeed. Alien creatures and strange landscapes in tow, the fourth dimension is described as a set of directions which are so inaccessible to common 3D humans that they can exist around us like a whole other world without our even noticing. It’s creative and a fun read.