What's Left After The Hunger Games?

Photo by Murray Close

The Hunger Games

This weekend sees the release of The Hunger Games, and it looks like it's going to be a big-movie weekend. Box-office watchers have breathlessly reported that advance tickets are selling like hotcakes, outpacing the presales for that other YA-book-series-turned-movie-franchise that shall remain nameless (the one with the sparkly vampires). The Hunger Games movie could well make $90 million its first weekend, which would be huge. That's what the first Harry Potter made in its opening weekend.

But, when the movie is over and the lights come back on, what's going to fill that Mockingjay-shaped hole in your heart until the next film? It's time to turn back and find some new books to obsess over until their theatrical adaptations.

If you like The Hunger Games because of its post-apocalyptic setting…

Read World War Z.  While not a YA novel (and probably not the best for younger readers), the setting is certainly post-apocalyptic. The book is an "oral history" of a ten-year, worldwide war with zombies. It's been reported that author Max Brooks based the style on oral histories he's read of World War II.

Chances for a movie: There's a movie already in development, with Brad Pitt attached to star. Right now plans are to release it next summer, so you have a year to read it.


If you like The Hunger Games because it has a strong, female central character…

Photo by Murray Close

The Hunger Games

Read A Great and Terrible Beauty. It's the first book in a YA trilogy, but, unlike Hunger Games, it focuses on the magical and the mystical. But author Libba Bray's main character, Gemma Doyle—a girl with magical powers who attends an all-girls boarding school in Victorian times—is definitely as strong-willed as Katniss Everdeen.

Chances for a movie: Mel Gibson's production company acquired the rights in 2006, but nothing ever came of it and the company eventually relinquished them. It's possible that someone else can pick it up in the future, but there's nothing in the works right now.


If you like The Hunger Games because it puts children in peril…

Read Ender's Game. Like the tributes in The Hunger Games, children in the world of Ender's Game are trained to fight and battle each other in mock battles. And, like The Hunger Games, protagonist Andrew "Ender" Wiggin thinks maybe the world should be set up in a different way.

Chances for a movie: The good news: There is currently a movie in production. The bad? It's from the director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is not in the top tier of X-Men movies. Hugo's Asa Butterfield has been cast as the young Ender.


If you like The Hunger Games because, like every YA book, there is some kind of romance…

Read the Mortal Instruments series. If you're in it for the romance, chances are you don't mind if things get a little silly. The series itself is populated with typical YA fantasy elements, like demons, angels, werewolves, and that sort of thing. These books are often built around some kind of love triangle, and this is no exception. The main character Clary, is torn between a fellow demon-hunter and—you guessed it—a vampire.

Chances for a movie: Things still seem in the beginning stages, by Mirror Mirror's Lily Collins was cast as Clary in a movie to be directed by the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid's Harald Zwart.


Have you found anything to replace The Hunger Games? Let me know in the comments.



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Westchester's Pop Culture

About This Blog

Marisa LaScala

Marisa LaScala
Elmsford, NY

Articles Editor Marisa LaScala joined Westchester Magazine in 2003, and ever since she's blown every paycheck at the Greenburgh Multiplex. She also staunchly defends Richard Kelly, doesn't mind spoiling the endings of trashy movies you're curious about but don't want to pay to see, wishes the Hold Steady would come and rock out Westchester, misses Arrested Development more than anyone can imagine, and still watches cartoons and Saturday Night Live. You can find more of her cultural criticism at www.popmatters.com, where she is a staff writer.

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