The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Book recommendations for Hunger Games fans

The Hunger Games movie franchise has returned with the highly-anticipated adaptation of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and its release just may spark the resurgence of dystopian literature.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hit theaters on November 17.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hit theaters on November 17.  © Collage: IMAGO / Everett Collection & Unsplash/@claybanks

Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games book series and subsequent film adaptations took the world by storm in the early 2010s, kicking off a frenzy of dystopian stories across the entertainment industry.

Directed by franchise veteran Francis Lawrence, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes stars Tom Blyth as a young Coriolanus Snow as he navigates his role as a mentor in the 10th Hunger Games.

Assigned to District 12 Lucy Gray Baird (played by Rachel Zegler), Snow begins his calculated rise to the top as he helps evolve the games into the most powerful tool in the Capital's arsenal.

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With the prequel flick now in theaters, these are the thrilling reads you need to add to your TBR to continue the pulse-pounding adventure!

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe is set in a dystopian future where natural death has been eradicated.
Scythe is set in a dystopian future where natural death has been eradicated.  © Screenshot/Instagram/jenni_t_reads

Neal Shusterman's Scythe is an utterly chilling read set in a futuristic world in which humanity has conquered every threat on their lives, making everyone effectively immortal.

To combat overpopulation, scythes are tasked with killing people at random to replicate natural death and maintain balance in the world.

The book's leads, Citra and Rowan, are selected to train as future scythes, where they are put to the ultimate test to prove their abilities — and save their lives.

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Scythe has expanded into a trilogy with sequels Thunderhead and The Toll.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

The Grace Year is has been marketed as a cross between The Hunger Games and The Handmaid's Tale.
The Grace Year is has been marketed as a cross between The Hunger Games and The Handmaid's Tale.  © Screenshot/Instagram/elisa_reads_again

If The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has got you craving a good old YA dystopian, The Grace Year just might be the best pick for you.

Published in 2019, the book follows 16-year-old Tierney James, who lives in a future where girls are banished to the wild for a year to rid them of a dangerous innate magic it is believed girls can yield.

In her year of banishment, Tierney must battle threats not only from the natural environment but also from men seeking to kidnap the girls to auction them off on the black market.

A haunting vision of the future, The Grace Year is one dystopian you won't want to miss.

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica  © screenshot/Instagram/marcyreads

If you're looking for a read with a dark dystopia aimed at an older audience, look no further than Tender is the Flesh.

A bit more on the horror side than the traditional dystopian read, Agustina Bazterrica's tale is set in a future in which a virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans, paving the way for "special meat" to take its place.

And what is that "special meat?" Yep, humans.

Evidently not for the faint of heart, Tender is the Flesh follows Marcos, an employee at a meat processing plant who wrestles with moral conflict lying below the surface of his job.

Reflecting the more brutal elements of The Hunger Games franchise, Tender is the Flesh is the perfect read for fans looking to elevate their dystopian shelves.

#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil

#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil has expanded into a trilogy.
#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil has expanded into a trilogy.  © Screenshot/Instagram/paperbackbones

In #MurderTrending's depiction of the "near future," convicted felons face executions at Alcatraz 2.0, a prison reality show of sorts that streams the deaths for the rest of the country's viewing pleasure.

But when 17-year-old Dee wakes up in Alcatraz 2.0, imprisoned for a crime she didn't commit, she must figure out a way to prove her innocence before it's too late.

With a similarly horrifying spin on reality TV shows as The Hunger Games, #MurderTrending will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page.

Happy reading, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / Everett Collection & Unsplash/@claybanks

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