In the wake of The Hunger Games, many authors have penned dystopian stories. Some of these books are probably only making it to press to ride the wave of this trend, but other series stand above the rest. Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy is a New York Times Best Seller and is up for multiple state-level awards. The second book in the series, Crossed, was released last November, and the third book, Reached, comes out next November, so we’re right in the middle of waiting to find out how everything wraps up. To keep you busy in the mean time, the Hub bloggers have assembled this list of readlikes for the series.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Like Matched, this is a dystopia in which love and the society’s rules around who you can or can’t love take center stage. It has romance, action, and a heroine who’s forced to reconsider everything she’s believed her whole life. When I book talk this book I say that it’s like Divergent and Matched had a baby and it’s this book!
The Giver by Lois Lowry
This book is an oldie but a goodie. Like Matched, every facet of life, including love and marriage, is controlled by the government–who are hiding the terrible secrets that lie under their “perfect” world.
Possession by Elana Johnson
This is a story of opposites: the haves and the have-nots are called the Goodies and the Badies and there is a strong delineation between their worlds. Readers will enjoy the pervasive sense of “Big Brother” watching over everyone’s actions, which makes the plot feel tight and suspenseful. Look for the sequel, Surrender, due out today.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
After being woken up 50 years too early from her cryogenic chamber, Amy finds herself living on a spaceship where every element of society, even mating, is decided by a man named Elder. Fans of Matched will love headstrong Amy, but the mystery of the murdered “frozens” and the increasing suspicions that Elder is hiding something dangerous make for one very suspenseful book. The romance doesn’t hurt, either! Its awesome sequel, A Million Suns, was so full of surprises it’s hard to imagine what could be in store in the finale, Shades of Earth. The only thing I didn’t like about this trilogy is that I have to wait until January 2013 for the third book.
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Genetic experimentation gone wrong has led to a future where men die at twenty-five and women die at twenty. To keep the human race alive, girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages with men. Rhine, captured to become an unwilling second wife, struggles to escape her luxurious new prison home. With the help of a handsome household worker, she might just be able to get back to New York City and her twin brother. This is another story that focuses on the dark side of love and mate selection in a dystopian future.
The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn
Everyone in Kayla’s society gets a bar code tattoo when they are seventeen. It’s supposed to make life easier and make you part of the system, but Kayla refuses, and there are dangerous consequences for herself and her family. Fans of Matched will like the strong lead character and the refusal to conform!
Brave New Love: 13 Dystopian Tales of Desire, edited by Paula Guran
When you’re in the mood for just a taste of dystopian romance, check out this anthology that is chock-full of familiar names and a few new ones as well. Dianna Peterfreund (For Darkness Shows the Stars and the Killer Unicorn series), Carrie Vaughn (Steel, Voices of Dragons), Kiera Cass (The Selection), and Maria V. Snyder (Inside Out/Outside In, the Poison Study trilogy) are just a few of the authors you will find within. Though this book may have to be read in short spurts because all of the short stories together become a little depressing, each individual story is really well done and will definitely appeal to fans of romantic dystopians like Matched.
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Waverly and Kieran are among the first generation of children born aboard the Empyrean, a spaceship headed for New Earth. They are destined to be married–but when the people aboard their sister ship, the New Horizon, stage a violent attack, Waverly and Kieran find themselves torn apart and thrust into leadership roles as they try to reunite–and salvage mankind’s future. Like Matched, this book examines the role of love and choosing who you’re with in a future society. What’s interesting about Glow is that it’s not so much a dystopia as an examination of what a closed society might look like after years on its own.
Scored by Lauren McLaughlin
Imagine your whole life being determined by a score. Academic excellence and sound moral choices earn you a high score, leading to wealth and prestige—as long as you stay out of trouble and hang with the right crowd. There are surveillance cameras everywhere, so be careful. The corporation is watching. Like Matched, this book features a strong-minded, daring heroine who takes a critical look at a controlling, futuristic society. Scored is a thought-provoking read with a premise that feels uncomfortably possible in this day and age—guaranteed to make you think twice about your SAT score.
The Declaration by Gemma Malley (sequels: The Resistance and The Legacy)
Want to live forever? If you sign the Declaration, you can. Longevity drugs have made the population so large in 2140 that it’s now a crime to have children. If you refuse to sign, you’re considered an outcast. Children born outside the law are considered surplus and made to work in slave-like conditions at Surplus Hall and to atone for their very existence. Not everyone’s in favor of living forever, but it takes Surplus teenager Peter, who has more knowledge of the outside world than most, to convince fellow Surplus Anna that they need to rebel.
What about you, readers? What are your favorite Matched readalikes?