Friday, May 02, 2014

For Divergent Fans

I love providing patrons with book recommendations, whether it's for a grandparent looking for great read alouds for visiting grandchildren, or helping a newly independent reader find fun easy chapter books. One of the more challenging questions is when I'm asked, "I read X and loved it! What other books are like it?"  This is why knowing about a wide variety of books is important; even if I haven't read the book in question, I should know enough about it (and have read widely enough) so that I can make some suggestions.  Recently, I helped a patron (adult) find books that were similar to Divergent; she had just finished the series and wanted something that was a "page turner." I immediately suggested Cassandra Clare's series, but she had already started The Mortal Instruments series.  I'll be honest: I started the trilogy back in 2011, but never finished it. I'm not a huge fan of dystopia, but I've read and enjoyed enough futuristic novels featuring heroines that I was able to send her off with a few suggestions. My list is a bit more broad than what others would put on a  Divergent read alike lists; some would only include books in which government control of its citizens is a major factor in the story (as it is with Divergent), but it's a "read ALIKE" not a "read EXACTLY LIKE."

Cinder. Oh, the Lunar Chronicles series is so, so cool.  Re-imagined fairy tales set in a plague-stricken world! A half-human, half-robot heroine! What's not to love?  This series has been super popular with our patrons ever since its publication in 2012; Scarlet, its sequel, continues the adventures. Cress, the third story, was released this year. 

Crash is an intense science fiction read with a Romeo and Juliet twist. Jules constantly has a vision of a horrific car crash, but the identity of the victim is never clear.  To her horror, she discovers that the son of a rival pizza parlor family may be involved.  This is a trilogy; Bang (#2) was published last year. Fans will have to wait until June for the conclusion, Book #3 (titled Gasp). 

Okay, so Dust Girl probably won't be on most Divergent read alike lists. It's fantasy--and historical fantasy at that.  In my defense, the patron emphasized "page turners." But if you like trilogies with a strong heroine with intense story lines, the American Fairy trilogy should be on your list. As a biracial teen living in Dust Bowl era Kansas, Callie has always felt different.  How different wasn't fully apparent until she learned that she was half fairy.  When her mother suddenly disappears, she embarks on a madcap quest to find her and to fight her father's fairy people.  Golden Girl (#2) finds Callie in 1930s Hollywood; Bad Luck Girl, which concludes the series, is set in Jazz Age Chicago (to be published in late May). 

Life As We Knew It  was written several years before the onslaught of Hunger-Games inspired YA dystopian novels featuring brave heroines, so I hope it's not been forgotten. I try to recommend it whenever I can.  After Miranda and her family survive a catastrophic meteor hit,  she keeps a diary in which she chronicles the chaos and devastation caused by the hit (which includes tsunamis and earthquakes).  This is #1 in the Last Survivors series; The Dead and the Gone (book #2) features a boy living through the same events in New York City (#1 takes place in the country); Miranda's story continues in #3 (This World We Live In), with #4 (The Shade of the Moon) is from the perspective of Miranda's brother, Jon, after they leave their home. 

Matched  includes the theme of government dictatorship, but with more romance than other similar stories. As a member of the Society, Cassia has always known that her husband would be chosen for her. As an obedient member, she's never questioned this, until the dramatic on-screen reveal of her intended briefly changes to that of a former member of the Society (and now an outcast).  Crossed continues Cassia's adventures;  Reached concludes the trilogy. 

Want more titles? If you're a Divergent fan, the titles on our Hunger Games read alikes list may interest you as well. 

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library 

To learn more about Fauquier County Public Library's collectionevents, and programs, visit us on FacebookTwitter (Kiddosphere's feed is here), or on our website.

No comments: