The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer are hugely popular, bestsellers, and never on the library’s shelves. Like other popular YA series, there are a variety of appeal factors, so finding the perfect read-alike for a specific reader can be tricky. That’s why I decided to make a flowchart style graphic, like I’ve done with If I Stay and The Hunger Games.
Lots of readers like the sci-fi elements of Cinder, but some readers are more interested in fairy tale retellings. There are those who like action-packed plots, and those who read for the characters or because of the thought-provoking ideas. Once I started digging, I found many other books I could have included. I chose these because they are either newer releases, older books that I thought might be overlooked, or the best potential matches for fans of The Lunar Chronicles. Some skew younger, because Cinder is a book that I feel safe handing to tweens, and I even included a couple of adult sci-fi books, because some readers are looking for harder sci-fi or to stretch their reading beyond YA. Most of all, I want to provide variety.
ADVENTURES IN SPACE
Complicated relations between Earth and colonies on the Moon, a driven, capable protagonist, and a hint of romance make this sci-fi debut perfect for fans of Cinder.
In this far future space adventure, Cade teams up with a gang of outlaws to find a boy who might be the key to curing humans of a debilitating illness — and to learning more about her own identity.
Think Titanic — in space. Lilac and Tarver are the only survivors of a spaceship that crashes. This one is perfect who want a space adventure with a lot of romance!
Space travel to a distant planet, a crash landing, alien encounters, and revenge: the perfect mix for those looking for a true sci-fi story.
Readers who love action-packed, plot-driven novels should check out Scan, an aliens-on-Earth thriller.
In this space adventure, Jeth only cares about one thing: earning enough money to buy back his parent’s spaceship from his crime boss so he and his sister can have a new life. When he’s given the task of salvaging a ship that contains a dangerous weapon, he has to decide how far his crew will go to earn their freedom. With lots of action, this book is sure to please fans of Cinder.
In a far future world, Jarra is abandoned on the wasteland Earth because of a disability that prevents her from surviving on another planet. When she joins an archaeology class to prove she’s just as capable as others. With interesting details, a strong heroine, and dashes of humor, this teen favorite will be a hit with fans of Cinder.
Ava lives on a conservative spaceship where men rule and women have no power. When she inadvertently transgresses social rules, she opts to escape to a scarred Earth rather than face her punishment: death. This is a thought-provoking science fiction novel that will appeal to readers who looking for a more literary story.
SCI FI RETELLINGS
A futuristic retelling of Sleeping Beauty, this novel is full of surprising plot twists and romance.
This post-apocalyptic re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Persuasion examines class, friendship, loyalty, and love in a world that has been devastated by genetic experiments.
This futuristic retelling of Snow White is perfect for readers who enjoy gritty stories with clever characters. Like Cinder, it blends elements of the original fairy tale in a science fiction setting.
This isn’t the “Alice” you knew. Beddor tells the “real” tale of Wonderland in an action-pack, steampunk-y adventure.
Readers looking to explore sci-fi retellings outside of YA lit should check out these novellas. “Leviathan ’99” reimagines Moby Dick…in space.
Asimov was a real scientist, and his sci-fi books are classics. Foundation was inspired by The Fall of the Roman Empire, and is perfect for readers who want to explore the “foundational” texts on which modern science fiction is built.
TWISTED FAIRY TALES
This noir-mystery borrows many characters and tropes from Little Red Riding Hood and other fairy tales. With lots of action and a tinge of the supernatural, this novel story will delight those who like their fairy tales dark, gritty, and fast-paced.
This novel is a new spin on the classic The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy has become a cruel dictator and must be overthrown. With lots of action, plot twists, and gruesome scenes, this novel is a lot of fun.
Readers who want to fall down a rabbit hole and discover another world will this re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland. Alyssa, a descendent of the Alice that inspired Lewis Carroll’s story, is drawn back into Wonderland to reverse a curse on her family.
This novel is about a different Scarlet than the Little Red Riding Hood inspired character from Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. This is a Robin Hood retelling, and while it features a historical setting and a heavy vernacular, the spunky heroine will appeal to fans of Cinder.
Readers who love how The Lunar Chronicles brings characters from so many fairy tales into the same story will enjoy this series.The first, Nameless, is a dark paranormal retelling of Snow White and brings in characters from Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. Instead of science fiction, these are horror novels.
In rich prose, this novel explores traditional folklore tropes in a complex, layered plot. Is there really something supernatural out in the woods, preying on people, or is there a logical explanation?
In the future, fossil fuels are scarce, and kids like Nailer scavenge old ships on the Gulf Coast to survive. When he finds a stash of oil, he thinks he’s made a lucky strike and can finally live a better life, but a girl on board complicates matters. This dark, richly imagined story is compelling, and readers who appreciate complex world-building will enjoy it.
Like Cinder, this novel is set in a future where the world struggles with class division and the role of technology in society. While this novel is less plot-driven and more thought-provoking, it will still appeal to many fans of Marissa Meyer because of the similarity in themes.
What books would you suggest to a fan of Cinder or The Lunar Chronicles?