The City of Ember was one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Despite being marketed toward children and teens, the City of Ember series is suitable for readers of all ages. Those looking for an immediate escape from reality will enjoy the tale of a young woman living in a city beneath their feet that the enigmatic “Builders” have constructed.
Hugh Howey’s Wool trilogy comes to mind when reading this book. You might be interested in some of the following titles if you’ve already read the series and want to read something similar.
Books like The City of Ember
Wool, by Hugh Howey
The City of Ember isn’t just a YA or middle-grade book; it’s also a popular choice for adults. Wool, which came out after The City of Ember, tells a story very similar to that of Wool.
Like The City of Ember, Wool is about a secret society, but unlike Ember, Wool’s residents don’t share their home with anyone. Hundreds of floors of a massive concrete city. Anyone else who isn’t in charge of cleaning is barred from venturing outside. Cleaning is a death sentence, and the mayor uses it as a form of punishment for silo-related crimes. The story follows Holsten and Jules as they begin to question the veracity of everything they’ve been told about the world outside.
Wool began as a short story, but has since grown into five novels and a television series, which will premiere in 2022. If you enjoyed The City of Ember, this book is a must-read.
Holes, by Louis Sachar
The setting and format of books like The City of Ember can surprise you. Stanley Yelnats, an innocent teenager, is tried and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit in Holes.
Sent to Camp Green Lake’s boys’ detention center, he joins the other inmates in digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep throughout the day, every day. The lake has long since dried up, but there are numerous holes, and the warden of the center is searching for something buried there. Holes cleverly teaches children that they may not always be rewarded for doing the right thing. It’s possible for life to be both difficult and magical at the same time. What matters most is learning how to make wise decisions in the face of adversity.
Anyone who enjoyed The City of Ember should enjoy Holes just as much. Please tell me if you’ve already read this book. Make sure to check out the rest of our Holes-like titles!
Out of my Mind, by Sharon M. Draper
While The City of Ember takes place in a fantasy world, Out of My Mind takes place in a different one: the human mind.
Melody is unable to stand or walk. She is unable to speak. Then again, Melody has an incredible photographic memory. When she can’t respond in a way that they can understand, she’s seen as mentally ill by most adults and most of her peers.
There is one thing Melody refuses to let her cerebral palsy get in the way of: telling the world she is not defined by it. Getting to know Melody’s thoughts as she tells her story is the most enjoyable part of this book for me. When she talks about how anything is possible for her in her dreams, it’s particularly poignant for anyone dealing with a mental health issue. The writing is superb, and the story even better.
Have you already finished reading it? Other great reads like Out of My Mind can be found on our library’s shelves.
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
We all go through the trials and tribulations of adolescence. Bridge to Terabithia and The City of Ember are two examples of excellent books on these topics.
While most of the summer was spent training to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade, the story focuses on Jess Aarons. His friendship with Leslie Burke blossomed when the new girl overtook him in the race for the school’s coveted “Terabithia” prize.
Something bad happens one morning when Leslie leaves for Terabithia without Jess. As a result, Jess is in a state of shock and is forced to lean on the strength Leslie has given him in order to cope with his loss.
Bridge to Terabithia has parts that will make you cry. In addition, there are sections that make your heart sing. Throughout the novel, the reader is immersed in Jess’s vivid imagination as he attempts to cope with his loss and traumatic experiences. Now is the time.
The Voice in my Head, by Dana L. Davis
Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now is Davis’s follow-up to her first novel, Tiffany Sly. The City of Ember and The Voice in My Head both immerse readers in a whirlwind of confusion, tragedy, and enchantment.
Indigo is grappling with the consequences of Violet’s decision. Violet, who is near the end of her life, plans to take her own life in the next few hours. Indigo isn’t sure how she’ll cope without her sister, until a voice in her head claims to be God and begins to offer her hope.
As long as Indigo follows the instructions of the voice, Violet will survive their journey to an isolated rock formation in the Arizona desert.
Readers have had a mixed reaction to The Voice in My Head. While Indigo’s voice may be an auditory hallucination brought on by trauma, the reader has the option of believing that the voice is something else entirely.
You can encourage your readers to think about faith and mental health while still allowing them to explore their own feelings and beliefs with this strategy.
Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
Comes Children of Blood and Bone, which hurls us back into fantasy.
Because of a ruthless king who ordered the deaths of all the maji, Zélie Adebola has been raised by people who lack hope. As long as Zélie has the chance, she can bring back magic and exact her own vengeance on King Roland and the monarchy.
In this book, the Yoruba people, Nigerian mythology, and star-crossed love are all riffed on. In that sense, yes, it is told in the style of many epic fantasy novels.
The strength of the film lies in its grand vistas, sweeping statements, and melodramatic encounters. In other words, if your thing isn’t epic fantasy, this might not be for you. However, if you’re anything like me and enjoy escaping into a fantastical world with high stakes and eye-popping scenery, you’ll love this book.
The Yam Po Club, by Kenechi Udogu
The thought of going to a boarding school has always made me nervous, so I avoid reading about it. Because of Harry Potter’s portrayal of boarding school life as idealized in the books, there have been countless ripoffs.
However, the Yam Po Club is quite different.
The first thing that drew me in was that it was a boarding school novel. This is in large part due to the narrator’s ability to convey a sense of firsthand experience. There are books that deal with painful rites of passage and memories that stick with you after you’ve moved on, like The City of Ember. The Yam Po Club is an excellent example of this. Onyebuchi’s first day at a boarding school is both terrifying and exhilarating for him. In Enugu’s all-girls secondary school, she meets Funke and Nnenna, who become lifelong friends and fellow outsiders like Onyebuchi. A tale of adolescence set in a boarding school other than the fictitious Hogwarts. Charming, heartbreaking, hilarious, and sad all at the same time.
The Girl of Ink & Stars, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Although I tend to steer clear of award-winning books (my tastes tend to be the polar opposite of those who select the winners), I can see why The Girl of Ink & Stars was chosen as the 2017 Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize winner.
Isabella volunteers to lead the search into the Forgotten Territories after Isabella’s best friend vanished from the island they both live on and are forbidden to leave. Isabella, on the other hand, is secretly hoping to find her long-lost father along the way. However, the world beyond the island is full of monsters, including a sleeping fire demon. This is a fantastic follow-up to The City of Ember, and if you enjoyed that one, you’ll love this one as well. Magic, terror, and adventure abound in works like The City of Ember. It is possible to find something positive to say about Ember by reading any of the titles above.