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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dystopian, Not Didactic

Dystopian novels continue to be popular with Teen readers.

Is this because many dystopian worlds mimic current trends in today’s young adult society?  Or, could it be, this group of readers more closely identify with oppression and control and how it leads to rebellion?

Teens want to be allowed to chose their friends, destinations, and relationships without parental intervention. In The New Yorker article Fresh Hell, writer Laura Miller says, “The world of our hovered-over teens and preteens may be safer, but it’s also less conducive to adventure, and therefore to adventure stories.”

Today’s teens live in well-defined, segmented worlds. Their days cycle through home, school, activities, sports, all of which have rules set forth by adults and must be followed. They can be reached by parents at all times by cell phone and texting.

Many Dystopian worlds emulate the oppression and control which many teens feel they are made to endure. For today's teens, their everyday encapsulated worlds are really dystopian in nature and camouflaged as daily life.

These dystopian heroes do what many teens cannot, they go beyond questioning, they resist authority, and in the end successfully rebel. Often, finding the outcome far from perfect, but knowing change occurred.

If you were to write a dystopian novel, what would your world be like?

Recommended Reading List

The Ember Series by Jeanne Duprau
Feed by MT Anderson
The forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Giver by Lois Lowry
How I live Now by Meg Rosoff
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suazanne COllins
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Moon Crash Trilogy by Beth Pfifer
Birthmarked byCaragh M. O’Brien
Matched by Ally Condie
The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld


  1. Interesting. I'm new to the dystopian YA world, thanks to Hunger Games, and you have some good insights into why those books have become so popular.

    Good luck on the A to Z Challenge!

  2. I enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy so much!

    'The Giver' is a great book as well.

  3. I'm new to the world of YA, and this post offered great insight. Thank you.

  4. The Hunger Games trilogy is at the top of my favorite books list. I haven't read any of the others you named but some of them are sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for me to get around to them.

    M.J. Fifield
    My Pet Blog

  5. I don't love dystopian. It totally depends on the book! Some I like better than others.