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Dystopian Summer Reads

June 21, 2011

MATCHED–THE HUNGER GAMES–DELIRIUM–DIVERGENT

Question: What do these four young adult novels have in common? Answer: A dystopian theme.

And what, exactly, is a dystopian theme? A dark, disturbing future. Dystopian novels have been around for awhile, but they’ve recently swamped the YA market. These four novels tackle issues of love (and lack of it), evil empires, and ways of living different than the Red, White, and Blue.

While all of these novels have fantastic followers, Hunger Games grabbed the market a couple years ago and became so popular it’s currently in movie production. Honestly, I’m not one for dystopian novels, but I couldn’t put it down. Think Survivor meets Lord of the Flies with high action and philosophic questions.

The question I have is, what is it about dark futures that make readers want more dystopian books? Is every day teen life so stressful that it helps to read about something darker? Does a small measure of fantasy, no matter how disturbing, bring relief to the daily grind? Maybe teens need to visualize victory and believe they can conquer the big, the bad, and the ugly.

Let me know what you think and give one a try. At the very least, you’ll be hip in the teen market this summer.

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One comment

  1. I haven’t read any of the teen dystopian novels, but the reason why I am drawn to dystopian novels is because the societies in question tend to make us question aspects of our own. Books like “Brave New World” make one question which is better–comfort or freedom? Books like 1984 or Zamyatin’s “We” make us question the role of government, and how societies give governments that power. Isolating a philosophical issue from its present-day context can present a clearer picture of it. It’s not that you’re drawn to the futures, so much as the futures bring out the ideas.



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