Teen vs. Society – rise of dystopian fiction

My first couple of reads for the year have been dystopian novels and this looks to be a growing trend in Young Adult fiction. Personally I love dystopian novels.  I love the imaginations of these authors who build a society that could easily exist in the not-too-distant future.  They take a small piece of today’s society, such as social networking or consumerism, and ask ‘what if this got totally out of control?’

CoverIn Rae Mariz’ debut novel The Unidentified, 15 year-old Katey (AKA Kid) goes to school in the Game, an alternative education system run by corporations.  These ‘Games’ have been set up in disused shopping malls, so where there used to be shops, there are different spaces that students can go to try new products and participate in activities to increase their ‘score.’ 

The students vie with each other to be noticed and sponsored (or ‘branded’) by the corporations, thereby giving them celebrity status and financial freedom.  Students each have iPad-like devices that they use to update their profile pages and live streams. When Kid witnesses a mock suicide staged by an anonymous group called the Unidentified, she begins to doubt the system. The story will strike a chord with teens and they’ll be able to really relate to Kid and the suffocating world she lives in.

If you’re a fan of  YA dystopian fiction there are plenty of titles to choose from.  Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy is the most obvious choice (and the most popular) but here are a few others I recommend:

11 thoughts on “Teen vs. Society – rise of dystopian fiction

  1. Helen Lowe 8 February 2011 / 1:00 pm

    I have always enjoyed dystopian SFF as well and would add Malorie Blackman’s “Noughts and Crosses” series to your list and Patick Ness’s “The Knife of Never Letting-Go.” I would also argue that Philip Pullman’s “Golden Compass” has strong dystopian elements even though it’s more ‘alternate history/reality.’

    • zackids 8 February 2011 / 1:09 pm

      All excellent choices Helen 🙂

  2. Michael A 8 February 2011 / 5:28 pm

    John Christopher’s trilogy: “The White Moutains”, “The City of Gold and Lead” and “The Pool of Fire” better known as the Tripods trilogy are wonderful reading

    • Helen Lowe 8 February 2011 / 6:15 pm

      His “Beyond the Burning Lands” trilogy (post-apocalyptic) was also very good. And did he write “The Death of Grass?”

      • Donna 9 February 2011 / 11:46 am

        I might have to delve into John Christopher. Watched old Tripods series a couple of years ago from Alice in Videoland, and it was pretty atmospheric stuff.

      • Michael A 9 February 2011 / 4:29 pm

        Yes – death of grass was his as well. Talking of post-apocalyptic, my boys both loved the John Marsden “Tomorrow when the war began” series but I haven’t got around to it myself as yet.

      • zackids 9 February 2011 / 5:24 pm

        The movie of Tomorrow When the War Began is just as good as the book so it would be a good start.

  3. Allie 9 February 2011 / 10:50 am

    These sound like really fun books!

  4. Rach 10 February 2011 / 1:19 pm

    YA dystopian books are great, aren’t they? I’m a fan of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, myself. Actually, I’m a fan of all of his work. Bring on Goliath Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother is a great example of a not-too-distant future dystopia, which particularly resonates with the WikiLeaks saga. And let’s not forget NZ! Juno of Taris sums up the idea of Teens vs Society perfectly.

  5. Darryl 12 March 2012 / 4:37 pm

    Reblogged this on in the CRUMPLE ZONE and commented:
    There are so many teen books lying around the house I have started to read them myself. In turns out that, in our house, DYSTOPIA is the favorite genre. Some of these books turned out to be thematically dense and entertaining reads. Having read the adult novel “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy last year, I got to wondering about the role literature plays in changing our perceptions about technology, especially with respect to the environment, and even more tellingly, what they might make you you consider about the functional or aesthetic relevance of today’s technologies in a dystopian future. Given the popularity of dystopian fiction amongst teens today, I think it is also interesting to consider how this type of literature is political in nature. it undoubtedly has the power to alter (impressionable) perceptions, especially when the messages are repeated in book after book after book.

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