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:

Get lost in The Maze Runner

the-maze-runnerThere is really only one word needed to describe James Dashner’s The Maze Runner – Wow!  Imagine that you wake up in a strange place knowing nothing but your name.  Your memory has been wiped and you have no idea what happened to you before you woke up in the pitch black of an elevator that opens to reveal a walled-off area and a bunch of boys staring at you.  The leader of the group tells you that you are in the middle of a maze, in a place called The Glade where these boys all live, carving out an existence.  Nobody knows why the maze is there or why they are all trapped inside with no way out that they have discovered in the past two years.  As well as trying to solve the maze they must survive the attacks of sinister blob-type creatures called Grievers.  The story follows Thomas and the other ‘Gladers’ who strive against the odds to escape the maze alive.

The story is heart-stopping and the plot races along.  It’s one of those books that you just don’t want to end and I was excited to discover that The Maze Runner is the first book in a trilogy.  Now I just have to wait patiently for James Dashner to write the sequel, Scorch Trials that comes out next year.  If you loved Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games you’re sure to love The Maze Runner.