Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome to the Future. It Stinks.

Recently, the New York Times ran an article about the "new" trend in YA fiction, novels set in a grim and terrible near future, otherwise known as dystopias. I'm sure they're good at any number of things, but the Times is a little late to the game on this one. In the past few years, dystopian fiction for teens has grown from a few books into darn near its own subgenre. Here, have a few of my favorites.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver - Ever had a bad breakup and wished you could just remove all those awful feelings forever? In Lena's world, they have. Everyone over 18 has been surgically relieved of their ability to love, and doesn't that make life just peachy? Strangely enough, no. (Psst! The library owns it in e-book format as well!)

Rash by Pete Hautman - Welcome to the United Safer States of America, where road rage is a criminal offense and helmets are the most popular fashion accessory. Unfortunately, our protagonist, Bo Marsten, has a little bit of an anger-management issue. What happens to a decidedly unsafe kid in this super-safe world?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - This one's had a lot of press lately, what with the rumored movie adaptation and its steady presence on the bestseller lists. In the first book of a trilogy, sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen must compete in the Hunger Games. If she wins, she gets prizes, cash, and food to take back to her starving district. If she loses . . . well, let's just put it like this. The way she wins is to outlive every other competitor.

And of course, the classic dystopian novels, like George Orwell's 1984 and Lois Lowry's The Giver still have a strong presence. What are some of your favorites?

- Maureen K.

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