February 8, 2012

Love of Reading: Young Adult Dystopias


Jessica's note: This is a guest post written by Jill of Rhapsody in Books. Be sure to check out Jill's awesome book-review blog and all the other posts in the Love of Reading series!

Science Fiction used to be my favorite genre. I love exploring new worlds and stretching my imagination (or, more accurately, reveling in the authors’ imaginary flights). In fact, I have more books by Isaac Asimov than by any other author.

But those days are gone now. SciFi is all about cybernets or wars, and Fantasy has largely taken over the SciFi shelf space.

So, my affection has transferred to young adult dystopias.

There is so much I love about YA dystopias. Even though the same old tropes are used a lot, there are endless permutations in these future worlds that make you think about things in new ways. They are usually very suspenseful, and can have you sitting on the edge of your seat. And there is always a romance between a spunky, intrepid young girl and some sort of swoony guy. (First, however, the “Pride and Prejudice” theme plays out for a while.)

As for YA dystopias that I would recommend, The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins lives up to its hype, and The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness is wonderful.  (I resisted the latter for a long time because of the title of the first book, “The Knife of Never Letting Go.” Don’t let that deter you!)

There are also a number of very good dystopias for which only one volume of the series has come out. (These dytopias tend to come in trilogies.) I would highly recommend the following:

Legend by Marie Lu, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and Pure by Julianna Baggott.  (Of the latter two, Cinder is a cross between a fairy tale and a dystopia, and Pure has fantastical elements reminiscent of China Mieville’s writing.)

Admittedly these aren’t literary masterpieces, but they do transport you to other worlds, and they’re great fun to read!

I loved The Hunger Games, and I have Cinder on reserve at the library, thanks to Jill's review of it.

Have you read any of these dystopic novels? Has your favorite genre changed over time?

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