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?’
In 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:
- The Maze Runner and the sequel, The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
- The Ship Builder by Paolo Bacigalupi
- Matched by Ally Condie
- Across the Universe by Beth Revis