Me, Maureen’s Former Teacher: What’s up with all the YA fascination with dystopia and sci fi and fantasy?
Maureen: I have often said, “I don’t like realistic fiction; I already live in reality.” But that’s not really true; I like realistic fiction with a world I have to learn about (this includes historical fiction and stuff that’s not contemporary to me, but also more recent things like Hatchet, which just goes to show you I must have found it easier to read speculative fiction than realistic, contemporary fiction.) So how many YA novels today give me a new setting? When I was a young adult, I was in high school. That was pretty much setting for my life. If I get a familiar setting, then I’m pretty much left with characters and the issue at hand (if there is one) that will turn the wheels in my head. I like great characters, but I need them in a setting.
Thanks, Maureen. I bet many people are on the same page as you about not reliving high school while you’re surviving it. Never mind we all love a great escape. There is no question that the most powerful books and films of the 20th century and early 21st feature the Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Matrix, Harry Potter, and Hunger Games worlds we love to inhabit.
Hunger Games is of special interest to me because it reflects a recent surge in dystopian YA novels.
analyze the opening of Hunger Games
Here are some reviews of dystopian YA
Jonathan Liu’s review of MATCHED, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, and ARTICLE 5 (YA dystopian romance)