Friday, March 4, 2011

Things I've learned from Dystopian books

So I don't know if you've noticed (note the sarcasm) but for the past 2-3 years YA lit has been taken over by paranormal romance. You can't walk into a bookstore without being bombarded with Twilight and about 10 other vampire/angel/werewolf romance novels. I'm not a big fan of paranormal romance (in fact I don't think I've ever even read one) so this age of YA has been particularly arduous for me. :P But I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel because a new "It" genre of YA is starting to emerge! And that genre is dystopian books. Books about a future that seems to be a utopia but is really overwrought with social dysfunction. Books with societies that need shaking up. And most importantly books with heroes and heroines that aren't afraid to rebel and stand up for what they believe in. Personally I LOVE dystopians and I love that its coming to the forefront of YA literature. What I like most about dystopian stories is that they always have a message. They ask you to question your society and what you believe in. Here are some of the lessons that I've learned from some of my favorite dystopian books. (links at the top will take you to my review)

War is brutal. War is ugly. But sometimes wars have to be fought because some things are worth fighting for.

You don't have to let others control your life. Its YOUR life. Don't be afraid to make your own choices and be your own person.

The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
Being pretty isn't all its cracked up to be.

Love is beautiful in every way, shape, and form. If we lose it, we lose the very essence that makes us human. Never be afraid to be love.

Living a life fueled by lies always leads to destruction.

Don't become so obsessed with how others see you, that you lose sight of who you really are.

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Never lose hope, even in the bleakest of circumstances.

I'm glad that dystopian novels are really popular right now, but there is one thing that I'm worried about: quantity over quality. This is what happened to paranormal books. They blew up and suddenly everyone was writing them but 75% of the books were not really worth reading. I don't want that to happen to dystopian fiction. I don't want people to merely crank the books out like an assembly line and put them into little cookie cutter molds of rebellion and love triangles and then expect success. So I want to know how do you guys feel about dystopian books becoming so popular? Are you afraid that the genre is going to go the route of paranormal and possibly get tarnished? And most importantly what kinds of things have you guys learned from reading dystopian novels?

Julia :)


  1. Like you, I LOVE dystopian books because they usually have a deeper message about society, humanity, the forces that bring about a dystopian society and how our society could change for the negative...My fear over the vast number of dystopian novels being published is that they'll lose this message. They'll become just entertainment, with no deeper meaning other than to sell a great story (which, don't get me wrong, has its place). I'm already starting to see this. The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge, for example, has dystopian elements, but it's just an (very good) entertaining story, while Across the Universe is similar to Ape and Essence and Lord of the Flies in its message.

  2. Thank you for sharing this list! I've read some of them, have some on my TBR list, and will check out the others!

    I think too much of anything is a bad thing, and dystopian novels will hit that point at some time as well. Until the tarnishing happens, I'm going to read and enjoy all things dystopian and wait for the next wave to come along!

    Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

  3. I used to read YA Paranormal, like two years ago. Blue Bloods, Twilight, Mortal Instruments... but now I just read contemporary romance and dystopian. I can't stand paranormal, is just not for me anymore. I think that most of the YA books out there now are paranormal and it just makes it harder to find books.

  4. Haha, I totally agree with you. :)

  5. I totally agree about a certain genre becoming mainstream. I loved paranormal romance but now it's even hard to go and find an interesting and good book. I really do love dystopian novels though.

  6. Great post! I absolutely am in LOVE LOVE LOVE with dystopian lit!! Actually, i have a whole blog dedicated to this genre :)


  7. Great post! I love that you were able to sum the books up in such a short snippet.

  8. You hit the nail on the head as to why I love dystopians. I haven't yet started to worry about the "quantity over quality" problem because I just can't seem to get enough of them lately! But I suppose it is inevitable. That's what's nice about the book blogging community: being able to read reviews and weed out books that aren't maybe worth the read.

  9. Great post! I read paranormal but I def am liking the wave of dystopias.

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  10. I totally agree with all your points about Dystopians! I think it's my favourite genre at the moment. They're just so good! And I really hope that they don't follow in paranormals footsteps... Great post! :D


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