"Imagine a world where..."

  Dystopian literature has always been a favorite of mine.  There's something so fascinating to me about alternate societies and how people would act in them.  They are more than just the opposite of Utopias.  In fact, both forms of society are meant to create a perfect world, but dystopian societies usually result in the opposite.

  In case you haven't noticed, dystopian fiction is popping up all over young adult lit.  How do I feel about this? I love it!  And I hate it.  Allow me to explain.

  A dystopia is a place where you don't like where you are, but it is very hard to move.   I think what makes the literature so enjoyable to read are the ones who do move.  The heroes/heroins who speak out against the regime and stand up for what is right, even if speaking against an entire society. The ones who see the bigger picture.  We relate to them; we want to BE them.
  But often when I'm reading dystopian fiction, I think about the majority. The ones who go along with it.  Who don't speak out.  Then I think about who I would be and who I am now.  That kind of self-reflection is priceless!  And I'm a grown adult.  Imagine that kind of reflection to a 15 year old.  For that reason, I think dystopian literature is fantastic for young adults.

  Dystopian literature is best when...A- it really stretches the imagination, B - it doesn't sugar coat it, and C- it's important.
Case in point...The Giver and The Hunger Games.
(come on, you guys had to know I was going there)

  One of my first novel obsessions was The Giver.  That book is the reason I love dystopian lit so much.  It changed my life.  My young, naive, little 10 year old life.

  The first time I read The Hunger Games, it really reminded me of The Giver.  It was sad, it was real, it was sincere and I believed it.  It wasn't only meant to entertain me...it was meant to move me.  I was able to connect it to the world I lived in and I knew it was bigger than me.  I had something to gain and it taught me I am more powerful than I thought.  It was a million amazing things rolled into one.  It wasn't about who ended up with who, or even who died or lived.  It was about a world that was inherently wrong, wrong, wrong and how one person could change that.

When dystopian lit is not A,B & C...that's when I get frustrated.  When it is superficial and I can't take it seriously, that's when I don't think they are great for teens.  But honestly, I think teens can see through that.  The only one I can think of is Uglies.  That novel really didn't have anything to offer, especially when placed in comparison with a novel like The Giver or The Hunger Games.

Speaking of superficial...pop culture. Pop culture is killing literature.  It takes a novel like The Hunger Games and throws a logo on it.  Prints that logo on a million shirts and keychains.  Mass produces dolls and stickers and pays billions upon billions of dollars on marketing 30 second trailers and by the end of all that, we forget why the novel was so important in the first place.  Pop culture is like the Capitol.  End soapbox rant.

(((shameful face)))
I AM going to see it.  Pop culture or no...that movie looks awesome.  And I really think it's going to be mostly the novel's fans who will go see it.   I just hope no one chooses to skip the book and just see the movie.

Some more notable dystopian novels:

Next weeks question:
Let's lighten it up a bit...
Share the funniest book you've read.  Or even the funniest character.
Non-fiction & biographies included.

You know the routine...link up below. :)

{Shameless plug: I shared my soundtrack for reading The Hunger Games and Delirium on Melissa's blog.  You can see that here}