Dystopian fiction for middle-grades isn’t new: Lois Lowry’s The Giver is a classic of the genre. The success of The Hunger Games means similar titles for younger ages would be showing up soon. These two are good examples, even though each comes with a little twist–the first stirs in a generous measure of magic, and [...]
The Hungry Cities Chronicles, by Philip Reeve: Mortal Engines (2001), Predator’s Gold (2003), Infernal Devices (2005), A Darkling Plain (2006). Harper Collins. Age/interest level: 14-up. If I were idly browsing shelves, I would pass these books right by. The old-style sci-fi jackets picturing flying machines skimming over alien landscapes, not to mention the genre (dystopia—not [...]
Yesterday on our site, we offered a review of both book and movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But of course, it’s not the first time Janie and I have written about dark fiction that appeals to teenagers. There is my review of A Clockwork Orange as part of my autobiography-in-books series, Janie’s post [...]
In the summer of 1945, George Orwell wrote a review for the Manchester Evening News, beginning, “On the whole, novels are better when there are no miracles in them.” That said, he was ready to give a grudging thumbs-up to C. S. Lewis’s latest, which completed the cycle begun with Out of the Silent Planet [...]
Divergent, by Veronica Roth. Katherine Tegan Books (HarperCollins), 2011, 487 pages. Age/interest level: 14-up. There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my [...]
Part One. Part Two. What’s the problem with a glut of grim, futurist fiction on the YA bookshelves? Maybe nothing. Youth is resilient, and most young people are smart enough to know that fiction is fiction. If their reading is balanced, and they get out in the fresh air often enough, no harm done. Too [...]
(Find Part One here) Besides being uniformly grim, there are other traits the current crop of dystopian novels share: A post-apocalyptic future–the story opens after an event of universal destruction so huge that humanity has to re-organize itself along new principles, usually some variation of survival of the fittest. A young hero trapped in circumstances [...]
Part One How’s this for a scenario: In the future, the USA has been divided into thirteen districts, and the most prosperous oppresses all the others. One form of oppression is the annual televised exhibition in which two teens from each district compete for fabulous prizes–the chief prize being life. Katniss, a 16-year-old poacher from [...]
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