Fresh Hell – What’s behind the boom in dystopian fiction for young readers?

I have pointed students towards this 2010 article in The New Yorker before but it is worth posting about again. We have been discusses dystopian fiction in class and this article discussing examples written for the young adult reader.

Rebecca Stead chose to set her children’s novel “When You Reach Me”—winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal—in nineteen-seventies New York partly because that’s where she grew up, but also, as she told one interviewer, because she wanted “to show a world of kids with a great deal of autonomy.” Her characters, middle-class middle-school students, routinely walk around the Upper West Side by themselves, a rare freedom in today’s city, despite a significant drop in New York’s crime rate since Stead’s footloose youth. The world of our hovered-over teens and preteens may be safer, but it’s also less conducive to adventure, and therefore to adventure stories.

Perhaps that’s why so many of them are reading “The Hunger Games,” a trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, which take place at an unspecified time in North America’s future. Her heroine, Katniss Everdeen, lives in one of twelve numbered districts dominated by a decadent, exploitative central city called the Capitol.

Read more here.

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