Dystopian Novels! Yay or nay?

Recently, I’ve found myself shying away from reading anything in the Dystopian fiction genre. I find that they echo the same sort of rough rubric and – though they’re fun to read in moderation – I can’t read one after another after another after another after… well, you get the point. The government is somehow corrupt and ends up as the hated antagonist. There’s some sort of division in the city/land where the novel is set (think factions or districts). Throw in a spunky and admirable heroine who doesn’t want to fit in and one or two literary hotties and you have dystopian! More or less… some have surprised me in the past few years.

Obviously, I’m over-simplifying. There’s a little more to the dystopian genre. It seems like the shelves are full of Dystopian novels these days. Although I’ve recently tried to distance myself from this genre, there are a few that I can genuinely recommend. Whether they’ve already been adapted to film or they’ve barely garnered any attention, here’s a few that I love!

1) Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

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In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Check it out here.

2) Panic by Lauren Oliver

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From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes an extraordinary novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope. Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought. Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most. Already optioned by Universal Pictures in a major deal, this gritty, spellbinding novel captures both the raw energy of fear mixed with excitement as well as the aching need to find a place to belong.

Check it out here.

3) Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

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Lois Lowry won her first Newbery Medal in 1994 for The Giver. Six years later, she ushered readers back into its mysterious but plausible future world in Gathering Blue to tell the story of Kira, orphaned, physically flawed, and left with an uncertain future. This second book in the Giver Quartet has been stunningly redesigned in paperback. As she did in The Giver and later Messenger, in Gathering Blue Lois Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, how people could evolve, and what could be considered valuable.

Check it out here.

4) Unwind by Neal Shusterman

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In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called “unwinding.” Unwinding ensures that the child’s life doesn’t “technically” end by transplanting all the organs in the child’s body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

With breathtaking suspense, this book follows three teens who all become runaway Unwinds: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents’ tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing. As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Shusterman examines serious moral issues in a way that will keep readers turning the pages to see if Connor, Risa, and Lev avoid meeting their untimely ends.

Check it out here.

5) Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

UgliesEverybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license — for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world — and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Check it out here.

6) The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

city-of-emberThe city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.

Check it out here.

 Also, want to check out Mashable’s 21 Books for Those So Over Dystopian Fiction List? Check it out here! Lots of good recommendations

~*~*~*~*~

What do you think about the Dystopian genre? Have you sworn off of it? Or can you never get enough?

What is one of your favorite Dystopian novels?

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