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YA sci-fi is supposed to make us question society

Is the current crop of young adult dystopian lit holding up its end of the bargain?

Photo: Art by Victor Davila, License: N/A

Art by Victor Davila

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Could this trend have anything do with the repugnance most of us old-school writer types feel for txt-speak and the seeming cultural illiteracy of today's youth culture? Since young adult books are written by adults, you have to remember that the warnings being issued in YA dystopian novels are the result of adult concerns about the next generation.

I'm not sure what I need to have happen to be more satisfied with this generation's dystopias. More ambitious science could be a start. Let's coddle teens less and get back to the standard intention of YA dystopia: Scare 'em straight. Give them an added appreciation of what they have, so that they aren't just mindlessly devolving down some YouTube rabbit hole while the government strips us of our interests and replaces them with single-minded tasks and formulaic lives. If you think that's a laughable notion, continue wondering if Katniss belongs with Peeta or Gale while DVR-ing reality television, and enjoy the fact that unlike the heroine of The Hunger Games, you never have to wonder if the moon is real or simply a projection.

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