Three months ago during BEA, I attended a panel about dystopian YA literature. Four authors were on the panel, but only two of their books are being marketed as YA: Lesley Hauge’s NOMANSLAND (my review) and Ally Condie’s MATCHED (my review). The other two have written very adult books with young main characters: Sigrid’s Nunez’s SALVATION CITY (my review) and Adam Dunn’s RIVERS OF GOLD (not yet reviewed).
I took a few notes, which I will finally share with you now.
When asked why she writes dystopian lit for teens, Lesley Hauge answered that YA should cover the whole range of the human experience, including suffering. Her book should create a sense of unease and get teens thinking.
Adam Dunn talked by far the most. His book is about taxi cabs in NYC and is very anti-government in its sentiments. He likes mixing teens and dystopia because youth implies motion and dystopia implies a downward spiral. He thinks the genre is so popular right now because we are living in a gloomy time. Another such time was 1979, and 1982 therefore rife with dystopian movies such as Mad Max and Blade Runner. “The pendulum has swung back.” Is not that interested in offering hope, and said, “You have survivors, but they aren’t necessarily winners.”