YALSA's The Hub: Your Connection to Teen Reads, has been high on my RSS feeds for their sharp book recommendations and reviews. In a recent post, they point out how the massive success of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy -- and the movies coming soon -- have inspired a resurgence of the dystopian novel in teen fiction over the past few years.
As a genre, dystopian novels are threaded by the existence of an oppressive society that purports to create a perfect place to live...and fails disastrously. The best dystopian lit raises questions about how our own society operates, which makes these books engaging selections for book groups.
Here's what The Hub recommends (click here for the AADL list):
"Wither by Lauren DeStefano (a futurist world in which the first generation is almost immortal but in subsequent generations females die at age 20 and males at 25 so girls are forced to become breeders in polygamous marriages) and Megan McCafferty’s Bumped (it’s 2036 and identical twins rebel against the expectation that they will become fanatically religious wives and mothers or high-priced surrogates for couples made infertile by a widespread virus).
Ally Condie’s Matched (pbk. out in Sept.) and its sequel Crossed (out in Nov.) features a world where death is mandatory at age 80 and teenagers’ marriage partners are predetermined by the Society. In Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, the government believes that love is a disease and 18-year-old teens receive a government-mandated cure to make them happy and safe.
Enclave by Ann Aguirre has both dystopian and post-apocalyptic elements. A plague years ago has forced people to live in underground enclaves fighting cannibalistic freaks for food. On naming day, at 15, teens’ earn the right to join the group best suited to them – as Hunters, Breeders or Builders. Deuce has lived in the enclave all her life and unquestioningly accepted the word of her elders when they say no one can live Topside. When she’s cast out she realizes the elders lied."