Dystopian Novels Gather Attention

Dystopian novels, highlighting oppressive and broken societies, have been gaining popularity among young adults. Teenagers flock to bookstores and theaters to find the latest dystopian thrill. What is it about these dark novels that attract so many fans?

It may be puzzling to think that novels based on crumbling civilizations could gain so much popularity. Media specialist Sherry Weiss said, “Maybe teenagers want to escape from their own world into others where it is worse, or maybe they want to see other people’s problems, other world’s problems, and how they can be solved, so that when you go out into the future, you can plan on solving our world’s problems.”

For whatever reason, these novels are beloved. According to Scholastic, more than 50 million copies of “The Hunger Games” trilogy of novels are in print and digital formats in the United States alone. According to USA Today, over ten million copies of the “Divergent” trilogy were sold by January 2014. Other favorites include “The Maze Runner” and “The Giver.”

Some novels are trendy enough to be made into movies. For example, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Divergent” skyrocketed to the top of the box office earlier this year. “The Giver” will not be released until August, but it is expected to be a hit, as many fans of Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel have long anticipated a movie. Many sequels, such as “Mockingjay: Part One” and “Insurgent,” are also in the works.

Undoubtedly, dystopian novels and movies are large parts of American culture. Junior Sophia Abdelkadir said, “I think more people watch the movies because there are commercials that broadcast the movies a�� With a book the only attractive [visual] you have is the cover.” However, Weiss said that publishers and authors put money into book trailers on YouTube to attract young adults.

Even though dystopian movies are very popular, many people still read the books. Some teenagers would rather read the dystopian book before watching the film adaption. As for those who do not enjoy reading, junior Anastasia Kaldis said, “I think if they see the movie, they will be interested in reading the book.”

Only time will tell if dystopian novels will continue to be as popular in the future as they are now. With publishers pressuring authors to write novels of this genre, and with the release dates of many dystopian movies arriving, it is clear that this craze will last a while longer.

However, Weiss believes the bigger question is if some of these current dystopian novels will become classics. She said, “I am not completely sold that they will, but you never know.”