Why Dystopian novels resonate so much with young adult audiences
We all love imagining the world at its worst. Cities falling apart, governments collapsed and re-formed, somehow imagining the bad things that can happen make us appreciate more the good things.
Dystopian fiction as a term can mean many different things, but if we boil it down to one common constant it’s that it’s an unpleasant future state of the current world. If we use such a broad brush to paint it with, then this could mean anything from zombies to post-apocalyptic novels. The one common theme is that the world has been torn apart.
The most interesting thing about dystopian worlds is that since the environment and government is in such a state of disrepair, it’s ripe for rebuilding. These are perfect scenarios for heroes to rise up and change the status quo.
Young adults are often questioning their own world, as well. Going through school, many students are forced into rigid tracks in school that might not fit their personality or strengths. They may also be a target of bullying. Studying about their own history and politics, they see how much the world has evolved and wonder about what the future of our world could be. In some ways there may be a feeling of helplessness, “I couldn’t possibly make a difference!” But seeing someone their age who’s “taking on the establishment”, so to speak, is extremely appealing.
This process of questioning our own lives, our futures, is an important step in our life journey. Although many of us get sidetracked by the day-to-day concerns of our lives, continuing to question into adulthood is what gives us the impetus to change - to change ourselves, and maybe even have an impact on the world around us.