Published on August 9th, 2012 | by Kristine Dahl0
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian books. For me (and I’m guessing for many other people), the fad of these books began after reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know, I know…you’re rolling your eyes, right? But take my word for it when I tell you that it is one of the best books I have ever read. 16 year old Katniss Everdeen is a true hero who faces death head on in the annual Hunger Games that takes place in her country Panem, formerly the USA. Each year the Capitol (the government) randomly selects two teens, ages 12-18 (one boy, one girl) from each of the twelve districts and pits them against each other in a game of survival, where only one can win. As all 24 tributes battle for their lives and struggle to stay alive (kill or be killed), you can’t help but turn the pages to see who will still be playing the games the next day.
I wanted to delve deeper down the rabbit hole of dystopian fiction and arrived at Divergent by Veronica Roth, which came highly recommended by friends. Society is divided up into 5 factions, each one dedicated to a specific virtue. The factions are Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent), Amity (the peaceful), Abnegation (the selfless) and Dauntless (the brave). On a predetermined day every year, each 16 year old from the factions chooses where they want to spend the rest of their lives, and begins their initiation. If initiation is failed, they will be forced out of the community. Beatrice Prior of the Abnegation surprises everyone and chooses to become Dauntless, but during initiation realizes that choosing one virtue is what is slowly tearing society apart. She is one of the divergent, she can willingly choose to be whatever she wants, and that’s a deadly secret that might just be able to help break down the walls of society.
From there I read Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Birth Marked by Caragh M. O’Brien, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and Matched by Ally Condie. I lost myself in their perfectly imperfect worlds, but my latest read, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, might just be my favorite. Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic world where at 16 years of age, teens have plastic surgeries that turn them from “Uglies” to “Pretties.” Tally has been anxiously waiting and daydreaming about this day for most of her life, until she befriends Shay, who doesn’t want to become a Pretty. Shay runs away to the rebel settlement on the outside, and Tally is forced to choose between finding her friend to turn her in or staying Ugly forever. As Tally struggles with this tough decision, she is confronted with the not-so-pretty truths that the surgeries cause brain damage and make everyone not only look the same, but think the same too (and most importantly, to never question authority!) Being a Pretty may not be so pretty after all.
I can’t get enough of these kinds of books and I’ve been desperately searching for more. If you know of any, definitely let me know and I will be sure keep you all up to date about what I find!