Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guy Fawkes Day: Dystopians

Today is Guy Fawkes Day, a day in England marking the day Guy Fawkes was arrested for trying to blow up Parliament. In the south it's celebrated as a triumph of law, in the north (where Fawkes was from, it's more a celebration of a local folk hero. In Yorkshire he's still called "the last good guy they sent to Parliament.") There's a nursery rhyme about it--

Remember remember
The 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot!

Which, of course, plays a major role in V for Vendetta. So, going off that theme, today we're looking at some other dystopias...


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. After the districts of Panem tried to rebel, the Capitol decided to punish them by holding the Hunger Games-- an annual televised event where two children from each district compete to the death. When Primrose's name is called to be the tribute from District 12, her older sister Katniss volunteers to take her place. Follow it with Catching Fire.

Matched by Ally Condie. On Matching Day, Cassia is relived to see Xander's face. The Society has determined she will marry her friend, instead of a boy from far away that she's never met. But then, for a split second, another face appears. She knows Ky as well and where she had rarely thought of him before, no she can't get him out of her mind, which leads her to question everything the Society does. The first in a trilogy, follow it with Crossed.

Divergent by Veronica Roth. In a dystopian Chicago, every 16-year-old must choose a faction to join. Each faction cultivates a different virtue--honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness, and intelligence. Tris needs to decide if she stays in the same faction as her family, or follows her heart to the faction that calls to her. Follow it with Insurgent.


1984 by George Orwell. 1984 may as well be the stone age for many of today's teens, but they'll still enjoy this chilling dystopia that first gave name to Big Brother.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. When hacker Marcus is caught near the site of a terrorist attack, he and his friends are swept into the shady world of DHS interrogations. When they're finally released, San Francisco is a police state, so Marcus and his friends are going to take DHS down. Follow it with Homeland.

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin. Anya's parents are dead (murdered) and she's defacto guardian of her siblings. But, her extended family wants her to fill her father's shoes as head of their crime family--they're the main supplier of chocolate, an illegal substance in this futuristic world. Accused of poisoning the supply, Anya has to clear her name and figure out her relationship with Win, the DA's son. Follow it with Because It Is My Blood.


The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau. After graduation, Cia wants to be chosen for The Testing-- something that finds the best and the birghtest out of the best and the brightest. But, once she is chosen, it's nothing like she expected. Only 20 will survive and Cia's only knowledge going in is that she should trust no one. The first in a series, the second, Independent Study comes out in January.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty. In a world where adults can't have babies, teens get pregnant to create babies for adults to raise. Melody is a pro--someone who hires herself out to be matched with the perfect guy to create perfect babies-- but her sponsors haven't found that guy and time's running out. Her twin sister, Harmony has grown up in a religious compound and is just now seeing the realities of the outside world. When Harmony gets a message that a guy for Melody has finally been found... complications ensue. Follow it with Thumped.

Unwind by Neil Shusterman. Abortion is illegal and all life is sacred... until age 13. Between 13 and 18, teens can be "unwound" and their organs harvested for transplant. Three teens are bound to be unwound-- unless they can stop it. Follow it with UnWholly.

What are your favorite dystopias?

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