Monday, August 25, 2014

An Open Letter to YA Dystopian Fiction

No offense to all ya'll who love Dystopian. This is just my opinion.

Dear Dystopian Books,

Over the past few years, you've gained prominence in the YA genre, and I've come to appreciate many of your kind in that time. I love reading about all your messed up societies and the equally messed up people who live in them. It makes me grateful to live in the wonderful USA, where I have access to so much food, that my butt and thighs can grow bigger than I ever wanted them to.

But I have a bone to pick with you.

What's up with the lack of originality? I'm so tired of reading about people who are unhappy so they decide to start a rebellion against the government and then a whole bunch of people die including the main character (No spoilers, but you know who I'm talking about. I am NOT pleased about that.) and then everybody is happy because they defeated the bad guys. Maybe I just want to read something about people who live in a dystopian society but learn to deal with it. Sound good?

Like in Divergent. Quite frankly, I'd be perfectly happy with the first part of that book. If the factions had remained factions, that's cool with me! That first part had a very Mulan-esque feeling and I was totally embracing the warrior underdog thing, but then me-oh-my! the bad guys appear and thus starts the rebellion thing. Now, the books that came after Divergent were fine, but that's all they were. Were there tears? Yes, endless words-are-blurring-on-the-page tears that made it impossible to read. But I didn't want it to happen.

Also, I'm just not cut out for all your rule-breaking and sticking-it-to-the-man. In Delirium, I kept getting so upset with the main character for just feeling free to go against all the rules she'd grown up with. I mean, she had one job. Follow the rules. And look what a mess she made of it.

And I know what you're telling me:

But maybe sometimes I don't want to rock. Sometimes I like to classical music or jazz too, and you have to give me some options, you know?

Variety is key. That's all I'm saying.

You, Dystopian. You're almost always about some girl who can't be with a boy so she goes and raises hell, making everything fall to shit and killing my favorite characters in the process.

I know, I know. But please get on it. Because I'm quickly getting sick of you. I mean, I love you, but really.

Much love,

PS - If anyone wants to read a good, original dystopian book, you should check out Shades of Grey by Jasper FForde. No, not Fifty Shades of Grey. They're very different.


  1. Ugh I'm so tired of the lack of originality as well! Nice post!

  2. YES! I am so over reading the same thing that I literally roll my eyes everytime it happens

  3. Well, any good story has to have a conflict of some sort, or else it's like nothing ever happens. That's why they are rebelling. But I can understand some of your other points. I do want them to end up happy just for once in the end.

    1. I completely get that it needs a storyline, but I just mean that I'm tired of reading about predictable rebellions. Most of the time, I can just guess what happens now, and it really takes out the enjoyment. Thanks for commenting, though!

  4. I completely agree, though I am also going to extend my judgement to love triangles. Whatever happened to having one romantic interest, or no romantic interests even? Why does every teenage girl have to experience angst over which boy to love. She is a teenager for heaven's sake, and a LOT is going on in her life, so she probably isn't all that concerned with finding her forever love.

    Also, can we get some male protagonists soon? I know there are a couple out there, but the genre is dominated by protagonists inspired by Katniss Everdeen.

    Shades of Gray was totally on my reading list already, so I look forward to reading it even more now.


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