A book revolution

Photo by Steven Guzzardi used under Creative Commons License
Photo by Steven Guzzardi used under Creative Commons License

Summer Howard, Staff Writer

   In the course of the past six years, a trend has been set in young adult literature with trilogies such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner and Matched. What do all of these books have in common? They are all dystopian novels, or novels in which a futuristic society is controlled by a government instilling fear into its citizens. But why are humans so obsessed with the idea of a heavily controlled society? The answer may be just within our grasp.

   For a person that loves science fiction crossed with romance and sacrifice, these books are pure heaven. Ever since I was old enough to read, my nose has been stuck in a book. By the time what we could call “The Dystopian Age” of literature came about, I had already torn through many books, namely the Harry Potter series, a series classified as science fiction/fantasy. What the majority of people were interested in was the topic of what life would be like after a worldwide disaster or the second coming of Christ. Therefore, it was no surprise that books such as The Hunger Games got worldwide attention, especially among its targeted young adult audience.

   Yet The Hunger Games, which seemed to start this book revolution, does not simply focus on a post-apocalyptic world. It highlights violence and the repercussions of it. In fact, the author, Suzanne Collins, made the trilogy to speak out against violence. This is a nice refresher compared to the many books, video games and television shows these days that seem to advocate violence. But there are only a handful of people that know why Suzanne Collins wrote The Hunger Games. So what else has attracted millions of readers to this series? Alina Scott, a freshman history major from Belize, enlightened me on why she thinks the United States in particular is fascinated with books in the dystopian genre, despite the injustice within these fictional societies.

   “The Hunger Games is about a revolution,” Scott said. “From the creation of the United States, America has been about standing up for what they believe in. Even when people came across the ocean from England to start the colonies, it was a silent revolution; they were fighting for their rights to practice their own religion or start a new life. Books like The Hunger Games remind Americans of how much they love revolutions and the freedom they have to challenge the government’s policy.”

   Americans definitely have something to be proud of; other countries around the world have tried to overthrow their totalitarian governments in favor of a democratic government with some successes and failures. Yet Americans and people of other nationalities do not just see The Hunger Games as simply a reminder of how important it is to stand up for what they believe in, either. They also see it as a love story riddled by tragedy and hardship. If Internet mentions of “Team Peeta” and “Team Gale” are any indication, people adore a love story within the restraints of a controlled society. This is because stories such as these give us hope that love is possible in any circumstance. Maybe the hope of a long-lasting relationship is what attracts so many young adults to this genre.

   Regardless of what draws us to the dystopian genre, all of us can learn one thing from this book revolution: when literature changes, the world notices.