Teen books seem to be the fad today. From Twilight to Pretty Little Liars, kids, teenagers, and adults alike are pouring into this up-and-coming phenomenon of young adult fiction novels. Many, like the aforementioned are damaging to young hearts and minds and serve as nothing more than gateways into the darker territories of adult romance books, which also are on the rise.
But then there are other teen books on the other side of the pendulum that may prove to be more worthy of youngster’s attentions. Books like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Neal Shusterman’s Unwind trilogy can cause readers to decide what kind of world they would like to live in, and how and if to ever challenge authority.
Books like these can really cause bright minds to analyze the world in which we live and how to best respond to the inevitable social issues we may find ourselves engaging with.
Shusterman’s Unwind trilogy – though I haven’t read the final two in the series – deals with, in some underhanded ways, the topic of abortion – or more accurately – the value (or lack of value) of a human’s life. It’s set in a future world after the Second Civil War has been fought. That war, like its predecessor wasn’t about unification or freedom, but about reproductive rights. The outcome of the war: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until the age of thirteen.
The phenomenal and nearly-flawless Hunger Games trilogy also deals with the value of human life, set in a dystopian future America, where the government – or Capitol – celebrate death as entertainment. The hero of the trilogy – and ultimately author Collins – does a superb job at causing her audience, both the Capitol and her readers, to squirm at our own acceptance of our desensitization of human loss.
Sadly, one needs not look any further than our own American government where the abortion fighters are loosing ground almost on a daily basis. Hollywood – and especially TV – are continually pushing the envelope to create the most violent, bloody, and – scariest of all – realistic forms of entertainment they can get away with.
Many people may be appalled that teen fiction asks kids if they are willing to stand up against authority and – in the cases of these books – cause uprisings if need be. I assure you, I am not in favor of people refusing to give allegiance to the flag because they don’t feel like it. But we are entering into a world where each day, the lines between good and evil are blurred more and more in the eyes of our authority figures, and ultimately to those who are under their authority.
Books like these, I believe, are good for kids – and anyone, really – to read especially as our governments grow more corrupt, citizens are swayed by evil ideas and acceptances, and I believe there will be a day when standing up for what is right, and true, and honorable, may be the difference between life and death.
Books like these ask you: Are you ready?
Please share your thoughts below. Are these books just causing unnecessary paranoia? Are we really headed toward a dystopia? Should teens be exposed to such questions? Is the government and America as a whole still relatively clear on what’s good and what’s evil?