For the Young Adult Lit Nerd: Dystopias and Fantasy and Angst, Oh My!

Rachel Gintner Rachel Gintner
Alpha Tau Chapter
St. Norbert College, WI

As many English majors can readily attest, we are constantly reading. Whether in class, for class, or at work, our noses are inches from a screen or hefty volume, our eyes swimming in words. This is especially the case for those lucky enough to fill an Englishy-role like that of student teacher, TA, tutor, editor/writer, or writing consultant.

And yet, it often seems that those who read daily can find it quite difficult to fit in a bit of light "for fun" reading. Breaks from school or work become that freeing space to actually choose material to read—and for our own pleasure to boot. YA fiction, especially fantasy, science fiction, and the ever-so-popular dystopian types mass-marketed, may be some of the light reading we turn to in our search for entertainment. Here follow short reviews on some recent YA series to add to your essential fun list.

1. The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

Divergent Series Set in a futuristic Chicagoan landscape, this edgy dystopian trilogy follows the life of budding heroine Beatrice (Tris) Prior. After Tris chooses a risky life-placement during a traditional "coming-of-age" sorting, the breadth of her world turns on its head. Encouraging fearlessness, author Veronica Roth does a decent job of showcasing progressive, active qualities youth in particular should see modeled in their fiction. For a first-time author, Roth comes away with a respectable and enjoyable series.

*Series includes Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant. In theatres March 21, 2014 by Summit Entertainment.


2. The Matched Series by Ally Condie

Matched Series Another likeable futuristic trilogy, the Matched Series follows in the footsteps of Lois Lowry's The Giver—painting a horrifying reality in which art, literature, and other precious artifacts are deemed threatening to the preservation of a utopian society. Complete with the classic and ever-so-tragic love triangle, the series begins at the match-making ceremony of Cassia Reyes. English majors will enjoy the poems dropped like gems throughout the series—not to mention the fact that poetry is at the crux of the plot.

*Series includes Matched, Crossed, Reached.


3. The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

Seven Realms Series Also known for her other wizarding series, The Heir Chronicles, this four-part collection stars princess-and-pauper lead characters, Princess Raisa ana�Marianna and Hans Alister. Filled to the brim with wonderful fantasy-world building, from magic to clans and wizarding wars, this novel by Chima also speaks to modern-day dilemmas; poverty, class-struggle, and the legitimization of government being chief social quandaries. A rousing fantasy read in the world of YA.

*The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown. Film in the works by Disney.