Why Are All Dystopian YA Novels The Same Story?
Start writing a post

Since the release and popularity of "The Hunger Games" books and movies, many similar series have emerged, promising new takes on their genre. As seems to be the case with all media phenomena, it's as if many people saw that concept and ripped the core of its story from its body, along with all the terrible tropes we've come to know all too well.

While there are some great YA fantasy novel series in existence, they don't gain as much hype. Below is a list of those overused tropes and suggestions for how to include better and more interesting elements to write YA fantasy series differently. These are basically free ideas here for future YA fantasy authors. You're welcome.

Forced romance, love triangles, or forced love triangles


Too many series force an ongoing romance between two characters which usually begins in an "instant love" moment. Sometimes, the romance makes sense.

Other times, the author takes a turn from the main plot to force a relationship into their story. This makes it obvious that the author is writing to please their audience, which is fine.

However, this genre tends to reach wider audiences who will cringe at characters making lovey eyes at each other on a battlefield.

When the protagonist is battling their society's restrictions, why do they always have time for romance? While including romance is not inherently bad, it is bad to pretend that a romance happens at first glance. Even most teenagers are past the point of believing in "love at first sight," so who are these subplots for, other than for convenience's sake?

There are far more ways to relate to teenagers' lives and struggles than most authors seem to know. At this age, people can experience a range of struggles including depression, bullying, drug use, academic problems, peer pressure, society's prejudices, family conflict, and self-harm among other things.

I would cheer for a novel wherein the main character deals with any of these topics and overcomes them or learns to deal with them, even in the context of a dystopian novel.

First-person perspective


This genre tries really hard to relate to its audience, and this usually involves using the first-person perspective.

It's a natural way to write and for some, it can be tricky to step fully into another character's head and understand them. Sometimes the first-person is a crutch for writers and leaves too much room for boring inner monologues.

This is easily fixed by branching out and trying third-person perspective that enriches the world and setting while giving us information about character development.

An "Us vs. Them" mentality


In a YA fantasy novel, the protagonist is usually part of the oppressed class that fights against their society.

This does seem like a natural point of conflict and interest for the story that also complements adolescent rebellious themes, but it's a bit overwrought. A dystopian world often leans on the basic belief that everyone is on one side or the other and cannot possibly find a middle ground.

"An Ember in the Ashes" did do something right by having one of its two narrators be from the Elite class that oppresses lower classes. This narrative dissolved the all-too-common trope that everyone in the oppressive class agrees with their society. However, its other main character's only personality traits included being subservient and gullible.

YA authors should consider writing a main character who is part of or a child of someone in the All-Powerful Government who doesn't stray from their core belief that their class should be the ones in power.

They could also write from the perspective of someone outside the caste or class system, or be a traveler or someone in a classless society as mentioned before.

Generally, there are two sides to every issue even if one of them is unjust. A story is more believable when it develops all sides of an issue.

Underdeveloped antagonists


Along with a caste system that makes little sense, the YA dystopia and fantasy genres like to include antagonists who are unnecessarily evil and whose reasons for being evil are vague.

Though not all series do this, many antagonists are the way they are for reasons unknown, and they are often incredibly and unreasonably cruel. It's lazy when a character is inserted to be an oppressive obstacle to their protagonists. There are genuinely terrible people, but we should expect well-written terrible people.

It wouldn't hurt or justify their evilness by giving them some backstory or reason to act the way they do even if the reason is the character's own flawed logic and hurt. Most people will be able to see right through a poorly developed evil character, and it cheapens the protagonist's development and struggle when they're simply fighting against a generic cardboard cutout of a Villain.

Basically, we should expect more from the YA dystopia series genre, because it has the potential to be deeply enriching and imaginative if it would break away from its overused tropes.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments