Is Dystopian Fiction Tween Appropriate?

Lets face it dystopian fiction can be a bit depressing.  It can be  full of violence and other emotionally disturbing things.  But it can also bring attention to societal problems that can become catastrophic in the future.  One example would be the quest for sameness.  The

The Giver By Lois Lowry
179 pgs
Newbery Medal winner
Age 12 and up

Giver by Lois Lowry explores the consequences of this quest.  The society created by Lowry has sought sameness and in that has lost the individual. There are only two in the society that are even aware of what they are missing,  The Giver and The Receiver of Memory , Jonas.  They alone are responsible for storing the worlds’ memories, a great honor and heavy curse, Too heavy for only two to carry.  Eventually Jonas will be the only one with the memories, when his training is complete.   Each day of his training Jonas learns more and more and sees that this world they have created for themselves is wrong. The last straw is when he discovers what the releasing ceremony really is.  This is were he and The Giver make a plan to release the memories at least the one that Jonas has received so far.  This will force the society to be reintroduced to feelings.  But like most plans there are a few road blocks lying ahead…..

There are some very graphic parts in this novel, such as, a memory of war that is given to Jonas.  It is very detailed but not too lengthy. Also the part where Jonas finds out about the release ceremony is a bit disturbing   There are others, but I feel that it is appropriate for  12 and up maybe 11.  It could be read younger but I really don’t feel that it would be fully appreciated or comprehend (for the most part).

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
374 pgs
Part of a series of 3
Age 13 and up

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a great read but you do feel a bit guilty for liking it.  The guilt comes because it is about the society in power (The Capital) that chooses to exhibit their control over the districts by holding The Hunger Games were kids are sent to kill kids and their families and communities are forced to watch it.   The satisfaction of the story comes from the strength and courage of the main character Katniss, who in an act of love and self sacrifice volunteers to go in her little sisters place when her name is drawn for the games.  There are graphic parts in this book, such as, the description of Glimmer being stung repeatedly by tracker jackers and a scene where an ally dies.  Because this book is  more graphic or at least graphic more consistently throughout the book I would put the age range more at 13 or 14.

I only suggest an age limit in hopes of encouraging tweens to enjoy their childhood while they can, it doesn’t last long and they always seem so eager to be done with it; I know I was.  If they want to read this type of fiction earlier I wouldn’t stop them but I would encourage some happier reading in between this type of fiction just to keep things from getting to depressing.  A lot can be learned form dystopian fiction  there here to serve as warnings, so they have a place,  but like all things moderation is key.

The Hunger Games (Movie 2012)


3 thoughts on “Is Dystopian Fiction Tween Appropriate?

  1. Pingback: Tween age boys: what is wrong with fiction? | ofglassandbooks

  2. Dear Dahila,
    I clicked on “I like” and I meant it! The Tween years, is true, don’t last forever Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more appropriate fiction available to support this brief moment in children’s life?

    This is close to my heart, and I just published a post about it: Tween Boys: What is wrong with fiction? I would love ot hear what you think. I have highlighted your post in mine a’ la L’Oreal style: because it’s worth it!

    Thanks for the great blog.

  3. Pingback: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry « Zezee's Link

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