Teen Read Week's theme, Read Beyond Reality, can be interpreted in any number of ways, but the most popular books for teens today are definitely not of this world, thus it's a great theme choice for 2009. The books that teens are flocking to are, in fact, dystopian in genre.
What is a dystopia? Simply put, a dystopia is the opposite of a utopia. According to Wikipedia, it is a "culture where the condition of life suffers from deprivation, oppression, or terror." For a very thorough, enlightening definition and analysis of dystopian fiction, see Wikipedia.
Over the next couple of days, I plan to review three of my favorite dystopian novels, but first ... some exciting booklists and a movie list. Should you become interested in dystopian fiction, these are a wonderful resource, a great place to start. Or if you're already a big fan, they're a great place to fill in the gaps.
Bart's Bookshelf has a relatively complete list of Adult and Young Adult novels that are dystopian in theme. Plus, if you're interested in joining a dystopian reading challenge, this is the place to sign up.
Booklist Online also has a core collection list. This one is made up of exclusively Young Adult titles. It lists titles that Bart left out, so don't overlook this one.
Top 50 Dystopian Movies of all time. Some are definitely not for young children, but most would be appropriate for high schoolers.
(Picture is of Mel Gibson in 1979, starring as Max Rockatansky in Mad Max.)