Dystopias are a hot topic in the young adult world and many of them are poised to become movies within the coming months. Lois Lowry's"The Giver" is the newest young adult novel to see its day in Hollywood. The film is set to premiere nationwide on August 15th. In the film, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lives in a seemingly utopian society. It is not until he meets The Giver (Jeff Bridges) and begins training to become his community’s next Receiver of Memories that he realizes the dark underbelly to his world’s very existence. At first glance, his community is ordered and just but as Jonas learns more he soon sees it for the dystopian – defined by Oxford Dictionary as “an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one”- it truly is. The film also stars, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift. Read on to see what other dystopian young adult novels should be made into movies like “The Giver.”
“Legend” by Marie Lu is currently in development to be a feature film. It’s scheduled to by helmed by “50/50” director Jonathan Levine and written by Andrew Barrer and Gabe Ferrari. Lu was inspired to write “Legend” after seeing the movie version of “Les Miserables”. Her main characters, June and Day, are the teenage incarnations of “Les Miserables’” Valjean and Javert. In their dystopian world, the United States has been divided into two warring countries called the Republic of America and the Colonies. Fifteen-year-old Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal while 15-year-old June is its most promising military student. Their lives connect when June’s brother is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Fresh, harrowing, and interesting “Legend” would make a wonderful movie.
Ever want to see what the plot of “The Whipping Boy” would look like in a dystopian society? Well, look no further than “Proxy” by Alex London. The general idea has been done several times on film but not with the added twist of a totalitarian society. London’s story follows Knox, who comes from a wealthy family, and his whipping boy, Syd. Throughout the two boy’s lives, Syd has had to pay for Knox’s crimes. But when Knox goes too far, both boys set off to fight the technology dependent, draconian system they live in.
“Unwind” by Neal Shusterman has actually been in development since 2010. Hopefully, it sees its suggested 2016 release date because Shusterman’s dystopian would make a fantastic film. While Shusterman’s novel is one of the bleaker dystopians, it raises interesting questions in regards to the environment and society. Set in the near future, “Unwind” takes place in the United States after another civil war over reproductive rights. The result of the war is a compromise. Parents may sign over their children between the ages of 13 and 18 years old to be unwound. “Unwinding” is a process in which unwound teens have nearly 100% of their body parts donate to help others in the community. Like “The Giver,” “Unwind” raises difficult questions about how far society should go in order to maintain control.
'What's left of me'
“What’s Left of Me” by Kat Zhang has perhaps the most unique twist on a dystopian society. In Zhang’s world, everyone is born with two souls residing in the same body. Usually, by the time one reaches their teen years the two souls have settled into just one. However, this is not the case for Addie and Eva. Deep inside, Eva still exists and longs for the ability to be in control of walking, running or speaking again. One day the two figure out how to regain Eva’s control, but it’s at a cost. Unsettled hybrids pose a threat to society and are sent away if discovered. Check out it’s book trailer to get a better idea of how it would look as a movie.
'Among the hidden'
“Among the Hidden” was written by Margaret Peterson Haddix just five years after Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” debut. In Haddix’s dystopian world, everyone is only allowed to have two children in order to quell overpopulation. Illegal third children, such as the novel’s protagonist Luke, must live in hiding or face certain death. Desperate to live a normal life like his older brothers, Luke gets his chance when he gets a glimpse of another hidden child next door. Together, they decide to risk everything to put an end to third children having to live in secret.
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