By examining critical studies of the dystopian genre from Gregory Claeys, Fátima Vieira, and Keith Booker as well as the studies of young adult dystopian novels from Roberta Trites, Kenneth Donnelson, and Sean Connors, I argue that young adult literature (YAL) has literary merit and is worth studying. This literariness stems from a novel's ability to explore complex themes like religion, sacrifice, and societal contracts. I introduce and analyze a subgenre of YA dystopian literature, which I classify as the medical dystopia, a genre that is uniquely positioned to explore the complex moral questions that surround advancing medical technologies and their impact on society. To demonstrate how YAL can deal with the complex ideas inherent to themedical dystopian genre, I analyze Neal Shusterman's Unwind and Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion. The analysis concludes that novels like these do not lack substance and have literary value due to their ability to invite young adults to view the darkness that exists within society from a position of safety and light.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Brown, Thomas Jace, "A Light in the Dark: A Case for YA Literature Through the Lens of Medical Dystopias" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 7482.
Adolescents, Young Adult Literature, Dystopia, Unwind, The House of the Scorpion