Are YA Dystopian Novels Breeding Conservatives?


The Harry Potter series might have been helping make young kids more open and accepting of diversity, but a new crop of young adult novels might be push kids in the opposite direction of the political spectrum. Heroines like Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior aren’t just strong women–they’re exceptionally special people oppressed by nanny states politics, claims Ewan Morrison, writing over at The Guardian, who suggests that instead of encouraging young people to question authority, these young adult dystopias are simply reinforcing technocratic libertarianism ideals:

What marks these dystopias out from previous ones is that, almost without exception, the bad guys are not the corporations but the state and those well-meaning liberal leftists who want to make the world a better place. Books such as The Giver, Divergent and The Hunger Games trilogy are, whether intentionally or not, substantial attacks on many of the foundational projects and aims of the left: big government, the welfare state, progress, social planning and equality.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →