Starting Revolutions in Dystopian YA: a 7-Step Guide

revolutions dystopia ya

Revolutionaries, are you secretly the protagonist of a YA dystopia? Find out by checking yourself against the symptoms below!*

You have always played by the rules. You know everything you do is for the good of society. You are going to do your parents proud. Your think your life is going to be nothing special, predictable, and you will probably marry your nothing-special, predictable best friend whom everyone thinks you are in love with for no apparent reason.

But you are Different. Nothing about your actions or thoughts suggest it, but you know it deep in your bones. You go along with the others, yet you are somehow…not like them. You try to quell this individuality. Because if you try hard enough it will go away.

You are about to come of age. Soon you will be that magic special number which means you are a functioning adult in society. A little like a debutante. In fact, you might actually be a debutante. During this coming-of-age-ritual, something important will probably happen in relation to your love life. (Because the government holds a deep interest in the love lives of teenagers.)

But now something has gone disastrously wrong and ripped a hole in your nice predictable life plan. The nice plan that you didn’t really trust anyway went wrong — how is this possible?!? Well, anyway, you have now seen the light and know that you’ve been living under oppressed rulers all your life. You have vowed to get out of that dark place.

The Different and brooding love interest — possibly the same as the ‘something disastrously wrong’ — has awakened a flame inside of you. Your latent Differentness has started to show itself. You are In Love, now the most beautiful and amazing couple anyone has ever seen. You are made for each other. Your love is far more powerful and Different and world-changing than any other teenage love. You are, of course, just like every other teenager in love.

Some fighting happened, but other people did it. You didn’t get to see that much actual revolution-ing. You were probably too busy making moon eyes at The Love Interest, or maybe feeling guilty about spending too much time with The Love Interest. Anyway, one of your dearest friends who you only met like a week ago died in the fighting. You have spent the required amount of time crying and being meaningful, and currently you are angry enough that you might even do something reckless. (Like the reckless thing everyone told you not to do.)

You have done the reckless thing and freed the country in one heroic blow. Despite not actually doing anything other than the reckless thing everyone told you not to do, you have been greeted as a hero. the whole world is free and peaceful and happy. Suffering will never again happen, all thanks to you. You said you were only doing what your instinct told you, and The Love Interest congratulates your modesty but says you really should get some kind of reward.

You finish on a bittersweet note, standing over the grave of tragic friend holding hands with The Love Interest as the sun sets. Finally, you realise that you need to get over the death of tragic friend and move on in your life. To show you have done this you kiss love interest. You ride off into the (improbably still setting) sun. The End.

*This is not a medically approved list. (It also does not apply to all YA dystopian novels ever.)

23 thoughts on “Starting Revolutions in Dystopian YA: a 7-Step Guide

  1. *snickers obnoxiously* THIS IS THE BEST. So many tropes. So many. I LOVE IT.
    “But you are Different. Nothing about your actions or thoughts suggest it, but you know it deep in your bones. You go along with the others, yet you are somehow…not like them. You try to quell this individuality. Because if you try hard enough it will go away.” THIS IS SO MANY NOVELS. I CANNOT DEAL.

    1. Aah, thank you so much! 🙂 The thing is: even though I mock, I also love. It depends how it’s written hehe. 🙂 *nods* This was SO much fun to write — hopefully there will be more in the future!

    1. Oh, yay, I’m really glad you enjoyed it! I feel like dystopia is a rather dying breed — it seems like there aren’t nearly as many cringey ones coming out anymore? Or maybe that’s just my reading taste changing haha.

    1. I’m hoping that it is a bit true, even if it is several cringey books lumped together in one? 😛 Yeah, me neither — all the repetitive tropes were starting to annoy me.
      (I think this comment was sent twice? Anyway, I’ve just deleted the first one!)

  2. Oh my gosh, haha, this is hilarious! “You go along with the others, yet you are somehow…not like them.” These special snowflakes… Everything you said in this is so ironically true. I’m not really a big fan of “dystopian” reads; not a lot of them feature true dystopias anyway. But you hit these tropes spot on. Thanks for sharing this, Eve!

    1. Haha I’m really glad you enjoyed it! Special snowflakes is definitely a good way to put it. I haven’t really enjoyed a YA dystopia since…The Hunger Games, probably.

  3. I CAN’T EVER. Ohmygod. *snickers forever* If I’m ever writing a dystopian, this is EXACTLY what I’m going to tell myself not to do. Also YESYESYES at the Brooding Love Interest and the Reckless Thing. Basically, this post rocked 😂

    1. *hopes you’re not ACTUALLY snickering forever* *or if so hopes she can eat one of your Snickers bars* *also briefly wonders if this is just a British chocolate ugh*
      It would definitely be nice to see less samey dystopias haha, so that would be good! Yay, thank you so much ❤

      1. Don’t worry, I think Snickers is available around the globe. If it’s available in this little pocket of the globe, I’m sure it’s available EVERYWHERE lol.

      2. Oh haha sorry, that’s good then! I think I once mentioned Aero bars and someone didn’t know what I was talking about. So now I cover my tracks with whatever chocolate bar I talk about. XD

  4. I had to come and read this one after loving your Chosen One post! And this one is also super awesome. My favourite part was definitely: “Anyway, one of your dearest friends who you only met like a week ago died in the fighting.” BECAUSE YES. This happens in almost all dystopian books, and somehow I never really feel the sadness and grief and ~horror~ that the protagonist does because there have been, like, five lines exchanged between the MC and this now dead character. *sigh*

    I hope you do more of these because they are A+!

    1. Yay, that’s great to hear! Yeah, the dramatic mourning of the non-best-friend never really works like it’s supposed to. I feel like often books just…tell you that they become friends but never actually show it? Like, that’s not what it’s about.

      Thank you! They’re SUPER fun to write, so I do hope to do more in the future, but I’ll need to think of my next genre first ahaha. 😛

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