Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Jennifer Barnhart | The Dawn of Dystopian

July 17, 2014

Over the weekend, The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes raked in a staggering 73 million dollars. The majority of the audience was over the age of 25. Part of this could be the nostalgic appeal of the series. The Planet of the Apes first appeared in print in 1963 and film in 1968. The audience consists of people who can remember seeing the original movie on the big screen or on TV when they were growing up. Another part of the appeal could be that the filmmakers stayed true to the themes and tones of a movie series that has spanned generations and has quite the cult following.

When The Planet of the Apes was first written, the young adult genre was just gaining a foothold in the market. Novels published for young adults were still a relatively new and risky venture. Over the years, the young adult novel has evolved and grown into a large and profitable market with a readership that’s willing to wait in line for hours for a new release. There’s nothing like the excitement of getting the newest book in a long await series, and right now it’s dystopian series readers want.

Here are my three picks for dystopian series that will leave you impatiently waiting for the newest release!

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken: THE DARKEST MINDS, NEVER FADE, and IN THE AFTERLIGHT


Ruby is one of a handful of children that survived a mysterious disease which killed most of America’s children, but surviving comes at a price. On her tenth birthday, she wakes up so changed her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Ruby is sent to Thurmond, a government “rehabilitation camp” for kids like her. By sixteen Ruby is considered too dangerous to live. She barely escapes Thurmond, but now she must find a way to survive in a world she barely knows with other kids like her.

The Darkest Minds series comes at the recommendation of 15-year-old Abigail Chester of Ohio who says “It’s a great book. I didn’t want to put it down, and I didn’t want it to end. I hate the person who invented sequels because I was like what they hey?!?” The cliffhanger ending of THE DARKEST MINDS certainly kept Abigail waiting for the new books in the series. With the third and final book IN THE AFTERLIGHT coming out in September, this summer is the perfect time to catch up on this amazing series.

Sky Chasers by Amy Kathleen Ryan: GLOW, SPARK, and FLAME


Earth as we know it is gone. Sister ships, the Empyrean and the New Horizon, carry the chosen few to New Earth. Waverly and her boyfriend Kieran are the first generation to be born in deep space. They’ll be the first to pioneer New Earth, and it is their responsibility to marry young and have children who will help carry on the mission. Too bad Waverly is secretly intrigued by shy but brilliant Seth. Everything goes horribly wrong when the New Horizon betrays the Empyrean. They’re desperate to populate New Earth first and to do that they need young girls. Waverly and Kieran find themselves in the position of leading a mission they’re not the least prepared for in a place where the slightest mistake can mean death for hundreds.

GLOW, SPARK, and FLAME are provocative, intense, and exciting. The dystopian nature of the Sky Chasers is first hidden behind the carefully crafted façade of a utopia. Every person aboard the Empyrean and New Horizon has role to fill and it is crucial they fill their role without questions. The changes forced upon Waverly, Kieran, and Seth are harsh and sudden but create a dynamic story you won’t want to miss. I couldn’t wait to finish the Sky Chaser series and was immediately bereft when I finished the last page of FLAME.

Farm by Emily McKay: THE FARM, THE LAIR, and THE VAULT


A virus has infected the United States, turning ordinary people into rabid, blood sucking monsters called Ticks. The surviving children were rounded up and shipped to Farms for their protection, but as time stretches and the Ticks still roam, there is little hope of ever going back home.

Lily and Mel are twin sisters fast approaching their 18th birthday, but on the Farm when kids turn eighteen, they disappear. Even if Lily and Mel could escape, they’d have a hard enough time under the best of circumstances, but Mel’s autism has regressed until she can communicate only through nursery rhymes. When an old crush offers to help Lily and Mel escape, Lily doesn’t know whether to trust Carter or run in the opposite direction, but Mel trusts him. Despite her misgivings, Lily knows she and Mel can’t escape without his help.

Farm is starkly terrifying, emotionally intense, and digs into your deepest fears. THE FARM and THE LAIR both end with an unexpected twist. Darkly imaginative and creepy, Farm will make you sleep with the lights on. I know I’ll be rereading the first two in anticipation of the December release of THE VAULT.

Tell me, dear readers, what dystopian series has you waiting impatiently?

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