BLOG POST: Hunger Games comeback – is this the Dystopian Renaissance?

By Regina Lopez Puerta

When I opened my phone yesterday, I felt I was transported all the way back to
2013. Suddenly, I was back in my childhood bedroom, a mockingjay pin on my jacket, Katniss
posters all over my wall, scrolling through billions of fan theories about this fascinating world;
and it was all triggered by an important piece of news.

The new Hunger Games film has released its teaser trailer and poster.

Based on the prequel set 64 years before the original novels, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
follows the story of a young Coriolanus Snow before he became one of the most evil characters
in teen fiction. While the novel has been out since 2020, the new film is expected to hit the big
screen in November 2023.

With a star studded cast featuring Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Hunter
Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Jason Schwartzman, and Viola Davis, directed by Francis
Lawrence who also directed the last 3 original films, they are set up for success. My fingers are
once more aching to pick up Suzanne Collins’ novels, starting with the prequel and then
proceeding to a binge re-read of the original trilogy.

However, Suzanne Collins is not the only author from the 2013 trenches coming back.
Cassandra Clare’s new series, the first one not set in her Shadowhunters Universe, is coming
out in October and already causing a big buzz. Between us, I can’t wait to read the advance

This brings me back, the Hunger Games and The Mortal Instruments were iconic in the
Young Adult genre. When they came out, they sparked a hunger in teenagers that had them
asking for more tales like those. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed books more than my 13 year old
self did at that time, and thus, came what I like to call The Golden YA Dystopian Era.
Series like The Maze Runner, Divergent, were in the hands of all my friends, however I
like to call myself a connoisseur of the genre, and brag about knowing a few more obscure
ones. I couldn’t get enough of these worlds, so of course, I kept digging around for more, as
many as I could get, while authors kept coming up with all of these crazy ideas.

What if we lived in a world where love was illegal? Delirium and Matched. What if we
lived in a world without food? Hungry. What if everyone had plastic surgery? Uglies. What if we
had a Hunger Games but with princesses? The Selection. A militarized state where the prodigy
fell for the criminal and took down the system? Legend.


I could go on all day, naming my favourites. There seemed to be a book for every wild
thought, because it really was a big time. These books lured young readers and taught them
visions for a better future. In time the trend passed as things in publishing go, and was replaced
by other eras, but I for one, would love to see a comeback of these worlds.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it (pun intended), but perhaps a comeback of the
Hunger Games will inspire a second coming of YA Dystopias. That way, new generations (and a
bit older ones like mine), will once again be called back to rethink what we value most as
humans and as a society. These books are definitely fun, but they also make us think about the
fundamentals of Human Rights, which we need now more than ever.

BLOG POST by Regina Lopez Puerta, April 2023

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