The Guardian’s book doctor, Julia Eccleshare, has a go at answering the question “Why do teens like dystopian fiction so much?”
Typically, the destruction wipes out “good” adult rulers; children step into the breach. Its not a new fictional phenomenon. Earlier examples include Robert Swindells Brother in Land, a classic title of the 1980s reflecting then current concerns about the possibility of a nuclear bomb being dropped, in which a group of children have to manage on their own after the adults have been destroyed and Marcus Sedgwicks Floodland, published at the turn of the millennium, in which, having seen her parents sail away to safety, a young girl has to navigate Eel Island and its inhabitants if she is to survive when the east of England is subsumed by flood water. In both, and in the many dystopian novels of today, an apparently bleak world is re-imagined and lit up by children who understand clearly what is worth saving as they step from childhood to adulthood. Frequently, family is let go while friendship or trust in others becomes the future foundation. Navigating that space is what all adolescents need to do which is why they like this kind of fiction so much.