Hello everybody! Today, for my final post of 2021, I’m thrilled to welcome YA author Melissa Welliver with her guest piece on why she loves post-apocalyptic fiction, and which ones she’s most anticipating in 2022. I have to admit I am definitely someone who craves romance and comedy and feel good fiction, but I loved reading this post and I hope you do too! Over to Melissa!
Happy New Year’s Eve! For some of you, dragging your way to the end of this dismal year will be a relief. It’s no great statement to start this article by saying that the last two years haven’t been the easiest or the most hopeful, and many of us have been turning to fiction for a bit of escapism from the trash fire around us. What has been interesting, though, is what myself and my friends have been choosing to escape into. While some readers have been diving into romance stories and comedic plots, I’ve found myself drawn towards the very thing that more and more mirrors the world around me – Post-Apocalyptic fiction. And, chatting with my fellow readers, I don’t seem to be the only one. So why are we turning more towards the darker side of fiction when our present circumstances seem so bleak? It’s because the End of the World, especially when explored through a young-adult lens, can be some of the most hopeful and uplifting fiction around. Sound weird? Here are 5 examples coming up in 2022 that prove my point.
The Arc – Ben Oliver – Chicken House Books, April 2022
The thrilling conclusion to Ben Oliver’s mind-bending dystopian trilogy comes out in spring next year. If you haven’t picked up the first two in this series yet, there is plenty of time and I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum! The Loop Trilogy follows the adventures of head-strong teenager Luka Kane, who has been fighting for the rights of his fellow inmates and young friends in a world that seems pitted against them. Filled with high-intensity chases with zombies; genetically modified tunnel rats; and enough drones to scare off Amazon, this trilogy is an exhilarating read for reluctant readers and those seeking escapism alike. Plus, it empowers the reader to feel like if Luka can stand up for himself and his world and fight for better, then we all can.
Alone Out Here – Riley Redgate – Disney Hyperion, April 2022
Imagine that you find yourself all alone on an evacuation ship, sent from earth to escape a catastrophic apocalyptic event. Now imagine that you’re a teenager, and so is everyone else on your intergalactic journey. Leigh Chen is one such teenager chosen for this mission as the First Daughter, and she joins 52 other children of world leaders, scientists, and engineers. They find themselves taken on the impromptu journey after taking a tour on the prototype spaceship, Lazarus, but the end of the world came a little ahead of schedule and they find themselves alone in their search for a new home planet. This sounds like a story of hope across the stars, with a few exciting twists and turns along the way. Once again teenagers are at the forefront of forging a new future, with all the hopes and dreams that go along with it.
The Stranded – Sarah Daniels – July 2022, Penguin
It’s fair to say this is one of my most anticipated debuts of 2022. Described by Penguin as The Hunger Games meets Station Eleven, this sounds like a gripping YA near-future thriller. The story is set on a once luxurious cruise ship, The Arcadia, which became a refugee camp after being driven from Europe by an apocalyptic war. Now it floats near what is left of the USA, and for forty years the residents of the ship have been prohibited from making landfall. Teenage Esther is a loyal citizen, trying hard to make a good life for herself and buy a ticket to dry land. But when she meets Ben, a rebel planning to liberate the Arcadia and turn their world upside down, what side will she choose? Filled with love triangles and intrigue, this looks like an exciting story to escape into in 2022!
Timberdark – Darren Charlton – September 2022, Stripes Publishing
If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction and haven’t read Wranglestone yet, then where have you been? Part zombie thriller, part queer love story, this novel (now series!) by Darren Carlton is the epic modern upgrade on the undead genre that we all so desperately needed. The romantic storyline of the first book injects some much-needed hope into an otherwise Walking-Dead-Style dark storyline, and it’s simply wonderful to see more queer characters in this genre. This said, you can imagine how excited I was when I read that Charlton had announced a sequel, Timberdark, on his twitter. I’m hoping for more answers about the apocalypse, plus more sweet scenes between Peter and Cooper. Is there anything more hopeful than love conquering all – even zombies? I don’t think so!
The Undying Trilogy #Book 2 – Melissa Welliver – Autumn 2022, Agora
Books I can’t finish this list without mentioning my own release for 2022! The second instalment in my dystopian trilogy, and the sequel to The Undying Tower, this book is filled with twists, turns, and more world-building than ever. In my trilogy, the world is a broken place. 5 percent of the human population have a gene that allows them to live indefinitely, and the other 95% have enslaved them. Doomed to a life of servitude, hard labour, and discrimination, the Undying, as they become known, and on the edge of rebellion. And after all the secrets the protagonist, 16 year old Sadie, learns in book one, she’s almost ready to join them – or will she end up leading it herself? I’m so looking forward to exploring teen agency and ways for my little characters to fight the brutal regime they find themselves in, and I hope you’ll join me for the journey!
So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself down to your local bookshop and pick up some dystopian fiction – you never know, looking into the black mirror might just fire you up to change the world around you. Here’s to a better year in 2022 than those that came before it – and to even more surprisingly uplifting post-apocalyptic books!
Thank you so much for reading! Are you a fan of dystopian writing? Do you find it comforting in the way Melissa describes? I’d love to chat to you in the comments!
3 thoughts on “Guest Post: Why the End of the World is never The End of the World in YA fiction by Melissa Welliver”
Great to see that there is so much out there for YA dystopian fans. Zombies do now seem passe to me, what with the Walking Dead franchise pretty much killing off all my will to live. Space themed adventures are always fun, no matter the plot. I’m not into adult (or any real hardcore) dystopian books, but was a focus group reader for The End of Men. That is a good read, stark, and can recommend it. The viewpoints are, however, primarily adult.
Give me a great comedy adventure mystery and I’m a happy reader.
Thanks for a great end of year post. We wish you a very happy New Year, and look forwards to your 2022 reviews! 🙂
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Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I really hope you’ll enjoy my 2022 posts. I tend to stick to romance and contemporary adult, or thrillers/mysteries, but I do enjoy some dystopian YA and I think MG dystopian is often brilliant (I especially recommend Nicola Penfold!). Happy new Year Erin and Mrs H! X
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Thanks for the Nicola Penfold recommendation. I shall add her to my must read list. HNY!
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