There's an discussion article today on the New York Times opinion page about "The Dark Side of Young Adult Fiction." A variety of writers and "experts" weigh in with some fairly vapid remarks, but I thought Steve Westerfeld, author of the Leviathan series, hit the nail on the head with his comment on teenagers today:
"Teenagers are at a stage of life where they must tangle with almost adult responsibilities — school, work, college applications — and yet they haven’t been granted many adult powers or respect. They’re encouraged to work, but generally at menial jobs, and when they show up to spend their money, they’re carefully watched, assumed to be shoplifters and loiterers.
Schools are places where teens are subject to dress codes, have few free speech rights, and are constantly surveilled, where they rise and sit at the sound of a bell. Is it any wonder that dystopian novels speak to them?"