Doomed! The new teen book genre

Dystopian fiction is swiftly taking over from vampires and werewolves

Lovesick vampires, angst-ridden werewolves and troubled wizards are to be cast aside as young readers turn to gritty, dystopian narratives filled with post-apocalyptic societies and climate catastrophe.

Sales of "paranormal romance" novels for teenagers, which exploded in the wake of Stephenie Meyer's hugely successful Twilight saga, have seen a decline in the past year. Already Hollywood producers are scrabbling to sign up the new young glums.

As the literary industry gathers for London Book Fair this week, publishers believe they have seen the future, and it is thoroughly miserable. "Dystopia is definitely the buzzword at the moment," said Emma Young, senior editor at Macmillan Children's Books. "It was the big thing at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, and we've already had three agents pitch us dystopian titles for the London Book Fair."

Macmillan has just launched its latest teen-apocalypse title: Dark Inside by the Canadian author Jeyn Roberts. Set in a futuristic America devastated by earthquakes, it is being marketed as The Road meets 28 Days Later.

Penguin anticipates high levels of interest in its new series The Enemy, Charlie Higson's dark vision of a future where everyone over the age of 14 has turned into flesh-eating zombies. Excitement is also building around Momentum, the latest from Saci Lloyd, author of the Carbon Diaries novels, which depict a near-future London subjected to carbon dioxide rationing.

Young adult fiction is big business. Between 2008 – when the last Twilight novel and the first Twilight film were released – and 2009, the market almost doubled in size. This year, despite sales having dropped slightly, the teenage fiction market is worth £48m, according to industry analysts Nielsen BookScan. While the Twilight saga, which has sold more than five million copies in the UK, and the Vampire Diaries series still outsell dystopian titles, the market for "paranormal romance" appears saturated.

Perhaps the most successful in the genre is US author Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy, which have sold 150,000 copies in the UK since 2008. Set in a post-apocalyptic America, the novels depict the lives of teenagers forced to take part in gladiatorial conflict for televised entertainment. Lionsgate Entertainment has just bought the film rights. And Ridley Scott has secured pre-publication rights to film Moira Young's survival story Blood Red Road, which will be published by Scholastic in June.

Sarah O'Dedina, children's publisher at Bloomsbury, said the new trend represents a reaction against the escapism of Twilight and its ilk. "These are edgy, thought-provoking books which raise questions about what we're doing to our society and planet. They put the modern world under the magnifying glass."

Saci Lloyd added: "The best dystopia is a lens for looking at contemporary society. I like books that get children reading, and if that means vampires and werewolves then so be it, but I think reality is a more interesting topic. Who would have thought that dystopia would finally drive the stake through the vampire's heart?"

Plague, by Michael Grant

All the adults suddenly disappear from a small California town. The prepubescent survivors are shut off from civilisation and begin battling for supremacy.

Dark Inside, by Jeyn Roberts

Massive widespread earthquakes devastate the planet. Ancient evil is unleashed, and four teenagers try to make the best of it.

Momentum, by Saci Lloyd

The city is London in not-too-distant future: energy wars have laid waste to the world; oil prices are sky high; and the poor have been herded into ghettos by an authoritarian regime.

The Enemy/The Dead, by Charlie Higson

All the adults in London are infected by a horrific disease that turns them to cannibalistic zombies. Children are forced to retreat to supermarket fortresses.

The Declaration, by Gemma Malley

Science has conquered the ageing process, but now the Earth is overpopulated. There's no room for youth, and giving birth is a crime.

Matched, by Ally Condie

Authoritarian government decides who people love, where they work and when they die. A teenage girl is torn between passion and obedience.

Inside Out, by Maria V Snyder

The class war has gone mad. Society is split into two layers – the Uppers who live above ground and the Lowers beneath. Revolution is in the air.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Children are forced into gladiatorial contests by an evil government in a post-apocalyptic society called Panem. Last kid standing – alive – wins.

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvMartin Freeman’s casting is a stroke of genius

Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
music

Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
ComedyCollier was once told there were "too many women" on bill
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival

film
Arts & Entertainment
film

Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

    The man who could have been champion of the world

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
    Didn’t she do well?

    Didn’t she do well?

    Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
    Before they were famous

    Before they were famous

    Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

    Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players