It all started with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and frankly I still think they are the best. (Though to really give credit where it is due, Lois Lowry's The Giver is probably the true source of the genre.) What I mean of course is alternative reality dystopia stories. Before this there were vampires and there is still a big section of the bookstore in the YA section labeled "Paranormal Romance." Dystopia does not have its own section, but it could:
James Dashner: Maze Runner series
Veronica Roth: Insurgent trilogy (final book due out in October)
Ally Condie: Matched trilogy
Catherine Fischer: Incarceron duo
Leigh Bardugo: Shadow and Bone trilogy (second book was just released)
Rae Carson: Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy (final book due out in August)
and maybe even
Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (no release date that I know of for the final book)
I enjoy this type of novel. Another pre-cursor of which is 1984 by George Orwell, but I have had enough. Once the trilogies I have started end, I will not be picking up a new series. As much as each of these is unique, or I would not have read past the first 50 pages, they do start to blend together after a while.
1. Strong female and male characters, making the books appealing to all readers.
2. Struggle against a corrupt or at the very least, deeply flawed government.
3. Death of one or more significant characters resulting in big emotional impact.
4. Romance thwarted by the circumstances and the need to place the greater good above personal happiness.
5. Hero's search for his or her true place and role in the brave new world he or she helped to bring about.
I am not sure where I will go from here...hopefully into a wider variety of reading types to stimulate my brain.