Some real contenders for greatness? Hunger Games and Unwind.
Hunger Games is a dystopian future with an olympic games with a body count televised and packaged with sponsorships for the regional competitors. Like the gladiatorial contests of ancient Rome, winning players are trotted out as examples of sudden wealth, fame and luck for the rest of the starving populace to emulate. Too bad the winners don't want to play along. I can't wait for the last installment of the series. It is like Running Man with muscles.
Unwind is also a dystopia where pro-lifers and pro-choicers have come to a compromise. All children will be born, only if their parents choose a child can be "unwound," that is parted out or recycled for parts. The social order, angst and ripples of a society willing to do sacrifice teens this way is spun out with deft and care. Finally, this book contains one of the most disturbing scenes I've ever read. I don't want to ruin it, but I will say this... I had to put the book down so my stomach would settle. Not because of gore! The scene disturbed something so deep in me that I had to come back after a break and begin again. AMAZING!
So I'll be experimenting with the YA genre. What do you all think the tropes of YA are? At this point, I've seen sex, drugs, and brutal violence in YA. Is it just protag age that sets it apart now?