Perhaps no genre was more dominant in books in the late 2000s or early 2010s as the dystopian YA novel. The soon-to-be classic series like James Dashner’s Maze Runner, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games or Veronica Roth’s Divergent captivated and inspired innumerable youth, laying the groundwork for a new generation of authors looking to be successful in this genre.
Among these new authors is Lindsay’s own Emma Couette, 20, who recently published her first novel, Silent Night, the first in a trilogy, she says. It is set in a future where “we went too far forwards and now we’ve kind of gone backwards.”
The setting is a “city that’s crumbling” where two factions are fighting for what’s left. A young woman belonging to one side “decides to switch, and then spends the rest of the book trying to figure out if she’s made the right decision,” says Couette.
The idea of groups or factions has always been an important part of the dystopian genre, and Emma believes this is for a good reason.
“With teenagers in high school, there’s all these supposed cliques. There’s the jocks and the art kids and the nerds.” This literary trope is used to bring a sense of relatability to teens and young adults, many of whom can relate to the exclusivity of high school cliques.
Although Silent Night marks Couette’s first published work, she says stories and storytelling have always been an ingrained part of her life.
“I was always writing small stories to a certain degree,” she said “but it wasn’t until I was 13 that I realized ‘hey, maybe I like writing. I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’m always telling stories.”
She notes that when she was a kid she was always coming up with games, noting this is also an act of creation.
The book was not originally envisioned as a novel, but rather as an entry for a writing contest. Couette then took this idea, wrote the first in a trilogy, and drafts for the other two books.