How to Overthrow Your Dystopian Government

Kit Steinkellner

Staff Writer

Kit Steinkellner is a playwright, screenwriter, and creative writing teacher. She also writes about books and reading  at Books Are My Boyfriends. Follow her onTwitter: @BooksAreMyBFs

Outcasts Jill WilliamsonThis post is sponsored by Outcasts by Jill Williamson.

From multiple award-winning author Jill Williamson comes this second book in The Safe Lands Series.

Now officially a rebel force called the Messengers, Levi and Jem search for ways to overthrow the Safe Lands government and free the people under its spell. But Levi’s brother Mason holds the information they need. Enlisted as a medic inside the Safe Lands’ walls, Mason learns the suppressants the populace are forced to take may not be beneficial at all. But getting the information out could cost him his life.

On their way to be publicly “liberated,” Mason learns the truth about those who die: “That’s the lie. The Safe Land nationals don’t know it, but no one dies during liberation. They’re exiled to the Lowlands to work the fields. That’s where we will be sent. And that’s where we will truly die.”



You guys, I learn so much from books! I learn about how the brain and universe works from popular science, I learn about anthropology from narrative non-fiction, I learn about how to have empathy for other people from literary fiction, and I learn about how to overthrow dystopian governments from YA!

Below, some tips I’ve picked up just in case you find yourself… you know, in a dystopian government you want to overthrow.

1.) Be a Teenage Girl

You can even be a teenage boy, maybe (and I REALLY mean maybe), but please don’t try to overthrow your dystopian government if you’re an adult (remember 1984? Brave New World? Handmaid’s Tale?); you’ll just get yourself brainwashed or disappeared or worse, your mission will be so futile you won’t even be a character that gets written about.

2.) But DON’T Be “Just Like Other Teenage Girls”

It’s better if you’re a loner and don’t have many (or any) friends who are girls (a hot/weird boy is fine) and you don’t feel like you fit in with other teen girls and you’re sad/angry about being lonely. At the minimum you have to feel odd and discontented and “different.” YOU CAN’T OVERTHROW A DYSTOPIAN GOVERNMENT IF YOU FIT IN!!!!

3.) Be a Really Blunt, Stubborn, and Aggressive Teenage Girl With a Chip on Her Shoulder and a Huge Problem With Authority.

You don’t have to start out aggressive and hating authority. You just have to BECOME these things over the course of your journey. You can’t be pleasant and easy to get along/work with. That’s not how overthrowing a dystopian government works.

4.) Have a Hot Boy be in Love With You (the more, the better)

This is almost as important as being a teenage girl. Cross my heart and hope to die, you are DOOMED in your efforts if you do not have a teenage boy who’s in love with you. I don’t care if you’ve rallied the troops and have great battle strategies, you are screwed six ways to Sunday if you don’t have a cutie who wants your booty. And if you have TWO cuties who both want your booty? All the better, my dear!

5.) Have a Weird Name

It doesn’t necessarily have to be weird in your dystopian society, it just has to sound WEIRD to us. Also, ideally there is a nickname of your name that the hot boy who likes you uses (i.e. Katniss becomes (gag) Catnip)

6.) Speak in the First Person

If you get to be your own first-person narrator, awesome, great, super, we’re in the clear. But if you have a third person narrator, or worse, ANOTHER GIRL is the first-person narrator. I’m sorry, my love, be prepared to be a part of a body count.

7.) Be Good at Passing Tests

If you got a 2400 on your SATs, trained for that marathon, ran it, and actually FINISHED it, feel pretty confident you could win The Bachelor, and/or could outlast all your peers if ever thrown into a Battle Royale… you should feel pretty confident that you could overthrow a dystopian government.

8.) Destroy at Formalwear

It’s fine if you’re “not conventionally pretty” or don’t have two dystopian pennies to rub together, when you put on a prom dress you better WORK IT, post-apocalyptic mama.

What did I miss? What else do you need to overthrow a dystopian government?


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