Dystopian fiction is booming. Booksellers can barely make enough room for all the works of ‘young adult’ dystopian fiction being published, and ‘adult’ dystopias continue to dominate the bestseller lists. But how do ‘young adult’ dystopias relate to ‘adult’ dystopias? By examining two recent works of dystopian fiction, The “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins and “The Circle” by Dave Eggers, Christine Lehnen re-negotiates and stabilises the definition of the dystopian genre. In doing so, she incorporates recent findings from literary criticism, narrative research, and psychology on the effect of texts, considering fiction as a simulation of the social world. In exploring Iiterature’s unique performance capabilities, such as emotional effect and foregrounding, this analysis aims to outline some answers to the question of what the dystopian genre is today.