Adults wonder why bleak, dystopian novels — such as The Hunger Games and Divergent series — appeal to teens. I try to answer that question in this Q&A with Rachel Hatch at ISU's Media Dept. In the article "Professor: Divergent movie hits dystopian nerve with teens," I explain that in these books and films there is:
a sort of allegory of the highly competitive social experience of high school where there is a ruthless struggle for popularity in an environment of seemingly arbitrary rules where teens assume that their every move is constantly observed by others. That makes sense to me and is clear that these dystopian novels and films hit a nerve with teens and Millennials who imagine their futures in rather grim terms.
I think that while adults are disturbed by the violence and killing in these books and films, teens are more drawn to the way the characters try to solve problems and survive. Of course, there's also the romance, particularly in the Divergent series, that's heightened by the possibility that any moment one or both of the characters will die.