I've been reading for my Dystopia Challenge and I finished two of the books. The Giver by Lois Lowery is really a juvenile book - so I finished it in a day. It's set in a future when the community is valued over the individual. When all feelings are in the open and children are created in lab. The society is highly structured and everyone has a place and a placement.
The story is about a boy who is chosen to be the "Receiver" of the memories of the distant past. A past that included choice, color, war, snow, pain - everything we associate with our existence. The boy is overwhelmed with the all the information and decides that the memories must be shared with the community. He also can't bear that people are "released" - when he discovers what "released" means. Death - even heartless killing. It was a hard ending. I can see the value of reading it with young people.
My next read for this challenge was Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm. I was drawn to this book because it explores a society of clones and what happens when an accidentally individual occurs. I didn't realize until I got it that it was published in 1976 - long before Dolly, the cloned sheep. It begins with the story of the need for cloning (Earth dying, people unable to reproduce) and then jumps to years later when the clones are in charge and believe their society is the way to go. Again, the community is placed above the individual and one person turns everything upside down. I liked this ending better but it was still sad.