In the wake of The Hunger Games, YA bookshelves are overflowing with novels set in the future. As a name enthusiast (okay, name nerd!), I’m intrigued by the names authors choose for their characters. I find myself evaluating futuristic names according to current name trends, pondering the likelihood of these names being used decades or centuries from now. If we examine the rise and fall in popularity of some of these names over the past 150 years or so, what predictions can we make for the future?
Everything Old Is New Again
Expectant parents are increasingly choosing names that were popular with their great-grandparents. Antique names sound fresh, and while the following names aren’t exactly common yet, their gradual upswing in popularity may indicate a continual rise, positioning them for widespread use by the time these futuristic heroines are saving the day.
Beatrice: Divergent by Veronica Roth (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, 2012 Readers’ Choice selection, 2012 Teens’ Top Ten nominee) features a society divided into factions and a girl who doesn’t fit into just one category. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA)*, the name Beatrice was among the 50 most popular names during the early 1900s. After a long absence on the popularity charts, it’s recently crept back into the top 1,000 names.
June: The ambitious heroine of Legend by Marie Lu (2012 Teens’ Top Ten nominee) bears a surprisingly sweet name, considering she’s determined to avenge her brother’s murder at any cost. The name June was most popular in the 1920s. It reappeared in the top 1,000 in 2007, and is now #470 on the SSA list.
Eve: In Eve by Anna Carey, girls are taught to fear men after a plague destroys most of the earth’s population. The name Eve, a Biblical classic, has hovered around the middle of the SSA’s top 1,000 list, rising to modest popularity in the 1910s and again in the 1960s. It fell off the charts for several decades, but we’re now seeing more Eves born in the United States than ever before. The name is definitely plausible for Carey’s book, set in 2032.