Monday, August 8, 2011
50 Books in a Year: Books #33 The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
How I fell into this one: My friend Julie and I had tickets for the NKOTBSB concert exactly 48 hrs. after the U2 concert...I was tired as I drove to St. Louis to meet her so I bought an energy drink one of those Monster M3 jobs, my first...heck it was my first (and, I'm not gonna lie...probably not my last!) foray into energy drinkdom. I was awake for the concert, awake for conversation after and...awake wayyyyyy after Julie went to bed. What was sitting on the end table by the futon? The whole set of the Hunger Games (thank-you Julies BF)...I read most of this book that night and finished it before left to go home.
Reaction: OK, so I've been reading all these amazing articles about how YA SF has really gone head over spaceship to create work that appeals to adults as well as kids and after the whole OVER THE TOP vampire craze, I am all for this new YA Dystopic phase...actually it's making this unit that I teach even easier as 3 years ago I spent a class period explaining things that kids already know now. Yippie! The thing is that no matter how well it's written it's still written for kids and not those kids who were reading LotR or Zelazny or Conan books in high school. If I were 11 or 12 and just found this book, I would have been blown away by the plot, by the characters, by the freshness of it all!
Just incase you don't know the plot, here it is from Goodreads:
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
The freshness of the plot...I mean I read a lot of dystopic lit and this is the first I've read that pits teen against teen in some government controlled fight to the death. I also like the way Collins lets us get to know most all the characters in the Games, so we are over-whelmed and sad even when bully children die. There are sooo many wonderful scenes that I can't wait to see rendered in the movie and the reason is because Collins can write a heck of a story.
While Katniss is pretty kick-butt compared to Bella Swan, she still isn't totally the teenage girl that I want my daughter to model herself after. Physically she is amazing! She bow hunts with her male friend Gale, she Mentally she is stunning! She has great inference skills, uses the medical training she received from watching her mother to help more than one of the kids in the Hunger Games, she understands enough about how bad the Hunger Games are that she makes it difficult for those in charge. Emotionally!!! she is just like every other teen girl in these books!!! She needs the boy to help her understand anything that requires the least bit of emotion or thought. She distrust everyone (just like the teenager girls in these books) and while she isn't lost without boys...she is lost without boys.
What I thought about the series as a whole?!
I am in love with this series and look forward to talking about it with my students.