Friday, June 3, 2011

Weekend Reading

I used to be a teacher, worked with kids for years, and was an editor for an educational publishing company, so "young adult" fiction appeals to me somewhat. I like to read what is the hottest topic amongst the teens. I wasn't obsessed with Twilight or Harry Potter, but I do think those authors did a great job with uncovering a niche that kids are fascinated with. So when I heard about the Hunger Games, I was intrigued because many schools are promoting these books because they contain elements of history, politics, and social issues (not romance, sorcery, and vampires!) I read all three in a week--they are super fast reads and actually pretty addicting. I thought the first book "Hunger Games" was fabulous and was disappointed by the other two. That said, I recommend this series to anyone, especially if you have teenage kids. It might be fun to have a book club with your kids and discuss how they feel about the issues in these books and what freedom means to them.

Quick plot summary: The main character is 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (love the name!) who lives in the country of Panem, which once was North America. We don't learn much about what happened to the world in which we live in today, except that it was completely destroyed and the remaining country of Panem is divided into Districts that are ruled by the Capitol, which is run as a dictatorship, where the people have no freedom at all. Every year the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games, where children's names are drawn from a lottery and they compete to the death in an arena. It serves as a reminder to the Districts that the Capitol is in complete control. Katniss's father is dead, leaving her to take care of her mother and younger sister by hunting in the forbidden woods and trying to trade enough to keep her family fed. When her little sister's name gets drawn for the Hunger Games, she immediately takes her place instead. She is paired with Peeta, a boy from her District and off they go to prepare for the games. The rest of the series is Katniss and Peeta's struggle to stay alive and eventually to overthrow the Capitol. This book reads very much like a "1984" book for young adults.

My personal take on it: I don't think Suzanne Collins should win any awards for being a great author as the writing is subpar and at times frustratingly bare. However, she is obviously a masterful storyteller and extremely clever to create this believable science fiction world. Give it a chance, at least by reading the first book, to see what you think.

1 comment:

Sassy B. said...

OK, I think I'll try Hunger Games. You've convinced me. (:

I've read two YA books: The Book Thief and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Both were pretty good reads.

Reading "Sherry and Narcotics" on my kindle. Still trying to adapt to e-reading.