The Hunger Games Trilogy.
The Hunger Games had been on my list of “to reads” for awhile, and this summer my mom mailed me her box set of the trilogy. She teaches junior high English (heaven is not reward enough for this career), and her students had torn through the three books so quickly she could hardly keep track of who had which one. It took me about fifty pages, but I was absolutely hooked and stayed up reading WHILE THE BABY SLEPT as I could not put these books down. There is no higher praise from a new mom than to willingly give up sleep, and I gave it up in not just minutes but hours for Katniss and Peeta.
Not so much for Gale.
I won’t spend time recapping the story of kids being forced to duel to the death, but I will say these books are as dark as they sound, which has apparently caused some controversy. Oh, to have such time on my hands! I found myself agreeing with a column on NPR, “Seeing Teenagers As We Wish They Were: The Debate over YA Fiction,” as Linda Holmes notes, “… I’m more intrigued by the aspirational nature of the quaint but sad idea that teenagers, if you don’t give them The Hunger Games, can be effectively surrounded by images of joy and beauty.”
Word. I remember a bit too vividly for my own comfort what it is like to be a teenager, and there were not pillows made of cotton candy.
Holmes says: “Honestly, the kids who are reading the scary YA fiction — the dark stuff, the creepy stuff, the adventurous and weird and dirty stuff — are the same kids who, if YA fiction weren’t dark and creepy sometimes, would just read dark and creepy books for adults.”
It’s so true- and I would argue that perhaps more important than what any teenager reads is the fact that they’re reading. On a selfish note, however, I’m just glad there’s a young adult series out there in which one of the main characters is not repeatedly described as “glistening.”
In case anyone was wondering, there’s absolutely no way Bella Swan would survive The Hunger Games.