“Hunger Games” – Suzanne Collins

First person, present tense. It’s not often you read a book written as such.

It was good. I don’t know what all the hype is about, though –I’ll tack that up to great marketing and the void creating by the end of the Harry Potter and Twilight frenzies. I’ll also tack up the book’s media frenzy to the fact that it is, in part, about a media frenzy. Makes good TV, that.

In typical Young Adult fashion, it was an emotionally intense read. This is one of the reasons I love YA. You jump right in and go. No messing around with superfluous description, who’s who, who’s related to such-and-such. It’s also emotionally honest, something also lacking in the general fiction world.

AND it was immensely refreshing to read about a smart character. How many times have you found yourself shouting at the book (or TV) for a character not to do something (insert – go into spooky house, open the door, fight the bad guy)? Then the stupid character does it and you sit there, shaking your head. Katniss didn’t really make me do that. I spent a lower percentage of my time shaking my head at Katniss’ reactions than I usually do. I still did it, just not as much.

There was one thing that always bugged me, however. Collins set-up Katniss and Gale well in the first chapter. They could survive in the forest, were almost planning to run away and live in the forest. So, when Katniss hit the arena, why didn’t she do just that — run away and live in the forest? I couldn’t understand why she didn’t just keep running. I would have. Apparently, in the second book, it is explained that the arena is defined by invisible barriers to keep people from running away. Aaaaaaaahhhhh. Now it makes sense.

I got the message: don’t forget your past, don’t take your present for granted. The richer districts were doing just that. By revelling in the glory and media frenzy of the Hunger Games, they’d completely forgotten why the Hunger Games were invented. Heck, the people working on Katniss after her survival didn’t even match up that Katniss had been the one in the arena, the one who’d killed others, the one who’d lost friends, the one who’d almost been killed. Sounds like modern-day Hollywood only backwards. It’s all on TV. It isn’t real. Or, in today’s world, TV is very real.

A friend commented that Elise is a lot like Katniss — a survivor. Hehe. If put in the arena together, who would win — Katniss or Elise?? You decide.

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