Monday, August 30, 2010


Yes, I have now successfully completed the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It didn't take long because this is a "can't put it down" novel. I am not going to give you a review of these books other than to tell you that I enjoyed them and can easily understand why millions of people aged 12 to 80 have devoured these dystopian, young adult novels.

What has fascinated me is the discussions that I have been having with my young (as in middle school and high school) friends. Many spent the early part of August counting down the days to the Mockingjay release that marked the conclusion of the trilogy. They wondered if the author would adequately tie up all the loose ends. They worried that it would not be as exciting as the first two in the series (The Hunger Games and Catching Fire). They were stressed that someone would tell them how it ends before they had a chance to read it. (Note to all readers: Don't spoil the ending for others, no matter how much you want to gloat about reading the book first or how excited/upset/disappointed you are by it. Plain and simple, that is unfair to other readers.)

Now these young adults are debating the fine points of the plot and the writing. What is the message? Why did the people who survived live while others who we loved died? Was there too much violence or not enough? Was the writing equal to the plot or the plot equal to the writing?

The protagonist and narrator of the series is a young woman but most of the discussions I have seen and heard from my group have been between young men. That, to me, is the sign of a good young adult novel. Both boys and girls are reading and discussing the book. And they are proud to have read some fine literature and not in the least upset that the book focuses first on a woman. I am very lucky to have gotten a chance to be a part of these discussions, especially when I can merely eavesdrop. Thank you, Facebook.

Adults, some time to read these books and discuss them with the young adults in your life. Or just read them because they are good stories. Here is an essay from the New York Times Book Review about the joys of reading young adult books. Start reading or you will never know what you have been missing.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Have to, have to, have to find times for Hunger Games trilogy.