As most people are probably aware, the Hunger Games movie is coming out soon. There has been a huge marketing blitz, even though there is already a big built-in fan base because of the books. The Hunger Games is everywhere. It's the kind of thing that might usually get on my nerves, except...I loved The Hunger Games.
I'm going to admit, I hadn't heard of this trilogy of books until a few months ago when my aunt suggested I might like them. I was skeptical at first because they are technically "young adult" novels, aimed at teenagers. Then I thought, A: my aunt doesn't normally steer me wrong when it comes to books, and B: I liked the Harry Potter books, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, and Neil Gaiman's Coraline and The Graveyard Book, and they were all aimed at younger readers, too. I'm glad I gave them a shot, because The Hunger Games and its two sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, were fantastic. The books take place in a dystopian North America, where the Capitol rules over outlying districts who each provide two "tributes" every year, a boy and a girl, picked by lottery, for a fight to the death in a televised spectacle called the Hunger Games. Twenty-four tributes go into the arena, and the last one left alive is the winner. This is a punishment to the districts for a previous rebellion and serves as a yearly reminder to them who is in control.
The main character in The Hunger Games is Katniss Everdeen. She lives in District 12 with her mother and younger sister. When her sister is chosen at the lottery to go to the games, Katniss volunteers to go in her place. Katniss is a talented archer from years of hunting to provide extra food for her family in their impoverished district. Reading about her skill with a bow and arrow made me want to take up archery myself!
Katniss, in the movie
Here's the thing about Katniss- she is the kind of strong female character that I'd like to see more often. The media is hyping the movie as another Twilight and playing up the love triangle angle with her friend Gale and her fellow District 12 tribute Peeta. No. Stop that, media. This book is not about some mopey girl mooning over a choice between two guys and defining her life based on them. Katniss takes care of her family and herself, and she is too busy being tough and trying to survive to spend a lot of time dwelling on Peeta vs. Gale.
I could not put this book down, and although The Hunger Games was my favorite of the trilogy, Catching Fire and Mockingjay were page-turners as well. I cannot recommend them enough.