Starving for More

Did I tell you that because I haven’t been able to actually finish a book for six months, I went to the bookstore and only bought young adult novels? Yummy, yummy cupcake teen fiction. Holy Crap! It might be all I read from now on.

Here’s a little tidbit about your little darling here. I am always late to the party. Always. I still have not read all those Steig Larsson books, and I’ve never read James Patterson or Nicholas Sparks. So when all this hype about Mockingjay came out, I was completely in the dark. Then I picked up The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins as part of my cupcake bookstore run.

I have to say that I tore through The Hunger Games in a day and was amazed at the complexity and the politics. Calling this a YA novel or set of novels – because really it’s a trilogy – might be a disservice. Just because a book is about kids, doesn’t mean it’s for kids. But man, fantastic.

I don’t feel that a review is in order here. Just because I read all three books in a matter of five days and to just review one would be full of spoilers to the next one. And, again, I’m late to the party. These books have been around for awhile and I’ve only just discovered them. However, I’m pretty sure that the first book, The Hunger Games, is going to be my number one book of the year.

Let me just say that the story is well crafted, well paced, and full of heartbreak for the reader. We want strong and sassy characters to be okay. It was a dicey move to have Harry Potter survive all kinds of physical and emotional abuse, be stalked by a vicious killer, be the cause of death and destruction on a constant basis and come out squeaky clean with no nightmares or post traumatic stress disorder. The same cannot be said for Katniss Everdeen and Co. I’m so glad that we get to see the long term effects of treating our youth as entertainment, having their lives depend on pleasing the adults around them, vying for corporate sponsorship in order not to starve, and forcing them to kill each other for ratings. I can’t help thinking that if certain cable television shows didn’t promote teen pregnancy with a fucking reality show, girls wouldn’t be screwing assholes to get pregnant and then exploiting that pregnancy to get on TV. But that’s been going on for since TV was invented – girls fucking assholes to be a star.

Katniss constantly raises a middle finger to such manipulation, but also plays such a huge role in all of it that it takes your breath away. Suzanne Collins hinges “The Hunger Games” world on a emotionally damaged sixteen-year-old girl and it proves to be just as dramatic and emotionally charged as a sixteen-year-old girl can get. A sixteen-year-old girl who can put an arrow in your eye from fifty yards away.

There is a point in the book, where relating the feeling of not eating for a few days, Katniss describes a hollow day. A day where, no matter how much or how often you eat, you’ll always be hungry for more. I’m mad at myself for devouring these books so quickly. There is nowhere to go now, except wait for a movie that can in no way put on screen what Collins so deftly put before us on the page. But I now feel hollow and am desperately waiting my next yummy morsel.

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8 Comments

  1. Amy 07.Dec.10 at 10:11 am

    I think there are some cool things happening in YA these days. I didn’t used to read it at all, but I find myself more and more interested. I really enjoyed these books too. Too bad you didn’t read them last month–the Books and Bars before Thanksgiving covered all three books at once. It was a great discussion.

    Reply
  2. LeAnn Suchy 07.Dec.10 at 10:17 am

    It’s about damn time! I loved all of these books and I knew you’d like them! I agree, though, the movie will not be able to capture everything and I’m very nervous about it. I don’t want it to suck.

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  3. Jodi Chromey 07.Dec.10 at 1:56 pm

    LeAnn, Sadly I haven’t read these yet. I just forgot to change the author on the post. But I’m sure Jodie agrees with you.

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  4. Jodie 07.Dec.10 at 5:19 pm

    Totally.

    Reply
  5. Kelly Barnhill 08.Dec.10 at 6:52 pm

    One of the things I love about YA is that, for now, it’s almost entirely un-balkanized. You’ve got dystopians sitting next to romances sitting next to family dramas sitting next to humor, and all of those books (through the minds of their readers) are talking to one another. But, mostly, what you see in YA fiction is a commitment to Story. These books are ruthlessly edited, lean and smart, and I think that their new popularity is forcing adult fiction to kick it up a notch, which, in the end is good for books.

    I loved Hunger Games. Loved, loved, loved. Glad you did too!

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  6. Jodie 09.Dec.10 at 10:01 am

    Kelly, I completely agree. Upon rereading the first Harry Potter book earlier this year I was amazed at how tight it was. There is not one wasted word. The Hunger Games trilogy is so deft and smart! The bar is absolutely higher now in YA than adult fiction.

    I think I came across this link on Twitter, but I’m going to use it as a guide for what to read in 2011 – http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/best-ya-books-of-2010-a-literary-mixtape_b18638

    And I’m open to suggestions of good YA. Currently I’m reading MATCHED by Ally Condie.

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  7. LeAnn Suchy 09.Dec.10 at 10:18 am

    Jodie, I just started The Carbon Diaries 2015 and it’s really interesting. The UK begins really strict carbon rationing in 2015 and we’re told about it through the diary of a teen. I’m only 30 or so pages in, but I can’t wait to keep reading it. I’m sure I’ll post a review about it soon.

    A friend recently told me that I have to read the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, too. She said the last fourth of the last book had her in tears, but it was worth it.

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  8. Melissa 10.Dec.10 at 11:11 am

    The Hunger Games Trilogy is great. I read each of the books in no more than a day, and I’m glad that Suzanne Collins decided to show the realistic side effects of the PTSD that she went through. However, it isn’t my favorite dystopian YA series.

    LeAnn just mentioned the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, which I read back in September when the third book, Monsters of Men was released. I’d say that it’s THE best dystopian series in the YA category right now. If you loved the Hunger Games, then check out the first book in this series, The Knife Of Never Letting Go. It’s so worth it.

    Reply

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