The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

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This is technically a re-read, my first re-read of the year, but certainly not my last, as I know that Justin Cronin’s sequel to my new favorite book ever, The Passage, is coming out in August, I think, and I need to read that again for the THIRD time before it comes out. This, I read again because the movie is coming out soon and I wanted to refresh my memory on what went down so I can rip the movie to shreds when I see it.

To be honest with you, I think I enjoyed this book the second time around. It’s sort of funny how it came about that I got the copy that I read, since I first read it on my Kindle over a year ago. 

The toy store that I work at was accidentally shipped a case of these books from Schoolastic, so I took a copy and laughed to myself, thinking that this really isn’t an appropriate book for a kid’s toy store where we cater to elementary students and younger. It’s so violent, gory even, and has themes that are incredibly dynamic, intense, and adult.

But, whatever. Selling it wasn’t my choice to make, and who am I to tell other people what their eight or nine year olds should be reading? (That’s sarcasm, there.)

Part of the reason I enjoyed it more this time, I think, is just knowing that there is going to be a movie coming out. The first time I read it I kept imagining it in my head like I always do while reading, but I could never stop thinking, wow, this would be great on the big screen. I probably should have known even then, when this book was first released and turned into a sensation, that the film would shortly follow. 

But what will it be like, I wonder, watching these teenagers kill each other? This is one of those books where it’s really HARD to put yourself in the character’s shoes. I can’t imagine being Katniss, having to sacrifice myself for my sister, having to enter an arena with twenty-three of my peers, knowing that only one of us would come out alive. Having to kill to survive. It’s practically impossible to fathom. 

I thought Lord of the Flies was bad. Not bad as in terrible and I didn’t enjoy it, but bad as in TERRIBLY HORRIFYING to read and put myself into the characters shoes. That was literature. But this is better… because it’s worse. Get me? 

I’ve really been enjoying the young adult books that I’ve been reading so much of lately. I guess I never appreciated them when I was a young adult myself, because I was already reading Stephen King and Anne Rice and scoffing at my peers who were reading “kid” books at the time. Now, I envy today’s teenagers for the amount of great books they have at their fingertips that they can relate to right now, ones that are so much deeper and better than I had offered to me at that age. 

This really deserves its own blog post, but I’d just like to say, I think that even with all of its violence and terror, The Hunger Games should be read by teens – all of them. On some level, it’s a book that says:

The government may be in charge, but that doesn’t mean they are right. You may think you are safe, but you aren’t. You may think you know what love is, but you don’t. You might think you know yourself, but of course you don’t. How could you when you are only a teenager?

Feel like sharing some thoughts?