Right before I moved to Denver in 2008, my best friend Lew was constantly bugging me to read the Twilight series. I continually refused, because despite my unfailing love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer (thanks to another Main Gay), I'm not really into this paranormal trend taking every genre by storm. However, when everyone started losing their shit about the first movie coming out I decided it was time to get on board the crazy train to Vampireland.
In a kind of related note, I was browsing wall posts between Lew and I on Facebook and found this post from November 2008 regarding Twilight:
My ignorance regarding Robert Pattinson and Twilight is pretty adorable. If I had only known about my obsession and subsequent shame that was to follow.
So yeah. I read the Twilight series and I loved it. Now before you get all hot and bothered, I realize that Stephanie Meyer is a terrible writer, Bella is a awful role model for young girls, and Edward and Bella's relationship is pretty True Life: I'm in an Unhealthy Relationship. But, for a couple of months I was so consumed by this story, I would read the book at traffic lights and stalk Robert Pattinson on the Internet. Despite all it's problems, Twilight is a compelling story and obviously a lot of people agree with me. Plus, it got a lot of people who wouldn't normally pick up a book to read, which is okay by me.
|"Hi, I'm Bella and I can't decide which super hot guy I should marry even though I'm only 18 and one of them is a werewolf and one is a vampire."|
After my obsession with Twilight, I was a little reluctant to immerse myself in another emotionally draining (yep, I was a little drained by the Bella, Edward, and Jacob love triangle, so what?) young adult book trilogy. Unfortunately, Lew and all my library friends wouldn't stop talking about Hunger Games (2008)by Suzanne Collins and I was feeling a little left out. Then, they started casting the movie with total hotties (Liam Hemsworth? Yes, please.) so I finally broke down and bought the first book in the series (Hunger Games) for my Kindle. What followed was another reading bender.
So a little background about the series. The trilogy follows Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl from an unidentified future time living in Panem. Panem is a nation consisting of a Capitol and 12 outlying districts that was developed after the destruction of North America. Each district has a specific trade or specialty that provides the people of the Capitol with everything they need to survive. Katniss lives with her mother and sister in District 12, a coal mining district formerly known as the Appalacian Mountains. Life in District 12, and really all of the districts, is incredibly awful with people actually starving to death. After her father's death in a mining accident, Katniss' mother kind of lost it, so Katniss is primarily responsible for making sure her family has food. She does this by hunting in the forest with her BFF (and total babe who is also kind of in love with her) Gale.
In order to keep the districts in line and prevent an uprising, the Capitol selects a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in a annual televised event called the Hunger Games. During the Hunger Games the contestants fight to the death until only one remains. (BTW, I should probably mention that this book gets a little intense) If you win Hunger Games, you and your family live the high life for the remainder of your days and your District gets extra food. Totally crazy, right?
So it's pretty obvious from the start that Katniss is going to have to be a participant in the Hunger Games. Her fellow District 12 participant is Peeta, the baker's son who gave Katniss bread once when she was starving and crying in the street. Other than this interaction, Katniss doesn't really know him that well, but their relationship will intensify rather quickly (as relationships do when you're in a life or death situation...at least in books and movies). I'll just say now that Peeta is totally my favorite character. It's apparent that Ms. Collins is setting up a love triangle ala Twilight between Gale, Peeta, and Katniss, but I was all about Peeta from the very start, despite knowing that Liam Hemsworth is playing Gale (have I mentioned I love Liam Hemsworth?).
|Totally hot even though he dated Miley|
Well, Peeta and Katniss are soon shipped off to the Capitol for the Hunger Games and things get real crazy, real fast. I love me some crazy (um, the Real Housewives anyone?) so I was completely engrossed. I wanted to find out what happened to the main characters so desperately, that I couldn't read this book quickly enough. I tore through it like a madwoman and when I finally finished at 1:30 am, I immediately purchased book two in the series, Catching Fire. Over the course of the next two days, I finished this book and the final book in the series Mockingjay.
I'll admit that I'm not a fan of the science-fiction genre. In fact, while employed at Barnes and Noble I spent a lot of time making fun of the people that were (I've since changed my snobbish ways). However, I didn't find this book to be too "science fictiony" (yeah, that's not a word) or weird for my taste. And actually not being a fan of the genre probably helped, because most of the criticism I've read about this book is in regards to it's predictable sci-fi tropes. Not being an avid reader of sci-fi, I didn't recognize or care about these.
I know that some of you are going to be like, "Well Georgie. I can handle a little sci-fi, but I really can't handle kids killing each other." Okay, that's valid. The concept of the Hunger Games is incredibly messed up and I was often a little overwhelmed by the violence in the book. However, the Games and their intensity give the story a much bigger emotional punch, so it seemed worth it to me in the end.
So, what is my best argument to get you to read this book? Well this anecdote is incredibly embarrassing, but also quite indicative of how consuming the Ms. Collins' can be. I had to have some dental work done just days after finishing the series. My dentist, while preparing to drill my tooth, told me to think of something that makes me happy and I immediately began thinking about the Hunger Games. Embarrassing, right? But also true. I promise that if you read this book, you will have an equally embarrassing moment. Pick it up and let me know what you think!