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Getting into the Games

My household's thoroughly read copy.

After much nagging from my kids, urging from writer friends, and the debut of the movie–which I thought was really well done–I finally decided I needed to read The Hunger Games.

I’m not big into young adult fiction–though I loved the Harry Potter series–but I can see why Suzanne Collins’ books are such a big hit.

She not only delivers on the emotion, she does just about everything right.

Sympathetic characters? What’s more sympathetic then a group of oppressed people with tragic lives and little hope for the future, who work hard to survive?

That would probably be enough to draw you in, but Collins also gives her characters bravery, loyalty, interesting skills, and selflessness. You couldn’t be apathetic about Katniss, Peeta, and Gale if you tried.

Conflict? The Hunger Games has it in spades. How’d you like to be allies with someone you’ll eventually have to kill if you want to live?

And Collins keeps twisting the knife as the book goes on, but I don’t want to give too much away, in case you haven’t read it.

Setting? North America in some dystopian future where the Hunger Games arena can be anything the Gamemakers can dream up. It’s Gladiator meets Survivor meets Lord of the Flies. I dare you to snore.

I’m not saying everything was perfect. Some of the build-up could use tighter pacing, especially in book two (Catching Fire), but even if young adult books aren’t your usual thing, I think all of us could learn a thing or two about writing compelling fiction from Ms. Collins. And, enjoy ourselves along the way.

What’s not to like about that? Next chance I get, I’m curling up with Mockingjay.

Have you read any of the books in the series? What did you think?