Currently all the rage in my middle school, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games is quickly becoming a reading requirement for the teachers. First installment in the trilogy, I borrowed it from one of my former students who is in the 7th grade. Young adult books have changed dramatically since I was in the demographic. There is an abundance more to choose from in genre and in quantity. Simply, there are more books and more authors to choose from. Additionally, these novels are increasing in length, 300-400 pages becoming a norm.
What is the Hunger Games about? The English teacher on my team described it as Lord of the Flies meets Survivor. This is a pretty good description and gives a great visual. Set in the future, on the soil of what used to be North America, the society called Panem exists. To keep the 12 districts in check by instilling fear among citizens the Capitol requires that each district send one boy and one girl to the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death, each year. When the main character, 16 year old Katniss, finds out her sister has been picked to fight she immediately volunteers to take her place. Once Katniss enters the arena to fight, alliances, friendships and violence unfolds. A page turner, The Hunger Games requires the reader to expand his/her mind and embrace what follows.
As the Twilight series became a must-read for teachers of tweens and teenagers, The Hunger Games and the two installments to follow are slowly following that lead. It took me a few minutes to adjust my thinking, as I normally choose books that are set in the past/present and generally follow a more realistic plot line. That being said, I am very glad I decided to jump on this bandwagon because choosing different books to read opens your mind to endless possibilities and lets your imagination run wild.