I wouldn’t say I read a lot of young adult fiction but every now and then I’ll pick up the latest craze. I read the first four books of the Harry Potter series, then stopped. Read one of the Twilight books then put it down. With those books I felt like the stories would go on for too long.
The one YA series that I really enjoyed was the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. Pullman received a lot of flak for his criticism of the church and of Christianity itself but he also raised important questions about blindly respecting and following an authority without fully understanding the reason that authority was to be followed. In doing so he created an “other world” something so similar to our own familiar world yet so much more fantastic that the reader cannot help but be sucked in.
I felt the same thing when I finished reading the first of the Suzanne Collins trilogy The Hunger Games. Collins creates a world in the distant future where North America as we know it has been divided up into 12 districts that are ruled by an unjust government in a place called the capitol. Katniss Everdeen is a compelling protagonist. She hunts game illegally and sells it in the market to feed and sustain her family. Her father was killed in a mining accident years ago and her mother never fully recovered from his death. Every year, to solidify their authority, the Capitol holds an annual Hunger Games where one boy and one girl from each district is drawn from a lottery and have to compete in a battle to the death where there can be only one winner.
The premise was compelling and the book was a complete page turner. While I am not an experienced literary book reviewer I will say that Collins artfully manages to create a story that engrosses you and tugs at your emotions even if you do know that none of it is real. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series. I might download it tonight on my kindle.
If you happen to pick it up. let me know what you think.