This weekend I transformed myself into a teenager and read the entire Hunger Games trilogy. That's right, not that long ago I was reading a book meant for 4th graders and now this. I am a disgrace to adulthood.
But obviously you know what I am going to say... I loved these books. I purposely didn't read any reviews or critiques of any of them until I was done because I wanted to form my own opinions. Since it is Young Adult literature, there has been a lot of comparison to the Twilight series. I see where these people are coming from, but even if you'd never in a million years pick up Twilight, you should still read the Hunger Games.
It's almost impossible for me to summarize because honestly, my head is still spinning from all that happened, so here is an expert from the publisher's blurb about the first book:
"In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see."
The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, ends up as a her territory's female "tribute" in the Hunger Games when her sister's name is called at the selection (in the book, it's called the "reaping" which instills every bit of fear in you that it should) and she volunteers to take her place.
Katniss is then sent off to the Hunger Games with Peeta, a classmate, who once bestowed an act of kindness upon her when she was just a little girl. Since there can only be one victor, she knows that if she were to survive, it would mean that Peeta would have to die. Meanwhile, Katniss leaves behind her best friend and hunting-mate, Gale.... Enter, the love triangle.
Sure, you can make Team Gale and Team Peeta t-shirts if you want, but there is so much more to the story than just some sappy romance between teenagers. As these three books unfold, the reader struggles along with Katniss as she is forced to make choices while in the arena of the Hunger Games and during their aftermath (all while being in the public eye). Although a good amount of the book is made of action and gore, there are an equal number of emotionally charged scenes. The reader sees everything through the eyes of Katniss, so we are inside a 16-year old girl's head. A girl who quickly becomes a symbol for something far greater than herself and is forced to come to terms with it.
While reading, I went through every emotion possible (yes, there were tears. Do you know me at all?). No, I won't say that this is fine literature, but it's more than just simple minded entertainment. It's thought provoking, and at times feels eerily realistic. It gets you thinking about what you would do if in the same situation as these characters? As long as you keep in mind the intended audience, I have no doubt you will enjoy these books as much as I did.