Fair warning: I’m about to Nerd Out major big time. But I rarely write about things other than my house or dog so HUMOR ME OK? Regular programming will return tomorrow.
So tonight, I’m going to the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games and I. AM. FREAKING. Like, KANYE CAPS freaking. If you’ve read the Hunger Games books, then you probably understand why. And you probably are also freaking. If you haven’t read them, let me convince you why you should.
1. The Hunger Games books are NOT Twilight.
Now listen. I read Twilight (admittedly, before it was, like, TWILIGHT, but after it was still mildly embarrassing), and I even convinced a few other people to read Twilight. Always with that “I’m totally too cool for this but I’ll tell you about it anyway” tone that only 20 somethings can use when talking about YA literature.
But it was only a low-to-mid level embarrassment until the movie came out. Um…those movies are terrible and I literally LOL’d at totally inappropriate times/volumes in the movie theater, causing the tweens around me to shake their tiny fists in protest. And then…the fourth book came out and ***SPOILER ALERT*** the werewolf fell in love with the baby, which would be bad enough if the baby didn’t have LITERALLY THE DUMBEST NAME OF ALL TIME. All of this combined with Kristen Stewart’s mumbleword vomit, R-Pat’s constipated sex criminal gaze and Teen Wolf’s gnarly case of the jorts has taken Twilight from mildly embarrassing to I-can’t-believe-I’m-even-admitting-this-to-you-now territory.
But I am not ashamed of the Hunger Games (obvs). And one of the only things HG has in common with Twilight is an infuriating love triangle. Apparently, “pretty girl who thinks she’s plain and doesn’t understand why all the babes in the caf are totally jonesing for her” is a common theme in YA lit.
2. Katniss is a badass.
After five years of Bella Swan tripping over her feet into another dude’s waiting lap, it is so nice to read about a female protagonist who’s been a Beyonce-level survivor her entire life. Yes, she is emotionally guarded (cue infuriating love triangle), but her fight to survive both in and out of the arena is so nail-bitingly awesome, you can’t help but root for her even though YOU KNOW SHE DON’T NEED IT. Katniss doesn’t rely on her boyfriends to save her. She saves them. Multiple times. So she can’t decide which one she likes? WHO CARES. They’d both be dead if it weren’t for her, so IMHO she’s allowed to make out with both of them on occasion if she damn well pleases.
But don’t get me wrong! Unlike Twilight, Katniss has way more important things to do than think about boys (and especially sex). Baby girl’s got mouths to feed and a rebellion to incite.
So if you’re a guy and you’ve been unsure about reading these books, no worries dudes. You’re way more likely to put down this book wishing you knew how to shoot a bow and arrow/survive a post-apocalyptic lifestyle than wanting to buy iron-on letters from Hobby Lobby for your Team Peeta t-shirt.
3. Dystopia WHAAAAA?
I always said that while J.K. Rowling wasn’t much for beautiful prose, her story-telling abilities were epic. The same goes for Suzanne Collins. There were moments when Katniss’s first-person present tense grated on my nerves. But Collins’ ability to create a totally insane yet completely believable dystopian society is impressive. Kids fighting to the death for the purpose of reality TV? What? That’s crazy. No. It’s actually not. Not only will you have no problem understanding how or why the world came to this, you’ll begin thinking about how THIS COULD TOTALLY HAPPEN.
My friends and I talked about this for hours after reading these books. Think about how pop culture has transformed over the last 30 years. Every new TV show has to be bigger and crazier than the rest. Fifty years ago, “divorce” was a dirty word, but these days, we watch celebrities do it FOR FUN. That’s in the last 30 years. So think about where we’ll be 300 years from now?
If you’re still not convinced, I blame your stubbornness. Which, by the way, is Katniss’s biggest flaw. You could learn something from these books.
If you HAVE read the Hunger Games and you’re only reading this to waste time until midnight, GOOD NEWS! I have something to fill the empty void that sweet sweet Finnick left in your heart:
Count on your good friend Rosemary to introduce you to the next big thing in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction. Another book in which the future looks as bleak as the state of my current dignity? Yes, please!
Divergent is the first of a planned trilogy (sound familiar?) in which future Chicago is split into five factions based on aspects of people’s personalities. Some are calling it the next Hunger Games, others are calling it better than HG.
The honest truth:
1. This dystopian society is not nearly as enthralling as Collins’ Panem, and honestly? I was a little confused about the hows and whys. But there are still two as of yet unpublished books, so I’m not knocking it too hard yet.
2. The heroine, Tris, decides to say “sayonara” to her family’s nunnery-esque faction and join the faction of badasses that jump off moving trains and stuff. Sounds weird, right? See #1. However, Tris’ transformation from squeaky scaredy cat to teenage tough girl is impressive to see (and one that made Katniss “Badass to the Bone” Everdeen seem suddenly stagnant in comparison).
3. No infuriating love triangles.
4. The movie rights had been purchased BEFORE THE BOOK WAS EVEN PUBLISHED. And I’ll admit, I’ve already cast Tris and her hunky mentor/instructor Four in my mind, so clearly hopes are high on all fronts.
So. If by some miracle of God you’re still reading this, let’s review: Read the Hunger Games. See the movie. Skip Twilight, or if it’s too late for that, pretend you did and we’ll never speak of it again. And then read Divergent. And then give me book recommendations that are not YA dystopian fiction because it’s time I rejoin the real world.