The Hunger Games: Pop culture phenomenon leaves fans ravenous for more

Book review by Sarah Pruitt

Sometimes, a phenomenon strikes when you’re least expecting, popping up out of the blue and suddenly swelling into something massive and living and breathing, undulated by the passion of both its supporters and naysayers alike. In our recent history, perhaps the two greatest pop culture phenomena are J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight; two book series and movie franchises that couldn’t be any more different, but have one main thing in common: they’ve taken over their fields and shaped people’s lives for better or worse.

Both Potter and Twilight are popular book series that hit their prime after the release of their movie adaptations. Though their legions of fans and, in Twilight’s case, perhaps even more passionate anti-fans, could not have been predicted, the newest phenomenon on the rise is that of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. And anyone who’s heard of it knows that it’s going to leave the same crater-sized impact as both the Boy Who Lived and sparkling vampires.

Those who have read Collins’ books, and even those who haven’t, are awaiting the movie’s March 23 release with bated breath, waiting to see the next Big Thing take off.

If you have read The Hunger Games, the first book in Collins’ trilogy, then you surely have fallen in love with her awe-inspiringly creative and crazy world, which holds just enough grain of reality to invest its readers in the gruesome “what if?” If you have yet to feast your eyes upon the adventures of Panem, then what on earth are you waiting for?! Go to your nearest bookstore or library RIGHT NOW!

So what is this series about? What makes it so special, so worthy of phenomena-status, so worthy of the certainly endless amount of attention it’s due to receive once the movie has opened worldwide and even non-readers are immersed into the story of the 74th Annual Hunger Games?

For starters, the premise is unique, exciting, suspenseful, thrilling, with a few comedic breathers thrown in, and just enough genuine, beautiful romance without crossing over into a melodrama. It’s about Panem, the shattered remnants of what was once North America, now suffering from a war that has left 12 districts at the mercy of the evil, ruthless Capitol. Because of this war, in order to show that they still have full power over the Districts, the Capitol forces each District to send two of their children, ages 12 to 18, called “tributes,” to fight each other to the death in a televised arena.

Enter Katniss Everdeen, the narrator and heroine of the series.

Katniss is everything true heroes are made of: kind-hearted, strong both mentally and physically, intelligent, selfless, and loyal. She’s so independent and capable, in fact, that it almost makes the love triangle that develops a moot point; like a true modern-day feminist icon, she doesn’t need a man to define who she is.

I can’t divulge too much extra information lest you want to be spoiled. The Hunger Games is filled with twists and turns, and the kind of suspense that keeps you leaning on the edge of your seat as you frantically turn to the next page.

Be sure to read the book before you watch the movie because I promise that no matter how amazingly the story transfers from page to screen, there’s no better place to experience the Arena than within your own imagination.

Blueprint grade: A+

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