The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

August 16, 2008

When I started reading The Hunger Games, the first in a trilogy by Suzanne Collins, I realized that the only series I’ve finished is Harry Potter. It’s not that I disliked the other books I read that were part of a series. At one point or another, I did plan on it, but I never got around to it. Song of the Lioness. Shadow Children. Charlie Bone. Spiderwick Chronicles. Even A Series of Unfortunate Events. After finishing The Hunger Games, I hope I read the rest. I know better than to say I will.

But really, this is one of the best novels I have read this year. The basic idea is very similar to Battle Royale. Put some kids in an arena of sorts for a fight to the death. I enjoyed Battle Royale, but I had to admit that the reason the students are sent to the arena is far-fetched. The Japanese youth are rebelling, and Japan is crumbling. What adult lets it go this far? In The Hunger Games, the kids are put in the arena as a way to make sure the twelve districts of Panem do not rebel against the Capitol. I’m telling you it’s more believable. The story takes place in Panem, the ruins of North America, and the Capitol is their harsh form of government. The twelve districts  each send two tributes–a boy and a girl, and the games are televised each year for the citizens to see. Ah, dystopia!

Suzanne Collins made the novel a joy to read. It was thrilling, and I could not wait to find out what happened next. Pretty much every chapter ended on a cliffhanger. Even the final one. It almost felt that the novel should have ended earlier and that part of the end should have been saved for the second novel. For now, I’ll just believe the author knows what she’s doing. I also love how she developed friendships between the tributes. It seems unlikely given that only one tribute can survive, but Collins does it quite realistically with her protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. She’s everything I could have asked for in a protagonist. Incredibly likeable and extremely realistic. I don’t ask for much, do I? 😉 The minor characters are also very interesting. I can’t really say lovely or nice with the viciousness of a few of them.

The Hunger Games will be published on September 14. It’s about a month away, and I know it will be met with glowing reviews and hopefully some awards. I can’t wait for the next two novels, and I hope you give The Hunger Games the chance it deserves!

The Hunger Games‘s Website.

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Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature – Robin Brande

June 7, 2008

I finished Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature a few days ago. It took me a day to read it. Needless to say, I loved it.

It is about a girl, Mena, who is having the worst time of her life. She has been ostracized from her church, barely spoken to by her parents, and lost her friends. The novel starts with a first day of high school: a time known for new beginnings.

Luckily, things begin to look up thanks to Ms. Shepherd, Mena’s crazy science teacher, and her lab partner, Casey Connor (a boy). Alas, new problems arise when Ms. Shepherd begins the evolution section, and class members refuse to believe or be taught the theory.

One of the reasons I loved Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature was that it was SMART. It covered so many topics in just 272 pages. Combining science & religion. Right vs. wrong. Teenage love. I could keep going on and on.

In the book, Casey’s sister’s boyfriend makes t-shirts with the most hilarious one-liners. My favorite: “Gravity Is Just a Theory–Why Won’t They Tell Us the Truth?”

Robin Brande’s Website.

So, readers I have a question for you: what are your beliefs on evolution and/or creationism?