It seems like everyone and their weird uncle has started a new hobby lately. Some people are baking bread, making soap or candles, or learning a new language.
Well, I’ve also started a new “quarantine hobby.” It was a terrible idea, not because I hate it, but because I’ve become practically obsessed with it over the past few weeks and I can’t make myself stop.
Here’s your hot take for the week: We don’t understand The Hunger Games.
“But Maggie,” I hear you say, “How could we not understand The Hunger Games? It was the biggest teen movie franchise since Twilight! Don’t you remember reading about how well the movies performed commercially? Didn’t you give a presentation on the cultural impact of dystopian fiction on young adults?”
I did indeed give such a presentation, but that doesn’t debunk my claim right off the bat. There are plenty of readers and viewers of The Hunger Games who looked beyond the hype and saw the message of the story – we wouldn’t still be talking about it otherwise. But in general, our society has missed the point.
Let’s get one other thing out of the way: The Hunger Games is not my favorite book or film series, not by a long shot. If you asked me to name my top ten books of all time, I doubt it would make the list. That’s not to say it’s a bad book though! I think it’s an excellent read and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to better understand young adult literature. Personally though, I’m more interested in how The Hunger Games is (or maybe was) a cultural phenomenon.
For those reading this who missed out on The Hunger Games or just did not care, here’s the premise: a futuristic and dystopian nation known as Panem holds an annual “Hunger Games” in which 24 “tributes” between the ages of 12-18 are selected to participate in a televised fight to the death. The heroine, Katniss, volunteers for the Games to take the place of her younger sister Prim. Fair warning, there will be plenty of spoilers as we keep going!
A good book is hard to find. This is a truth that I have acknowledged my entire life, but I have come to realize it more and more recently. With a Barnes & Noble gift card in hand, I have browsed the shelves dedicated to young adult literature in search of a book worthy of my “hard-earned” dollars.
Sometimes, a book catches my eye. Maybe the title is clever, or the cover is pretty. Either way, I find myself picking it up to take a closer look. I read the blurb – that little summary on the dust jacket or back cover – and, more often than not, place the book back on the shelf.
You see, there are so many authors trying to hitch a ride on the YA Fiction Express right now. And, quite frankly, that means that there are many, many sub-par books out there. Books full of clichés, poor writing, and very little creativity. I’ve found that while reading book blurbs, there are certain words and phrases that almost always turn me off to a book. Now, I’ve compiled the “Book Blurb Blacklist” so you can be an informed reader too.