April 3, 2012

Reflections on Hunger Games & YA Lit

Discussion of the Hunger Games movie at 5 Minutes for Mom and Doing Dewey, plus all the hype online made me really impatient to go see it! Here are my thoughts on the book, the movie, and YA lit in general. And it's all spoiler-free, promise!

Hunger Games: The Movie

I went to see The Hunger Games last Thursday night. I totally loved it. I did think Peeta was perhaps slightly miscast -- but otherwise I thought it was one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I've ever seen.

To me the biggest change (which actually I quite liked), was that the movie showed lots of different viewpoints. The book is exclusively from Katniss's point of view, so she's just sort of guessing about what happens when she's not there. But the movie shows other perspectives -- Gale's, President Snow's, Haymitch's -- which I think heightened the tension.

Hunger Games: The Book

Seeing the movie made me think back to the books, and how addicting I found them. On a whim I bought The Hunger Games to take on vacation with us in January 2011, and read the whole thing in one afternoon, quite ignoring Noel and Eleanor! As soon as we got back home I bummed the next 2 books off a co-worker. I'm glad I didn't read the books till all 3 were out -- I don't know if I could've handled the suspense of waiting for each new book. As it is, I'm going to have a hard time waiting for Catching Fire to arrive in theaters in November 2013!

And, thinking about reading The Hunger Games made me think about how much I've been enjoying young adult books lately -- particularly YA dystopias and fantasy novels. I believe that I've read more young adult fiction in the last 18 months than in the 10 years before that, and as a result I'm planning a whole post on my YA fantasy recommendations soon.

Young Adult Literature

Which leads me to those people who scorn YA Lit, because it's "for kids". Most notably, Joel Steen, who said in the New York Times that "The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.”" Which is pretty ridiculous if you ask me.

I loved Shannon Hale's responses to that on Twitter:  "Hey, the teen years can be tough. Some of us survive by growing up & writing for teens. Others grow angry and write for the Times," and "I suspect adults who sneer at children's lit don't think much of children. Adults who belittle (unread) YA lit also belittle teens."

What do you think? Did you like Hunger Games
How do you feel about YA lit?