Tag Archives: Suzanne Collins

‘Hunger Games’ Author To Publish Children’s Book

If the upcoming Hunger Games movies aren’t enough Suzanne Collins for you, have no fear. The famed author of The Hunger Games series is releasing another book; but this one is a little different from the last three.

Year of the Jungle will be an autobiographical children’s picture book. According to Entertainment Weekly, however, the book will still have some similarities to The Hunger Games; or rather the main character will share some of the same qualities as Katniss Everdeen. The story will focus on a young girl dealing with the harshness of war. It’s about a girl named Suzy whose father is overseas, fighting in the Vietnam War. It’s a story that comes from Collins’ own childhood memories, as she explained in the press release for her book.

For several years I had this little wicker basket next to my writing chair with the postcards my dad had sent me from Vietnam and photos of that year. But I could never quite find a way into the story. It has elements that can be scary for the audience and it would be easy for the art to reinforce those.  It could be really beautiful art but still be off-putting to a kid, which would defeat the point of doing the book.

My guess is it’ll be tough to top sales and the popularity of The Hunger Games series, but it could be good. Thoughts?

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‘Hunger Games’ Outsells ‘Harry Potter’ on Amazon

Sorry, Potter fans. Hunger Games fans are better than you …in terms of Amazon sales anyway.

According to Deadline, The Hunger Games trilogy is now Amazon’s top-selling book series of all time, outselling Harry Potter. Sales numbers include both physical books and e-books. Exact sale numbers are not being released, according to The New York Times.

Despite The Hunger Games’ obvious popularity with young adults, it’s still surprising, considering there are seven Harry Potter books that were released over 10+ years, compared to only three books in The Hunger Games trilogy, released over four years.

Another close call on the list? No surprise here: E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, which is still number one on The New York Times bestseller lists for print, e-book, and paperback trade fiction.

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Is Suzanne Collins’ Writing Style the Future?

Suzanne Collins has captivated readers all over the world with The Hunger Games trilogy. But was it the content of the books or her writing style that made the books so monumental?

According to this Huffington Post blog post, blogger Jeff Goins suggested that Collins’ writing style is the successful writing style of the future: short and concise, but also edgy. But blogger Lev Raphael argues that if this style is the future of writing, it will only bring on a rush of bestseller copycats.

What he’s arguing for, whether he knows it or not, is myriad knock-offs of The Hunger Games, books written to what might seem like a formula, or has been turned into one.

The result would be a raft of terrible books, as well as disappointed authors who think, “My books is just as good as The Hunger Games, why can’t I sell it?” or “Why isn’t anyone buying my book?” Hell, that’s probably going to happen anyway, without his encouragement.

I agree with Raphael to some extent; of course, bestseller copycats would be produced. And of course, they won’t all be  as good as the original bestsellers.

However, as a person who reads both modern and classic books, I agree that the books of yesteryear are much more difficult to read. The modern ones — like The Hunger Games — are made for those with shorter attention spans who have less time to analyze, and I think it’s safe to say that is almost everyone these days. There’s something to be said for a concise writing style, even though it may not be so eloquent. What do you think? Is Collins’ style the future? Or will writing with flowery language continue to thrive?

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How The Hunger Games Film Set Up a Big Problem for Catching Fire

Contributed by Alex Rabinowitz

Two guards walk Seneca Crane to an ornately decorated Capitol room. In the center of the room is a decadent, goblet-like bowl. The guards close the door as they leave and Seneca begins to realize his fate. He walks towards the bowl and the camera reveals it to be filled with Nightlock. The rest is implied.

Of all the beautifully handled scenes in The Hunger Games film, this had to be one of the best. It’s one that does so much with so little, at once moving plot forward while informing us on the irony-loving cruelty of President Snow and the Capitol. All that and it’s not even in the book. Katniss, who serves as the first person narrator on paper, tells the reader that Snow surely executed the incompetent Gamemaker, but showing exactly how is something she’d never be able to do.

And therein lies the problem that Gary Ross and company have set themselves up for in Catching Fire. So much of Suzanne Collins’ twisty second book relies on what Katniss doesn’t know. [BOOK 2/3 SPOILERS AHEAD] Readers who have finished the series are aware that by the time the first book ends a rebellion is in motion. Much of its inner-workings happen then outside of Katniss’ grasp before and during the second book. She gets hints of it from Plutarch and scenes on television, but never really puts it all together. Katniss goes into the Quarter Quell with a limited set of information and is largely surprised at the end by a dynamic rebellion-led rescue. The reader is therefore also somewhat surprised and even confused along with her.

Ross and Collins made a very bold choice to fill in the viewer beyond Katniss’s knowledge in the movie version of The Hunger Games. The riot in District 11, private conversations between Snow and Crane, the Gamemaker’s control room, all enhanced the story immensely and made it a better film. There’s no reason this enhancement shouldn’t continue through the series, after all there’s only so much Katniss can tell us. Unfortunately, Catching Fire relies heavily on what Katniss doesn’t know. Is the ending going to be as effective if we already know there’s a revolution brewing and some of our main characters are in on it?

What results is a conundrum of sorts. Frequent Danny Boyle collaborator Simon Beaufoy is penning the adaptation of Collins’ second book and he has a choice. He can either stick with the precedent Ross has set and expand the point of view, or he can buck the trend and bring it back to the first person. Limiting the perspective may end up feeling inconsistent in the overall scheme of things; it could also jeopardize the extra awesomeness the creators can bring that Collins didn’t put in her book. Fans who cried foul at the significant changes made by Ross and company in the first film may lean towards the latter but it could confuse and upset the greater audience.

Thankfully, Beaufoy is a proven talent and will likely figure it out. He had this to say about adapting the book recently, “With this one I had to be a lot more faithful, also because there’s a fan base who are more than usually keen that you get it absolutely right. ‘The Hunger Games’ fan base are passionate beyond anything I’ve ever come across and I’d fear for my life if I get that adaptation . If I do too free an adaptation than I shall get firebombed. So I’m being really careful about that.” (Crave Online) Sounds good for die-hard fans, just glad that I’m not the one having to adapt the sequel to The Hunger Games.

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Review: The Hunger But Mainly Death Games

Recap: In a post-apocalyptic world, only one girl stands the chance to win the epic teen death battle against 23 other opponents: Bratniss Everclean. The Hunger But Mainly Death Games is a witty, ridiculous take on the popular Suzanne Collins trilogy The Hunger Games. Instead of Katniss Everdeen, the story follows Bratniss Everclean. While the overall story is basically the same — teenagers fighting each other to death in a nationally-televised event — the parodied version goes to new extremes.

For instance, the fighters kill each other through cannibalism, defecation, and strangulation with intestines. The book is at times grotesque and disturbing. The author seems to have some kind of obsession with defecation throughout the book. The characters often don’t shower, live in garbage, and eat moldy mayonnaise.

But there are other components of the story that are rather brilliant, such as its breaking of the fourth wall, its self-aware quality, and its jokes about young adult teen novels in general — not to mention cracks at Harry Potter and Twilight. It also uses very current pop culture references to make cheap, but hysterical jokes.

Analysis: To be honest, the potty humor and violence throughout the book was too much for me. Though it was funny, it was disgusting. But I also appreciated it in that it was the author’s way of pointing out how ridiculous the actual Hunger Games story is, when you really think about it.

But the highlights were the book’s references to other popular young adult fiction. For instance, the character Hagridmitch. He’s the parodied version of Katniss’s Hunger Games trainer Haymitch, but he’s actually Hagrid from Harry Potter. Somehow stuck in the wrong young adult teen novel, he constantly refers to Bratniss as Hermoine, talking about Harry and dragons. That is, until Oofie (the parodied Effie) stops him to avoid copyright problems. Hagridmitch appears throughout the book and almost always had me laughing. There’s also a scene that references Twilight author Stephenie Meyer in the most hilarious way.

The book also takes jabs at young adult fiction in general — like its emphasis on love stories — in The Hunger But Mainly Death Games, Pita (the parodied Peeta) is a crazy stalker, the popular use of first-person narration and the often ludicrous decisions made by the main characters.

Some fans of The Hunger Games may not like the book. The Hunger But Mainly Death Games, as I said, points out some of the ridiculous aspects of the original novel and obviously, makes fun of it. Some may also not enjoy the level of grotesque jokes. But overall, it’s a funny, quick read that’s sure to make you laugh at least a few times, whether you’re a fan of The Hunger Games or not.

MVP: Hagridmitch, without a doubt. The author was brilliant to include this character that serves as a metamorphosis of Hagrid and Haymitch. After all, the two characters serve virtually the same purposes in both teen series. Hagridmitch was consistently the funniest character in the book, and in a parody, that’s a perfect character.

Get The Hunger But Mainly Death Games now for just $7.79.

And get the e-book for just $0.99!

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Hunger Games Movie Marketing Boosts Book Sales

People are getting hungry for The Hunger Games (See what I did there?) The movie version of the bestselling book is still two months away from debuting in theaters, but the hype has convinced people to crack open the book.

According to this article by The New York Times, circulation of the series — including The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay — has more than doubled since the summer. That’s when production on the first movie began. At that point, only 9.6 million book in the series were in circulation in the U.S. But now, that number has climbed to about 23 million copies.

With help from the movie’s production company, Lionsgate, people are getting excited, as Brooks Barnes and Julie Bosman explain.

Tim Palen, the studio’s chief marketing officer, started adding kindling soon after, slowly doling out images of the characters — including Jennifer Lawrence as the young heroine, Katniss Everdeen — and sneak-peek film footage to MTV…The first full-length trailer made its debut on Nov. 18 (with “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1”), igniting Facebook and the blogosphere.

Scholastic officials say this isn’t all Lionsgate’s gates doing. The holiday gift-giving season and word-of-mouth also contributed to the spike in sales. Either way, there’s still more to come. Scholastic will release special movie tie-in version of the books February 3rd, which is sure to improve sales further.

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Get Hunger Games Boxed Set Trilogy for $31, Down From $54

With The Hunger Games coming to theaters in just a few months, it’s about time you either read or reread the trilogy: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. Yes, it’s a teen series, but it’s the one everyone is talking about — and with good reason. And if you’re on the hunt for a last-minute gift, there’s a good chance this one will go over well with kids, teens, and adults.

Get The Hunger Games boxed set for just $31, down from $54.

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The Hunger Games’ New Mockingjay Mockup

The Hunger Games has a new look. Scholastic has put together The Hunger Games Collector’s Edition, featuring new and improved cover art.

The original book used the Mockingjay pin as its central focus, and the other books in the series followed suit. The new version still features a mockingjay, minus the pin. As we Hunger Games readers know, the mockingjay has much more meaning to the series than just being a pin.

In this Entertainment Weekly article, Scholastic editorial director David Levithan explains how the new mockup came to be:

“Amazingly, we chose the mockingjay image for the first book before we knew how crucial it would be in the trilogy, and we concepted the cover directions for Catching Fire and Mockingjay before we’d read a word of either book.” He  adds, “Now we have the opportunity to go back and create new icons for each book.”

Levithan adds that the pinless mockingjay teases the significant role of the bird in the series.

So is the new cover better or worse?

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Review: Catching Fire

**Spoiler Alert: If you have only read my Hunger Games review, and not the actual book, you might not want to read the following review. Hunger Games spoilers are included.

Recap: In the second book of The Hunger Games triology, Catching Fire picks up where The Hunger Games left off, with Katniss and Peeta as victors of the Games. The novel takes the reader through their tour of Panem, meeting fans (and enemies), partying, giving speeches, and generally relishing in their 15 minutes of fame. But Katniss quickly learns there’s a lot more mayhem going on than it seems.

President Snow privately explains to Katniss that her act of defiance during the Games — attempting suicide with poisonous berries — has started talk of uprisings in the districts. He threatens to kill her loved ones, unless she can prove that her actions were not rebellious, but done out of love for Peeta.

So Katniss is faced with the task of proving her genuine love to Peeta, but will it even matter if she does? If President Snow’s stories of uprisings around Panem are true, it’s hard to believe Katniss will be able to save anyone, let alone the ones she loves.

And on top of everything else, another year has passed, which means another reaping. But this time it’s the Quarter Quell, a special Hunger Games event that happens only every 25 years. And that means anything can happen.

Analysis: By the time you get to the end of Catching Fire, it becomes stunningly apparent that the second novel acts as a bridge to the third and final book, Mockingjay. But that doesn’t mean there’s any less action.

The height of Catching Fire‘s story takes place at the Hunger Games. And this time around, the environment of the arena is strikingly different from the one in the first book. Collins does a better job of describing the layout and setting here, which adds to the story. With more sensory information, we as readers are better able to understand what the characters are dealing with. Not to mention, this particular arena is far more complicated.

Collins also focuses more on the other tributes in the arena. In The Hunger Games, Rue is the only other tribute we really get to know,  besides Katniss and Peeta. But here, we learn about a handful of them — Mags, Finnick, Beetee, Wiress, and Johanna. We also see a different side of Katniss, as she teams up with the other tributes and forms alliances. But as Katniss and the reader learn, alliance doesn’t necessarily mean trust.

MVP: Finnick Odair. Like Peeta in The Hunger Games, it’s difficult to decide whether or not to like Finnick. But we’re nonetheless intrigued, both by his actions and Collins’ handsome description of him. We ultimately learn how we’re supposed to feel about Finnick at the end of the novel, but his mysteriousness remains in tact. Let’s face it: he sounds dreamy.

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Review: The Hunger Games

Recap: In a post-apocalyptic world, the only way for people to survive is to fight to the death. And so begins the story of The Hunger Games. The country of Panem is divided into 12 districts. Two 12 to 18-year-olds from each district must fight each other in the Hunger Games until only one remains. It’s a sporting event that takes place every year. Teens must fight for their survival, and win not only recognition for his/her district, but a lifetime of food, wealth, shelter, and fame.

Katniss Everdeen offers to play as one of the District 12 representatives in the Games after her younger sister, Prim, is chosen. Katniss simply can’t allow her 12-year-old sister to play. And so Katniss begins training and preparing to enter the arena. She must learn the ways of the Games, the importance of getting sponsors, and at the same time, she must do it alongside her opponent from the same district, Peeta.

The Games go on for a number of weeks. Together and apart, Katniss and Peeta must combat starvation, tracker jacker attacks, fire, and beasts – in addition to the 22 other tributes (as they’re called) trying to kill them. But the relationship between Katniss and Peeta never stays completely professional. Unbeknownst to Katniss, she falls for Peeta, and he does the same.

Analysis: I could not put this book down. Much like J.K. Rowling does with the Harry Potter series, Suzanne Collins creates an entirely different and unfamiliar world with The Hunger Games. The intrigue of the foreign setting pulls the reader in. It then develops further as the actual games begin. One assumes Katniss will win, but then other characters begin to develop. We start to think “No! If Katniss wins, that means Peeta must die! And what about so-and-so and so-and-so?” It becomes too much.

And of course, there’s the love story. No action thriller would be complete without it, right? But it’s the atypical love story – one in which the reader questions whether or not Katniss and Peeta find true love or make it up for show, for the games.

Every plot point consumed me, forcing me to turn the pages, until the final page left me breathless and in desperate and immediate need of the sequel.

MVP: Peeta. Yes, Katniss is the heroine here – a strong, resilient, and humble fighter. But it’s Peeta for whom one feels sympathy. He’s the one holding out for and protecting his love, the one who’s a bit weak physically but has a strong heart. As much as Katniss refuses to admit it, she falls in love with Peeta. And the reader can’t help but do the same.

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