Sunday, April 1, 2012

young adult books and not-so-young adults

I, along with so many other people, saw the Hunger Games movie this week. I thought they did a good job of adapting the story to the screen while remaining fairly faithful  to the book. (But of course the book is so much better!)

A friend told me that I "had" to read the Hunger Games series maybe a year ago. Sure, I thought. But in the bookstore, finding the book in the young adult section, noting the rather large typeface, I didn't buy it. The location in the store and the presentation of the book made me skeptical that I would enjoy it. Upon another friend's recommendation, I finally borrowed the first book and read it in a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. I literally didn't put it down. It inspired the kind of breathless, immersive reading experience that often kept me up at night with a flashlight under the covers when I actually was a 'young adult.' The next day, I went to the store to buy the other two books in the series, and devoured them over the following few days. I found them incredibly addictive (obviously), but also so thought-provoking. What do normal people do when placed in a kill or be killed situation? How do individuals and governments manipulate reality to protect their lives, or their power? How are rebellions sparked and subdued? The story is brutal, the heroine is complicated. Yes, she is 16, but this story is not only for children.

The New York Times recently published a debate on the power of young adult fiction.

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