As a voracious reader, I read all kinds of novels. Basically I look for anything with an intriguing premise written by an author who has a strong voice and the ability to tell a story that absolutely sucks you in. I’ll admit that many times I avoid the titles that are extremely popular, just because I’m stubborn enough that I want to make my own decision about what to read and not follow the herd – or the mob mentality. I guess that’s one of the reasons that I really hadn’t read anything categorized as ‘Young Adult’. Simply because it’s so darn popular.
But recently I’ve been told that I definitely need to expand my horizons and read through some of that Young Adult fiction. Because it’s so popular, that also means that the market is booming. Since that genre (though it’s really more than one genre put together under that same overall umbrella) is what everyone from grade schools through nursing homes are reading these days, it can only benefit me to dive in a bit and see what the hype is all about.
So that’s why I finally became the last person on Earth to check out The Hunger Games.
While feeling just a little guilty about diving in to Young Adult fiction, I know that the stories are not necessarily simply for teens. While the sentences are usually short and punchy, and the stories are based primarily on action, an interesting story is an interesting story. And, after a quick read through it, I have to admit that I liked it. Enough so that I’d give The Hunger Games an 8 out of 10, based on a story that grabbed my attention and continued to keep me interested in finding out what happens next.
What surprises me about Young Adult fiction is the level of violence that is a part of so many of the books – and obviously in this one where teenagers are killing each other to live. I’m not saying that this might not be integral to the story idea, or that it’s not interesting based on the overall premise, just that if the main character was 32 rather than 16, it would be considered another category of novel all together. And, it’s interesting how things change over the years. For example, Stephen King (a.k.a. Richard Bachman’s) novel The Long Walk was an adult horror story. But if it was written today, it would be categorized as Young Adult because of the ages of the main characters involved in the challenge of survival at the expense of others. And, if it had been written 30 years later, it probably would have been turned into a blockbuster movie. Timing is everything, right?
I don’t know what Young Adult story might be within me (waiting in line behind the numerous other stories that have yet to be finished) but it’s something to think about. It won’t be published in time for Jennifer Lawrence or Shailene Woodley to be the teen lead, but I think I’ll be okay with whoever they pick for the multi-million dollar movie series they base off of it. I’m not too picky…