A couple of years ago, my then thirteen-year-old niece told me about the book she was reading, "The Hunger Games," by Suzanne Collins. She absolutely loved it, and even my brother was reading it. Still, I was a little dismissive about reading a book whose intended audience was initially middle schoolers and up. As hungrily as both of my girls read the entire Harry Potter series and have eagerly awaited every movie, I've yet to read the books. I believe all the hype; I'm certain they're as wonderful as everyone says they are, but I guess I'm waiting to experience them for the first time with my son. Unfortunately he's still absorbed in the Beast Quest series, by Adam Blade, and he's not quite ready for demons and parents dieing. Which, by the way, is a great way to get a little boy who is a reluctant reader off and running.
Flash forward to all the hype surrounding The Hunger Games series recently, and the fact that the movie is being released on March 23, and I finally got on board. And I'm so glad I did. I finished the first book into the am hours last night, and immediately got the second one and can't wait to begin reading it tonight. Even though this series was conceived or at least marketed for young readers, it is so tightly written, and the story develops so well through the action, you won't feel at all like you're reading one of your kids' books.
I always try to read a book before I see a movie, because I think the best thing about hunkering down with a truly great book is the part my own imagination plays in the experience. And in my imagination, my amazing niece was Katniss Everdeen herself. She is one of the strongest young ladies I know. She's a competitive gymnast and an archer, and I could clearly see the determination she shows in her sport in every one of those pages. I imagined Rue as a blend of my three younger nieces, and saw the admiration they have always had for their big sister in Prim. All my nieces are feisty, fierce and admirable in their character, strength and fortitude, both on the mats and off, and I certainly wouldn't bet against any one of them in any game. And from now on, I'll keep an open mind when they recommend a good book.
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