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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Review I Decided Not To Write

As I get closer to being caught up with reviews, I thought today I would tackle the book I read this year that I decided not to review.  Let me explain...

Back in June, I posted here about how I was going to finally read The Hunger Games.  I did.  And, as planned, I read it with my 10 year old.  I had some short questions we talked about after every chapter or 2.  I had originally hoped we would read A Wrinkle in Time together for its 50th Anniversary.  I even told her, knowing her reading tastes, I thought she would enjoy A Wrinkle in Time more, but she insisted, Hunger Games was the book for her.

As I thought, she loved the build up in the Hunger Games; she loved the world building and details right up to the start of the games themselves.  Once the games began, she lost interest.  I literally had to force her to finish it.  We checked out a Nook from the public library, which came loaded with The Hunger Games and the novelty of reading it that way, made her finish it.  She has no desire to read the rest.

[On a side note, later this summer she read A Wrinkle in Time on her own and absolutely loved it.]

We talked a bit about what she didn't like about it, and mostly it was the romance angle.  Yes the violence turned her off a little.  The struggling to survive back in the District part she got, but the forced survival in the games, did not hold her interest.  However, she really didn't get the whole falling in love thing.  So when Katniss pretends to love Peeta so they can win together, my daughter didn't understand why Katniss switched her opinion on him so fast.

This was an age issue, as I thought it would be.  She has read plenty of YA books and loved them, most notably the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. But I knew there was a love plot line in The Hunger Games, and, quite honestly, it is a lot easier to feel the tension in a real conflict like WWI in Leviathan over a constructed reality TV show.  Even a 10 year old can see through that.

Ahh, that last comment hints a bit as to why I decided not to write a review of The Hunger Games.  The truth of the matter is, I really did not like this book.  Some of that dislike comes from the fact that I have read far too many dystopian novels, and this one does not measure up.  But more importantly, I am a reader for character, and one of my problems here is that while some characters are given quite a bit of development, others are not.  Specifically, most of the other contestants, especially the "bad guys" are very stereotypical and surface. Also as a parent, I did not believe that the residents of this world would have gotten to a point where they allowed their children to be killed off so easily.

Enough of my opinion though because my opinion is only part of why I write these reviews.  I write these reviews to explain why someone would like a specific book and to help you to match the best type of reader with that book.  In this case I feel like others have already done a better job at this than I could possibly do.  Specifically, Christi's Reading Map that she did for my class really gets to the heart of the series' appeal.

Anything I could say would not help in the RA conversation surrounding this series.  I may have a lot to say in general here on the blog, but I also know when to shut up and listen.  That's what I did here.  In fact, I have used Christi's Reading Map and other resources to help many readers who love The Hunger Games to find more great reads.

So boys and girls, that's my tale of the review I decided not to write.

Now I am off to do our last Trivia Night of the year.

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