I’m not sure when it happened, or if it has always been this way, but young adult literature–at least the popular stuff–has taken a dark turn. This year I’ve read and reviewed The Burn Journals, The Forest of Hands And Teeth, and now The Hunger Games.
Lighthearted these are not.
Lord Of The Flies Meets Battle Royale
In Lord Of The Flies, a group of military boys are stranded on an island after a plane crash. They wind up dividing into factions. Some of them eventually try to kill the other group.
The cult movie Battle Royale is about a class of Japanese High School freshmen who are taken to an island and forced to fight to the death.
The Hunger Games is set in, surprise, a terrible future. This is the first book in a trilogy, so the background is not all there, but there is a ruling class that live in a giant city. In a previous war they defeated a bunch of colonies which must now pay tribute each year in the annual Hunger Games.
A lottery determines two children from each colony that have to go to the city. Then they are forced into a giant arena–the environment of the arena is different every year–and they have to fight to the death. The games are televised and are a huge hit with the fat cats and lazy aristocracy.
The last one alive wins. I’m not going to say anymore. It’s really a good story and there are a lot of surprises worth finding for yourself.
Is it real? Is teenage lit darker than it used to be?
Rated 100 quivers of bloody arrows.
Update: Since I wrote this review, I have read the entire trilogy. Here is my Mockingjay review, the third and concluding volume of The Hunger Games trilogy.
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