A Salute to the Hunger Games
The day is here! The day when those of you didn’t stand in line for the midnight premier can grab your Nerf bow and handmade Mockingjay pin and head off to see The Hunger Games come to life on the big screen. I’m so excited that my inner fangirl can’t contain herself. Squeee!! OK, back to work. The Hunger Games is more than a book series–it’s a sensation, a book that sparked a number of trends in teen literature. Today, we salute the Hunger Games for its influence on teen books, and the trends that it has encouraged. Long may they live!
Trend 1: The Kick-Butt Heroine
Katniss isn’t personable, popular, or necessarily likable, but dang does that girl kick some serious butt. Although not the first heroine to venture into the traditionally male field of bow-slinging and face-punching, she opened the floodgates for more action girls, like:
- Katsa from Graceling
- Deryn Sharp from Leviathan
- Tris from Divergent
- Saba from Blood Red Road
Trend 2: Dystopia
Like Twilight sparked the paranormal romance trend, The Hunger Games awakened a thirst for dystopia in YA literature. And since I love dystopian stories and always have, I couldn’t be happier. The bonus? Dystopias written before the Hunger Games are now receiving the attention they deserve!
- Truancy by Isamu Fukui
- Salt by Maurice Gee
- The Diary of Pelly D. by L. J. Adlington
- City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Trend 3: Star-Crossed Dystopian Love
Although I would contend that most of the drama in The Hunger Games does not come from the Peeta vs. Gale love triangle, which has been overplayed, no teen dystopia seems to be complete these days without a doomed romance being thrown into the mix. And when the entire force of society is opposed to your love you can’t get much more doomed.
- Cassia and Ky from Matched
- Tris and Four from Divergent
- Lena and Alex from Delirium
- June and Day from Legend
Trend 4: High-Octane Action for Teens
Back in my day, the action in teen books came mostly from the real-world issues explored in “problem novels”–drug use, eating disorders, divorce, etc. Now teen books are as likely as adult books to include scenes where a character has to defend herself from zombies using a half-brick and a shovel. It’s refreshing–and it’s great that the action-lovers among teen readers have so much to choose from now, at their own interest level.
- Ashfall by Mike Mullin
- Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
- Blood Red Road by Moira Young
- Gone by Michael Grant
Now it’s your turn! Are you excited about the Hunger Games movie? What trend do you like that The Hunger Games started? What’s your favorite Hunger Games read-alike? Tell us in the comments!
— Maria Kramer