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Tag: Hunger Games

From Page to Screen: Hunger Games: Catching Fire

hunger_games_catching_fire_movieGiven that the film adaptation of Hunger Games: Catching Fire managed to earn $70.5 million dollars in its opening day, I think it’s safe to say that this was a hotly anticipated movie this holiday season.

The first film had a few misses but overall has been viewed favorably by the trilogy fans. Rotten Tomatoes has the average approval rating for the first film at an 81%, a solid B effort. Not bad considering how beloved these books have become and how tricky the subject matter can be translated to the big screen while still keeping the films MPAA accessible to teens. It also made a ton of money, which is a lot to live up to for any sequel, let alone one with a rabid YA fan base.

There was hype, expectation, and excitement– so how did the new filmmakers do with our Catching Fire?


YA Names of the Future

In the wake of The Hunger Games, YA bookshelves are overflowing with novels set in the future. As a name enthusiast (okay, name nerd!), I’m intrigued by the names authors choose for their characters. I find myself evaluating  futuristic names according to current name trends, pondering the likelihood of these names being used decades or centuries from now. If we examine the rise and fall in popularity of some of these names over the past 150 years or so, what predictions can we make for the future?

Everything Old Is New Again

Expectant parents are increasingly choosing names that were popular with their great-grandparents. Antique names sound fresh, and while the following names aren’t exactly common yet, their gradual upswing in popularity may indicate a continual rise, positioning them for widespread use by the time these futuristic heroines are saving the day.

Beatrice: Divergent by Veronica Roth (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, 2012 Readers’ Choice selection, 2012 Teens’ Top Ten nominee) features a society divided into factions and a girl who doesn’t fit into just one category. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA)*, the name Beatrice was among the 50 most popular names during the early 1900s. After a long absence on the popularity charts, it’s recently crept back into the top 1,000 names.

June: The ambitious heroine of Legend by Marie Lu (2012 Teens’ Top Ten nominee) bears a surprisingly sweet name, considering she’s determined to avenge her brother’s murder at any cost. The name June was most popular in the 1920s. It reappeared in the top 1,000 in 2007, and is now #470 on the SSA list.

Eve: In Eve by Anna Carey, girls are taught to fear men after a plague destroys most of the earth’s population. The name Eve, a Biblical classic, has hovered around the middle of the SSA’s top 1,000 list, rising to modest popularity in the 1910s and again in the 1960s. It fell off the charts for several decades, but we’re now seeing more Eves born in the United States than ever before. The name is definitely plausible for Carey’s book, set in 2032.


Roots of Dystopia (Another Hunger Games Post)

For those of us old enough to remember the year 1984, we can recall the discussions and hand-wringing as we compared our world with the future that had been prophesied by George Orwell in his novel 1984, written in 1948. I recall earnest discussions about the topic from casual conversations in public to stories on news programs. It was a time of anxiety in an era of anxiety. The threat of mutually assured destruction loomed as the US and the USSR maneuvered to wind down the Cold War. The new threat of terrorism and hijacking from rogue states in the Middle East and elsewhere had people on edge. Industrial pollution and environmental disasters had people wondering if their communities might be next. Amidst the anxiety and rumination, Neil Postman began writing his now classic critique of television and public discourse, Amusing Ourselves to Death. In the foreword, Postman contrasts the dystopian futures presented by George Orwell in 1984 and Aldous Huxley in Brave New World. In the first, society is ruled over by the totalitarian big brother that always watches citizens and rules through a combination of propaganda and fear. In Huxley’s version the world is controlled not through brutality and coercion but through pleasure. Postman asserts that in the debate between Orwell and Huxley that Huxley got it right. In Postman’s estimation we have created a society that doesn’t need a dictator to control us or deprive us of our freedoms, because we will happily forfeit our freedoms to have them replaced by pleasure and trivial nonsense.

1984 and Brave New World stand as the most essential modern dystopian novels. Yes, there were dystopian visions before them like We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, but 1984 and Brave New World are the two models for the modern dystopian novel. There is a continuum for dystopias when using these two as models. On the one end, we have a future where we are controlled by that which we hate (as in 1984) and on the other end we have a future where we are controlled by what we love (as in Brave New World).

Where would The Hunger Games fall on this continuum?


And the winner is…

It’s my favorite time of the year! The 84th Academy Awards are set to take place on Sunday, February 26 on ABC and I cannot wait. If you haven’t had the chance yet, be sure to take a look at all the talented actors, actresses, producers, directors, and more nominated this year. While I don’t consider myself a tried and true movie buff, I definitely watch my fair share of movies, from really bad movies with awful graphics to the silly and cartoonish. There’s something exciting about seeing my favorite celebrities all decked out in their finest, about moaning and groaning through the overly long speeches, and wondering how they are going to dramatize the “in remembrance” portion of the evening. Yep, I’m an Oscars junkie and proud of it!

If you’re anything like me, you may be interested in reading some fun teen lit that focuses on the glitz and glamour of the movies and celebrities. There are a plethora of great titles out there so read on to find out some of the highlights and be sure to add your own suggestions in the comments! Perhaps you want to make an Oscar themed book display or have an Oscar YA party. These books will help you bring on your own inner star.

YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks list is a great place to start. The 2009 Fame and Fortune list is a great resource to “read all about teens aspiring to make it big.” This list focuses on several of the talents celebrities are famous for including acting, music, and modeling. And to add to that great YALSA list, be sure to check out the 2012 Fabulous Films for Young Adults: Song and Dance list. Combining books and movies is always a winning combination for any movie buff.


Dystopian vs. Post-apocalyptic Teen Books

The Hunger Games series has spawned a slew of new dystopian and post-apocalyptic teen books. I can’t always distinguish between the two types of books because sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. I looked up their definitions and found a great blog post on Bibliotropic on July 5 that really has a great explanation of the differences between the two.

The blog states that “Dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian.” Of course! Lois Lowry’s The Giver or Feed by  M. T. Anderson. (Not to mention Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World but I’m only going to focus on current or soon to be published YA books).

Post-apocalyptic is defined as “set in a world or civilization after a disaster such as nuclear warfare, pandemic, impact event, etc.”  These types of books are the ones where the characters are struggling to survive against some kind of cataclysmic event – man vs. nature. These are the types of books that I love reading because they make me feel that as bad as my life might be at times, it’s not nearly as bad as it is in these  novels.

Another clue is that many of the new post-apocalyptic novels seem to have the word “Ash” or “Ashes” in the title. Ilsa Bick’s Ashes (due out in Sept.) is an exciting story of how a teen with a fatal disease & and troubled young army veteran struggle to survive after a massive electromagnetic pulse destroys all electronic devices, kills billions of people, and in the process, creates zombie -like creatures.


31 Days of Teens’ Top Ten: Charting Fantastic Series

Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year. Each day during the month of May, The Hub will feature a post about Teens’ Top Ten. Be sure to check in daily as we visit past winners and current nominees!

I’ve been looking at the list of the past eight years of Teens’ Top Ten and there is definitely something to notice. Series play a role in what gets on the list. Now I know that this isn’t shocking news to you, however, it is an interesting opportunity to look back at the series that have consumed readers over the past many years and consider what their inclusion tells us about teen reading. For example series on the list over the life of the list includes:

  • In 2003 and 2005 Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books were on the list.
  • Harry Potter appeared in 2004 and 2006
  • Maximum Ride titles appeared in 2005, 2007, and 2008
  • 2006 was the year that Twilight appeared on the list with New Moon on in 2007, Eclipse in 2008, and Breaking Dawn in 2009.
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Hunger Games gets a release date (and other HG news)!

Big news for Hunger Games fans – the movie has an official release date! March 23, 2012 – can you wait until then? It may seem like a looooong time, but it’s not much more than a year. That’s a pretty tight schedule for a movie that hasn’t cast its leading roles, much less started filming, so I think I’ll manage to be patient until then.
Speaking of leading roles, there’s been plenty of recent buzz about casting too: