let the games begin...

just finished this young adult novel by suzanne collins and after all the twilight insanity, i was very impressed with it. it's actually well-written and compelling. of course, i'm not sure i would let my kid read it. it's extremely violent, bleak and cynical.

but here's why it works: the main character, katniss, a sixteen year old girl forced into adulthood by the death of her father and the subsequent nervous breakdown of her mother is left to care for family (mother and young sister) in a country (once north america) called panem, divided into districts and oppressed by the ruling government situated in a city simply called the capitol. katniss is brave, resourceful, and nobody's fool. the crazy big brother/media-rules-all/forced entertainment twist that we all will recognize with a queasy stomach is a reality tv show televised every year by the capitol called "the hunger games". and yes, it sounds as bad as it is. 12 girls and 12 boys, one from each district are chosen to participate in this event - which can only have one winner. and the others don't just get "voted" off. they have to kill each other to win and survive. oh the glory.

to suzanne collins' credit, the violence is set within  in a moral code where yes, you need to kill to survive, but katniss at least is trying to stick to her values. after all, her sister was was the one chosen for the games and katniss volunteered to take her place. so, no not all bloody gore. a lot of searching for self, growing into emotional awareness stuff going on here and some nice subtle teen romance and yes, it made me want to read book 2 (catching fire) immediately.