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Monday, February 2, 2015

Confessions of a Hunger Games Groupie

I admit it. I'm a bit of a Hunger Games groupie. Through these stories, I rediscovered a love for YA literature. I read them straight through, voraciously, just a few months before I began writing the Valiant Hearts series.

Honestly, I was far too swept away by these books to analyze them as I went along. I imagine they have some literary flaws, but I certainly didn't notice as I read. I'm not completely sure why I loved them so much, except that they were pure excitement.

I think that's what is so special about YA novels, and why so many adults are enjoying them these days. They are jam packed with excitement, adventure, twists, and turns. At the same time, they take a good look at life and examine the hard questions that many commercial adult novels leave unasked.

The thing about this series that really stood out to me was the way the books inspired me on a personal level. I had reached a point in my life where on several issues, I had been weighed down by fatigue and even fear. As I read these books, I realized that somewhere along the way I had lost my fighting spirit. I wanted to be bold and courageous like Katniss. I wanted to stand up against tyranny and oppression for what I believe to be right. If Katniss could do it without God on her side, without any sense of eternal importance, purely for love and family and justice, surely I could too!

Sound like the perfect inspiration for a series titled Valiant Hearts, don't you think?

Like many readers, I was left a bit cold by the existential ending of the Hunger Games series. But that is the truth in a world without God. If God does not exist, then there is no hope for a redemptive ending. No expectation that good will win in the end. All you can do is carve out your own little space in a messed up world and try to find a shred of happiness. Fortunately, unlike the characters in theses books, I do believe in God, and redemption, and hope. I dream that my books can be a fraction as brilliant as the Hunger Games series, but even if they are not, at least I can rest assured that I leave my readers feeling positive as they face the future with hope.

Are you a Hunger Games groupie? Why or why not?


  1. I don't consider myself a huge THG fangirl, though I did make a replica of Katniss' "Girl on Fire" gown to attend the Mockingjay, Pt. 1 premiere with my friends (who dressed up at Katniss and Effie from the Catching Fire film) so I guess that's debatable?

    I first read the series last year after a) seeing my friends' "halloween" costumes the previous November and b) participating in a dystopian reading challenge in January. I'm kind of surprised that I kept myself spoiler-free so that ending!
    I have mixed feelings on it. The bittersweetness, the small bit of hope despite everything that happened --the hope barely made the tragedies worth it. The ending was was acceptable considering the world they lived in and giving the characters some magical happy amnesia or "fix" would be a slap in the face to everything that had happened. The realness of the consequences and the effect the Games had on the characters ... I don't always see that in the books I read. But I wholeheartedly agree, with your last paragraph. The ending fit for their world but there were so many times where I thought, "If God existed in that world ... " It's a bit sobering as a Christian to realize that quite a few people live and view the world in that way.

    I did like the characters though ... Ironically, Peeta won me over. He's my favorite character from the series --I could relate to Katniss a bit, but there were a lot of times where I wanted to knock some sense into her. I like Katniss a lot in the film adaptations though. They casted perfectly ... I was kind of surprised. =)

    1. Oh wow! I so want a girl on fire dress. Actually, my daughter is much more of a Hunger Games fan girl than me. I haven't even seen the third movie yet. I agree that they did a great job casting Katniss.

    2. You could try and wait for the last movie and watch them together, since Mockingjay, Pt. 1 ends on a bit of a cliffhanger --I almost did that. =)