Why the Hunger Games Books are SO Good
I’ll go ahead and admit it, I was hesitant to jump on the train. For months, my friend Ditty insisted I read the Hunger Games trilogy. I fell in love with Water for Elephants, and then fell even deeper when I randomly ordered a book called The Help for entertainment during a family reunion. Hopelessly wanting another “amazing read,” Ditty suggested Hunger Games. But for some reason I didn’t bite right away. Maybe it’s that the title didn’t appeal to me. Or because it’s a trilogy. But I’m glad that finally after her insistence and then my bud Amy’s promptings (and loan of her book copies) I finally jumped on board.
Loving the Hunger Games
I’ve not yet met someone who read the Hunger Games books and didn’t like them. Sure, there are some critiques of the second book being too much like the first. And there are those who don’t enjoy the third as must as the first two. But overall, the Hunger Games is a hit. And I mean a Harry Potter-like hit. Plus … it’s comes without the conservative guilt trip that you’re reading something with wizards, vampires or “from the Devil” as some of the Potter and Twilight fans have been told.
What Makes the Hunger Games SO Good?
As a writer, I’m always looking for tips and tricks of what makes a certain book so great. Sometimes it’s simply the story that pulls on the heart-strings (The Help), but I believe other times there are some hidden gems housed between the lines of a best seller. So as I’ve reflected back on the Hunger Games books, watched many more fans jump on the bandwagon and anticipated the movie release, here are some observations about why I think the Hunger Games are SO popular.
1. The Book Is Extremely Readable
They taught me in PR school to write to a “7th grade level.” Thus, the blog world is my home. But I think there is something to say about readability. The Hunger Games are categorically young adult fiction. So are the Potter and Twilight series. Yet the audience of the books and the movies isn’t just young adults… it’s those in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s … and probably even older than that. The world is busy and stressful. Our lives are hectic. So having a great book that’s easy to read is a joy for many readers. Even if it’s technically written for a junior higher.
2. The Books are Fast Paced And Don’t Get Boring
One of the book reviews compliments the “pace” of the books. I have to agree. It’s a rather long and complicated story, however the author manages to write it at a pace where I don’t get bored. I don’t get overwhelmed with words or details. I want to know more. And yes, even after three books, I didn’t feel like the story was too long. Now that’s pure writer’s (and editor’s) genius if you ask me.
3. It Has Hot Guys & Hot Girls
No, the book doesn’t have pictures or photos, but it might as well have. The descriptions of the characters are so great that most walk away from reading the books with a visual of what they feel Katniss, Gale and Peeta look like. And they’re attractive kids. The book details character qualities AND physical qualities so well, I felt as though I was actually in the book and could “see” everything. And as a visual person in general, it was perfect. (I’m so far happy with the casting of the movie, the actors do look somewhat like what I had in mind!)
4. It’s A Good Mix of Future And the Real
The book has a great mix of current world and a “what if” future world to appeal to everyone. Although it may sound like it’s futuristic at first, it’s really a good read for anybody, even if you don’t like Sci-Fi. (Now I urge everyone to start watching tv show Fringe – same deal there too.) Once you meet the characters you get lost in the fact it’s set in the future. It tugs at our imaginations yet also grounds us in some reality.
5. It’s Got Some Romance, but It’s Not a Romance
Now, take this comment with a cup of tea. I happen to be the gal who skips over the rom-coms for the dramas and action flicks. However, I LOVE that this isn’t a romance book, yet has a great romance story in it. The book captures me with the action and dramatics of the story, yet the themes of a teenage romance run so thick it’s addicting. The romance draws us in, and is what keeps many readers captive throughout the story. However, it’s not so heavy and sappy that it gets old (or embarrassing that you’re following it.) The action happening around the “lovers” is actually often more interesting than the drama itself.
6. Everyone Wants a Hero
Just about any movie has a great hero, and the Hunger Games is not exempt. And yes, I happen to love that in this series, she is female. But really, she’s a great inspiration for anyone (and especially young girls) looking to find their place in the world and fight though “life’s not fair” situations. Katniss, the main character, is a fighter. She doesn’t give up. She’s beautiful and doesn’t know it. She’s got guys dropping at her feet. And yet all she can do is stick to her convictions, do what she’s good at and focus on surviving. Sounds like a girl I’d like to be friends with one day.
So that’s my take on the Hunger Games and some of the reasons the books are SO popular. Many books have some of these themes, but this series happens to have them ALL. That’s why I think it’s become such a best seller, and why I predict the box office will see the same results once it’s on the screen.
What do you think? Any other reasons that these books are SO wonderful?