“The Hunger Games”

I finally succumbed to the hype and bought a copy of “The Hunger Games“.

Having been fascinated by dystopian novels for quite some time now, I couldn’t pass up the chance on reading this one.

 

 

First published in 2008 it quickly rose to fame in the States, creating a hype similar to the Twilight series- pre movies.

The story focusses on Panem, a state where Northern America used to be. It is divided into 12 districts, each bringing forth a certain product, to offer to the almighty Capitol.

After natural catastrophes have brought tumult to the States, the nation re-organized itself. The Capitol and thirtheen states rose, but people started to rebell against the wealthy Capitol, who in turn fought each district down and distroyed the thirteenth.

 

The map of Panem, according to a fan.

 

Each year after that, the Capitol holds a kind of morbid lottery where a boy and girl from each district gets picked to take part in the “Hunger Games”, a sick competition strongly reminiscend of “Battle Royale“.

It is meant to keep the districts in place and demonstrate the Capitol’s power.

 

 

Although I’m tempted to tell you more about the story, I’d rather leave you with the same chance I had: Reading the book on the weekend of its cinematic release in the states.

I tremendously enjoyed reading the book, not having seen the actors who portray the characters in the movie, being able to imagine them first.

I even managed not to know anything about the story itself prior to reading it, except that it was dystopian fiction, centered around a teenage girl.

If you’d like to read it as well, I hope you’re as lucky, with talk about the books and the movie gaining momentum, even in Germany…

 

“Hold me closer Necromancer”

… is an entertaining YA novel about, you guessed it, a young necromancer.
Sam flips burgers for a living after he dropped out of college. Once day he ticks off the wrong guy and is being threatened by him- the scariest necromancer of the Seattle area. Good thing he’s a death-raiser as well. Though he isn’t that sure if it really is a good thing, he soon learns that there’s no alternative: if he wants his life and that of those near to him to be safe, he has to act fast. And his one-week deathline deadline is running out.

 

 

Author Lish McBride created an enticing tale about necromancer Sam and his friends. It is freshly written and one can not help but sympathize with the story’s hero. Especially charming are the chapter titles that embody nods to Pop and Rock songs of times gone by. Added to that are several popculture references, but the book doesn’t try to fit into the league of oh-so-cool nineties/early 2000’s popculture novels, where namedropping brands was the latest hype.

A recommendable read that leaves me hungry for a sequel.

I mean: music, funny people and the occasional zombie. What more can you ask for?

“Tomorrow When the War Began”

A couple of Australian teenagers decide to “go bush” for a couple of days to escape their daily grind. They end up in “Hell”, a hidden, almost unreachable place deep in the bush and enjoy themselves.

After they have gobbled down their last reserves it’s time to head back home.

And the moment they want to drop off the first of their group at her farm they realize that the “Hell” they’ve left behind truly was paradise in comparison to what they find at home.


Author John Marsden accompanies the eight Aussies during an emptional ride through a world that has completely changed in the course of a week. He brilliantly manages to portray each teenager of this diverse group and does an especially good job with Ellie, the narrator.

Maybe the best thing about the book is that it has heart, but is never sappy. It deals with its dark and serious theme in an adequate tone, without exaggeration  or special effects. The less he says, the more his words hit home.

Anyone who has seen the poster of the recent “Tomorrow When the War Began” movie shouldn’t be put off reading the book just because it looks like Rambo’s children gone bad. (Especially when there can only be one son of Rambow).

The book is definitively worth reading and really hard to put down. And the best is: it’s only the first installment of a series of  seven books with another three books of the “Ellie Chronicles” that were published four years  after the Tomorrow series’ last book.

One down, nine more to go.

“Big Mouth and Ugly Girl”

Cold-stricken and chained to my bed I couldn’t stomach Dostojewski or the like, so I turned to some Young-Adult literature.

Joyce Carol Oates’ novel is about Matt, a highschooler with a (you see this coming) big mouth. It gets him seriously into trouble through a seemingly innocent joke that turns his life upside down.

Luckily for him, there is Ugly Girl. His age, she looks like a Valkyrie and is the star of their school’s basketball team. But with her butchy appearance and sulky behaviour she isn’t popular, but almost feared by her peers.

“Big Mouth and Ugly Girl” is a YA novel and betrays itself as such by its plot that is, at times, foreseeable.

But it is interestingly written, engrosses the readers with its main characters and leaves them wanting to know more.

What makes it an enjoyable read, even for adults, is that it touches on issues everyone should think about once in a while.

How do I treat my friends?

Do I take their word over that of others?

And most important: Would I stand up for the innocent even if my own reputation is at stake?

All in all an intersting read, especially recommendable for highschool classes.