Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Archive for January, 2012

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This was an up until 2 am just because I could not put it down read. I must admit if I miss a title before it becomes mainstream, then I do not read it. But after much badgering by both my boys, my husband, and many friends, I caved and read Hunger Games. I started it on Friday and finished it by 2 am Saturday. It is a great young adult adventure story. I am so glad that they persisted

Reminiscent of theĀ Long Walk, and Running Man by Bachman, one of my favorite authors as a teen. It is a dark and violent alternate world, focused on televized games. Hunger Games is set in a world where North America has become Panem. Divided into twelve districts which are controlled by the Capitol. Each of the districts has its own area of expertise which supplies the Capitol, leaving the districts in need. It is the classic negative utopia.

Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, was left to fed for herself and her younger sister when her father died in the coal mines of District 12. Her mother got “lost” for awhile. Katniss struggled until one night the local baker’s boy, Peeta tosses her the burnt bread he was supposed to feed to the pigs. She realizes that she can figure things out by using the skills that she has, like hunting. Only problem being that to hunt you had to leave the relative safety of the district and go into the forest with only your pluck and skills to protect you. Her father had taken her there as a child and taught her all he knew about hunting and edible plants in the forest. She meets Gale in the woods, and eventually he becomes her hunting partner. He dreams about escaping together, but they both know they would never leave their families alone. However, there is a wrinkle, The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games were invoked after District 13 rebelled. Each year, as a tribute to the Capitol, each district must give up two teens to the games. The 24 teens are then stars of a bloodthirsty reality show, all of the population is required to watch. A different arena is chosen each year, where the teens must fight each other. The winner gets a life of luxury with the only obligation to train and support other teens from their district to go to the games. The losers die.

Kaitness volunteers to replace her little sister in the games when her one ticket is drawn on the first year she was entered. Peeta, is also chosen. This creates a love triangle for Kaitness: Peeta saved her once but is not nearly as prepared as she for the games; and Gabe knows the woods and hunting but is all the way back in district 12. The stuff of all good teen novels. The violent action does not stop. Especially, when they are thrown into the politics required to get sponsors in the games, even before they enter the arena. It is a must read.

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Secrets of the Dunes by J. Kozma

My children loved reading “Mosquitoes of Summer” with me. I was so excited to know that the second story of the series “Secrets of the Dunes” was out.

The book opens with the family preparing to head back to PEI for summer vacation. I love their quirky family and all the scrapes they get into. It is even more of a delight once you know the characters. I do not want to give too much away, but the kids are invited to participate in an archeological dig on the Island. The mystery of history propels the plot creating tension and piquing the reader’s interest.

Kozma has matured as an author. This story is much fuller than the first of the series. It is a read that I would recommend to anyone 9 to 12.

Notes on the first book in the series “Mosquitoes of Summer”

In August 2010, I reviewed “Mosquitoes of Summer” on Goodreads.com. The review is below for anyone who is interested:

I read this book aloud with my 10 and 13 year-olds. It was a wonderful read they each identified with one of the siblings in the book. I loved all of the references to my beloved PEI.

We got to meet Julianna Kozma and her family at a book signing at Charlottetown’s Indigo. It took over an hour for my children to ask all of their questions to everyone. What a wonderful family.

A great quick read for anyone. There are numerous PEI references. Especially for those of us lucky enough to know the Twin Shores Campground and surrounding area.

Daniel, my son, reviewed “Mosquitoes of Summer” for the Edwards Magazine Bookclub on September 5, 2010.