How I Stumbled Upon a YA Futuristic

One advantage of moving from summer to fall and the start of school is reading the books my kids read. I always like to read along with them so I can discuss the books with my boys, neither of whom are big on reading. I've gotten the opportunity to read a lot of interesting books I might not have picked up otherwise - Holes, Al Capone Does My Shirts, the whole Gary Paulsen series about his sledding dogs, and one of my favorite authors Jerry Spinelli.

As my older son moves into this teens, the books are definitely getting more interesting. For 8th grade he has to read My Brother Sam Is Dead, an historical fiction that takes place during the Revolutionary War, and a second book that he got to choose from three selections. I reviewed the selections with him and he decided on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I hadn't heard anything about this book before I read the summary in my son's syllabus.

To jumpstart my son on this book, which technically he was supposed to have finished before school started, I offered to start reading it aloud with him every night. WOW! After the first night of reading, we were hooked. We couldn't wait to continue reading it the next night and the next and the next. While usually he drags his feet when it comes to reading, now every night when he's getting ready for bed he reminds me - "time to read, Mom." He's also started speculating about the events in the book, trying to guess what's going to happen next and making comments about the characters. He NEVER does that. It warms my little bookworm heart!

Then imagine my surprise when a chapter-mate requested some suggestions for good YA books, and another chapter-mate, who's very plugged into YA, mentioned The Hunger Games. I had to respond - "ooh, ooh, I'm reading that now." I hadn't really considered this book YA, since I figured YA referred to romance and while there's a little romance here, there's not a lot. But then I suppose YA romance is not going to be hot and heavy (I'm pretty sure my son wouldn't appreciate that - he has absolutely no interest in the Twilight series).

Anyway, we're more than half-way through this book of a post-apocalyptic America, and the reality TV show that pits teenagers against each other in a fight to the death for survival. I also discovered a cool book trailer. Better yet? I found out Collins wrote a sequel, Catching Fire. My son has already told me he wants to read the sequel. Thanks, Suzanne Collins!


Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Carol, when you posted on GIAMx2 about a YA book, I wondered if this was the one. My best friend from HS is a teacher in NC and she recommended this book to me and my 16yr old last spring. I haven't read it yet, and am a little disappointed it is only available in hardcover (won't pay the price for hardcover). Sure we could check it out at the library, but I know my son will probably read it numerous times, so buying it makes sense. I'm considering the two of them as a Christmas present if they go on sale (and then I can borrow them *grin*).

Sandy said...


It sounds good enough that I would want to read it. How old is your son? Would the book be too old for my great-niece and great-nephew who are ten?

Carol Ericson said...

Stacey, yeah I was bummed when we went to Borders and found that it was in hardback - but heck it was part of the "school supplies" budget. The book must be getting a lot of buzz.

Sandy, my son is 13. I suppose if the 10-yr olds are good readers, they could handle it. There is a lot of violence in the book and of course the idea of teens hunting down teens to kill them might be a little much for a 10-yr old. I don't think my 11-yr old would understand the book at this point, but then he's not a reader - maybe next year for him.

Natasha Moore said...

It's so great when you find a book that really hooks your kids. I used to read a lot of sci fi when I was a kid.

Nicole North said...

Sounds like a fascinating story, Carol! Hope they make a movie of it. :)

Carol Ericson said...

Natasha, the book has really hooked me too! I read Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and the Illustrated Man when I was a teen. Loved those.

Nicole, it would make a great movie, but I hope they don't make it. Our school usually doesn't allow the kids to read books that have been made into movies - so no Holes or Harry Potter can be read for book reports and the like.

Lori T said...

I have this book on my must buy list because this book actually inspired my son...who does not enjoy request that I buy a book for him. So, I think that any book that inspires my son to want to read it, must be bought and to make it even better I have heard such great things about it.

Carol Ericson said...

Lori - same with my son. He usually doesn't like reading much, but he can't wait to read a few chapters of this book every night. Tonight he said, "I like this book so much." I can't wait to buy the sequel, Catching Fire, for him (and for myself!).