Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is The Hunger Games Series Really Kid-Lit?


I have the third book in the Hunger Games Trilogy. I have not opened, but am saving it for the weekend. I have to say that I loved the first two in the series and read them in back to back nights. Jezebel has an interesting think piece, while not about Stillwater argues that The Hunger Games series are about trash television and taking a shot at all the junk on television.

Unlike this blog, it is very well written and carefully edited. The one thing that I take issue with is they call the series Kid-Lit. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who has not read the series, but I think that if there are mass killings and hopeless despair that adults can read it too. If you have never read the books think Running Man combined with The Truman Show with a touch of working Appalachian poor.

When they call it kid-lit it makes me feel guilty for reading it or that I should be ashamed as an adult that I enjoy a book that was geared towards teens. What do you think? If you have read them do you think they are kid-lit?

43 comments:

rebellious, contrary and nice said...

I hate literary snobs. People should read what they want on their personal time. Who the hell cares? Books affect us all in different ways.

rebellious, contrary and nice said...

Children's audio books are great! Try listening to some from your library.

selenakyle said...

I had Adolescent Lit as a concentration during my second degree and gotta say, I loved most of it. A lot of it is fantasy and/or sci-fi genre, which is not digestible for many grown-ups, but most of it did capture the imagination very well.

A lot of what we consider "adult lit" is drivel anyway...like soooooo much of the drippy, dippy chick-lit out there. Blecchhh.

Patty said...

A good story is a good story. Period, end of story. HA!

Harry Potter was originally kid lit and that crossed generations. BTW - can't wait for the final movies to come out.

selenakyle said...

Yep...I agree with RCaN above--live and let live, read and let read, right?!

MISCH said...

IT'S YA...Young Adult....14 and up...and that's who this is for...I read my parents novels cause there was no YA for me...this is great....
These kids are smart as can be...and anything that keeps them reading is fine with me..

sunnyside1213 said...

Oh heck. If Lainey and Enty both love these books, I will have to read them. I guess there is a 4th one too.

chopchop said...

There's no reason to be ashamed of reading -- and enjoying -- Kid-Lit. I didn't for one second feel embarrassed about how much I enjoyed Harry Potter. I also read the Twilight series because I figured something with that much buzz deserves some attention from me. While I wasn't a big fan of the books, I see nothing wrong with kids reading them and becoming passionate about them. Being passionate about the written word is wonderful, no matter the subject.

Hilary said...

Just walked to Borders to pick up my copy of Mockinjay. I am going to give it to my bosses teenage son when I am done.I am not embarassed, these books are really amazing and do have a ton of social commentary wrapped in an intriguing story.

selenakyle said...

My parents let me read William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist at age 11. this was around 1975-6. Scared the living hell outta me but they figured if I was literate enough to handle it and make it though the entire novel, it was OK with them. There was YA lit then but I longed for more, which I definitely GOT with that one...

But I also loved comic books at that time. We read anything and everything growing up, basically.

Yay for all parents who encourage ANY reading at all!

Sheri said...

It's YA--Young Adult literature, 13 and up. It's also number one on Amazon. There are lots of adults reading it. The New York Times Sunday Book Review had an article about adults reading books written for children and teens. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/books/review/Paul-t.html?_r=1&fta=y

It's a great trilogy. The teens are eating it up, but I know just as many adults who are digging it.

Bad Momma said...

My 12 year-old son is a HUGE fan of this series and bought Mocking Jay the day it hit Target.

While I have not read the books, the Hunger Games trilogy is a favorite with the Middle-School teachers as well.

I'd put these books in the same category as Harry Potter; not for everybody but hits a wide age range.

Cohnhead said...

They are geared toward teenagers, no sex, etc., but I've read the first two and loved them. I finally convinced my 12-year old daughter to read them and she couldn't put them down. I'll probably wait a year or so before I let my 10-year old read them. But I agree with what was said above, if younger kids can read at that level & can understand the concepts, any kind of reading is good. Don't feel guilty for reading them Enty! They are worth it! We just got our "Mockingjay" in the mail and my daughter & I are fighting over it!

Miggs3 said...

I have an 11 year old daughter who is an avid reader, so I read some of the more questionable (or rather unproven) YA books before her. I LOVED this series and unfortunately kids see/hear/talk about things we never discussed before high school/college. It is so quaint to think that we were all freaked out by the tv movie "The Day After" during my freshman year in college. I find the YA books more creative, innovative, and less formulaic than adult books. I have read too many depressing books about adult life, a woman rising from the ashes and murder mysteries. The best books I have read in the last 5 years have been either biographies or YA books. Read these and enjoy!!! I also find it easier to talk about some of the issues presented in books rather than what she has seen on tv/movies since she is forced to put her own spin on the them.

RJ said...

I hate that books have to be classified into age categories. When I was a teen I just wanted to read "grown-up books" i.e. Stephen King, Judy Collins, Danielle Steele, etc . . . Now that I'm a grown-up (whatever the hell that means) I read tons of books that are YA and I love them because they are good. Period. "The Book Thief" is one of the best books ever. I would have hated not to have read it just because it was marketed to teens. I think you read what you enjoy and forget the labels. I'm going to have to read these now.

The Dangerous Liaison said...

I am reading Mockingjay right now and I work in a bookstore - i feel like i have a right to comment. Teen literature has to be more inventive, with greater detail and better plot lines than most other books. They have to keep the attention of young readers and teens when the TV/Computer/Phone is constantly demanding their attention. Have you read Lord of the Flies? Anyone? Anyone? It's "Lost" but with kids. This is the new equivalent but with a sci-fi twist.

Kinsey Holley said...

I read a lot of YA - mostly of the fantasy/SF genre - and I'm a librarian, so the hell with anyone who wants to mock me. (Of course, I also write romance - but still, the hell with anyone who wants to mock me).

Selenakyle - my very religious parents monitored what I saw on TV and movies but they never bothered me about what I read. I read Go Ask Alice in 4th grade. Um, too young. I read The Last Picture Show in 5th grade - way too young (I barely knew anything about sex, and the beginning of the book casually references beastiality.)

But even as an adult, I've never read The Excorcist. You were a toughassed 11 year old.

Tenley said...

I haven't read them but I've checked out Jezebel a few times and it's Jezebel that is for teens but thinks it's an intelllectual feminist politico. Surprised that all it takes is a copy editor to intimidate enty.

TinselSass said...

Not to go totally off topic but to people about to respond, if you have any other great YA books to recommend, please do. I want to buy books for my niece (13) and nephew (12) and have been reading mostly nonfiction. Thanks.

CDAN is the best!

Jaiden_S said...

Good literature is good literature, regardless of the "intended" audience.

Bad Momma said...

@TinselSass - My boys ( 9,12 & 13) loved the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. They claim the books are waaay better than the movie.

They also enjoyed the Diary of A Wimpy Kid books as well. (I would sneak read them... hilarious writing!)

Patty said...

The Nicholas Flamel series is good and classified as teen/ya. The first book is The Alchemist and is written by Michael Scott. Here is his website for more info...

http://www.dillonscott.com/the-secrets-of-the-immortal-nicholas-flamel/index.htm

Patty said...

Bad Momma,
I was looking forward to seeing Percy Jackson at the movies, but with every new preview I saw and how those scenes were way off from the book, I decided to take a pass.

amelie said...

@TinselSass - Love YA books ! I'm currently reading The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan ( writer of the Percy Jackson series ) It's very good. Picture Indiana Jones vs Greek Gods. Halfway thru then on to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, per all of your suggestions!

One of my Fav books is Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli ( childrens book ). After I read it I passed it on to everyone at the office and they loved it too! A great feel good book!

Jeff said...

@Dangerous Liasons--YES! I am a high school English teacher, and I agree we must get teens' attention because there are so many other distractions out there, but none of them make teens "think" like a book. So many students tell me they have never finished a book. Arrrrggghh! Anyway, just finished the trilogy, including "Mockingjay" today on recommendation from my 14 year old niece. I, too, wondered if she'll understand some of the concepts and Katniss's motives. But what a great segue for a discussion! Anyway, that is exactly how I describe "Lord of the Flies," my fave.

Jeff said...

OMG, "stargirl" is great as is "Perks of Being a Wallflower." It's not my type of book, but lots of female students read Nicholas Sparks novels...

*** said...

tinselsass:

For Boys:

Piercy Jackson series
Ranger's Apprentice series
The Warriors series
39 Clues series

For Girls:

ANYTHING by Jerry Spinelli. Stargirl and Smile are SO. GOOD.

For girls that are a little more "high maintenance" or not so into reading, I've had success with The Clique series.

The Immortals series is also really good YA lit. (I'd say for 14+

*** said...

correction:

I meant the MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series not the Immortals series (don't know anything about the latter)!

selenakyle said...

Wow, kinsey holley! Yeah, Go Ask Alice scared me stone straight against LSD at a very young age. I've dabbled in some other stuff but NEVER touched acid (or heroin)b/c GAA made me think those two substances would whack you out for life after only one dose, so it scared me forever. Best of luck with your own writing!

The Exorcist is a scary read, WAY scarier than the movie. By the time I ever saw the movie I was like, Meh!

@TinselSass -- I love "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4" by a British author named Sue Townsend from 1982; has a sequel, too. Read them both as an adult and they are so dang funny I cried.

Stacy said...

I think we should celebrate anything that encourages anyone of any age to read. Literacy is suffering these days, for sure. A friend just recommended these to me, and Saturday I stayed up all night reading The Hunger Games. I've now read all three! I am surprised that they are considered YA. They are so intense, emotionally and in action. The themes of questioning government, sacrifice, and betrayal are stronger than I've seen in most adult-oriented novels. I hope millions of kids do read them and reflect on our world as I did afterward!

The Effervescent Diva said...

I was completely bowled over by The Hunger Games. Downloaded it on my iPhone and as soon as I finished it, ran to the book store to get Catching Fire. Am reading MockingJay now. Fabulous! You just know they are going to make a movie out of this. The plot is fantastic! I picture Hugh Laurie as Haymitch, Kristen Chenoweth as Effie and Donald Sutherland as President Snow.

Leah said...

Have to say, I love this series. I don't let classifications effect what I read, so kid-lit means nothing to me.
I find that books that are aimed at kids have more details in the descriptions and I find it easier to picture what the author is trying to get me to see.
I read quite a bit of teen fiction, and rarely do I read a book aimed at teens that I don't enjoy. More often I read an adult book and find it complete drivel.

I do not think of the books as kid-lit, but I think with classifying them as such, it allows parents to have an idea about the content. I think by calling them kid-lit they are not trying to dissuade adults from reading them, but are trying to garner youth interest.

My husband is the pickiest reader and he blew through this series (books 1-2) in a weekend.
I can't wait to read the third!

Chacha Latte said...

I am SO excited the 3rd one is out. I am going to start the 3rd book of Stieg Larsson this weekend - coincidence?

Gosh, I thought I was the ONLY one who has read the first 2 which I truly loved, LOVED. I am in my "forties" but I have an elementary school child. I am the first to admit to anyone that I have found MORE enjoyment reading Teen (Children?) Fiction than Adult "anything"! Harry Potter, yeah of course (even the ride at Universal is worth the wait), but there is more than that! I mean, Philip Pullman is just exquisite in a mean harsh, fantasy, make you wonder why the world he imagined does not exist kind of way.

So if you see me in the library, I will be the old chick in the Teen or Children's book section. Come by and say "hi!"

Caroline said...

I took a couple of Adolescent literature classes in college and I enjoyed it. As for reading adult novels when I was young, I read and re-read The Godfather. I also liked Rosemary's Baby. My parents didn't have a problem with anything I read. They are/were both big readers. In fact, my mom would set aside time every night for all eight of us to read.

Thanks for the recommendations. Regarding Larsson, I was reading an US magazine at the vet's about him and it said there was unfinished fourth novel in his computer when he died.

TinselSass said...

Thanks for all the recommendations. So fortunate to be able to get your insight! (My nephew and niece also pre-thank you!)

Furiously Curious said...

Awww, Enty, I love you even more now that I know you have great taste in reading. This series is unputdownable. I will read anything that entertains and engages me and I don't care what category it's in.
Mockingjay is the most kid-unfriendly of the 3. It is ultraviolent and disturbing. That said, it's also incredible & a 5-star book.
Never be ashamed of reading!

Mooshki said...

My dad gave me 'The Bell Jar' for my 9th birthday. He was a literature professor, and totally clueless about parenting, lol.

Miss X said...

My lovely sister-in-law loaned me the 1st book last night and I don't want to put it down. I'll probably finish it tonight.

Why shouldn't an adult read a YA book? Especially if its well written (loved Twilight but those books are not well written) and has a good plot.

mollykiely said...

Wow, so many great suggestions. I'm a grown-up pre-reading for my quirky preschooler (or so I keep telling myself). I grew so tired of reading about navel-gazing yuppies, that I turned to YA. Stargirl is now on my shortlist.

Has anyone else read the Kiki Strike books? So much fun...intrigue, derring-do, complicated but ultimately positive girlfriend relationships...

There are some fine YA Sci-Fi recommendations in the HuffPo books section today, too.

featherbell said...

Is "Huckleberry Finn" Kid-Lit? Is "Oliver Twist" Kid-Lit? If so, who cares? They're both great reads. I'm waaay past being a kid, and reading Dr. Seuss still makes me smile.

If the writing in the "Hunger" books is on the level of "See Spot. See Spot run," then, OK, maybe Jezebel has a point. But otherwise, how can anyone criticize something that makes you WANT to read? It's so good for your brain!

I say: read whatever captures your interest. Put the "Hunger Games" right up there with your Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mickey Spillane.

Rachel said...

I saw Enty's post yesterday about these books before I headed to the airport for a flight, bought The Hunger Games with the idea I would read on the plane and over a 3-day trip but instead finished in under 24 hours, I literally could not put it down! Can't wait to go out and get the other two books, kid-lit or not I am hooked!

Henriette said...

I don't care what you read, as long as you read.

I teach writing and literature. I had this debate with an uppity TA about the Twilight series and Harry Potter. She thought these books would rot the brain, but that was said about Jane Austin too.

I started out reading Harlequin Romances when I was a kid and that led me to Shakespeare.

Just read.

MCH said...

@ ChopChop & Henriette - Well said!

I just ordered The Hunger Games from Amazon last week. I have heard from several people that they were wonderful books but I never once heard them described as YA.

No need to feel guilty about reading YA IF they are well written! (Thank you, JK Rowling!)