Suzanne Collins, author of the Gregor the Overlander series, has just released the second book in her futuristic trilogy she began in The Hunger Games.
“The Hunger Games” and its sequel “Catching Fire” are definitely for older students. The book has been described as a “Survivor” reality-television series meets “Lord of the Flies,” and if you are like me, that may make you want to give the books a pass. But after literally dozens of my teacher friends told me I had to read the first book, I did – and I could not put it down. I am nearly finished with the second, and Collins has surpassed my high expectations set from the first book.
Collins creates believable characters who must make life-or-death decisions as part of their daily existence. I am always curious about how writers like Collins take on such risky topics and still manage to tell a great story. Some investigations on the web revealed her inspiration: as a writer, she is concerned about the impact constant war has on the moral well-being of children. Her research on this topic has helped her to create characters that resonate with us even though she sets her tales in the future.
Though I fully admit these books are not for everyone, I am impressed with Collins both as a writer and as person who is trying to help us understand the horrible consequences of war.
I always advise teachers to read books with heavy topics first before recommending them to students, but I have talked with quite a few middle school students since school began who could not wait for “Chasing Fire” to be released.
I am intentionally avoiding a plot description for these books. Trust me when I say the plot may cause you to avoid these titles – but that would be a mistake. Suzanne Collins has created an amazing story, unlike any I have ever read.