Friday, March 20, 2009

Sequel to The Hunger Games

One of the most compelling YA novels I've read recently is The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Imagine "Survivor," except with teenagers and instead of competing to stay on the island they're competing to stay alive! The book is well written and offers interesting characters and is definitely a page-turner.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.

I'm happy to report that the follow-up to this book, Catching Fire, will be published on September 1st. And, naturally, there will be a movie. Lionsgate has recently aquired worldwide film rights to The Hunger Games, and the author has been asked to develop a screenplay.

Stephenie Meyer, of humongous Twilight fame, is a big fan of this book. Here's what she had to say about her experience reading it: "I was so obsessed with this book I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn't have to stop reading. The story kept me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in bed wide awake thinking about it." And she's right; the book really does grip you.

Before writing The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins was best known for her Underland Chronicles series, starting withg Gregor the Overlander, written for younger readers. She says she was strongly influenced by the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur in the writing of The Hunger Games. It's essentially an updated version of the Roman gladiator games, in which a ruthless government forces people to fight to the death as popular entertainment.

Any young reader interested in a private lunch with Suzanne Collins -- including the travel and accommmodations to go to New York City, where Scholastic, the book's publisher is headquartered -- can enter a writing contest where the Grand Prize is the trip and lunch. Just tell in 500 words or less how you would survive the Hunger Games. For details go to The Hunger Games web site. The contest runs until mid-may.

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