Believe it or not, there was once a time when I was oblivious to the existence of The Hunger Games. I know, I know, you’re embarrassed for me. But I was young and naïve and besides, that was at least a month ago.
My first exposure was when I noticed that more of my friends on Goodreads had read The Hunger Games than had read either Twilight or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was outraged. How could a book beat Harry Potter? I planned to conquer The Hunger Games (which I thought involved hippos and marbles), and return victorious, trailing the entrails of the vanquished behind me. I sat down to read The Hunger Games at six pm.
I was done by midnight.
I did not have dinner. I did not answer text messages. I did not go to the bathroom. I did not harvest my Farmville crops. I did not move from my bed until I finished the book.
The next day I devoured Catching Fire and foisted both books on everyone at the Figment office, where it went completely viral.
I loved The Hunger Games. Have you ever found anyone who hates THG (which I can call it, cause we’re close)? No. It is impossible to hate THG. And if people say they do, they’re lying. Maybe they hate the power that it has over them, their inability to just walk away, or their tendency to squeak whenever someone mentions Mockingjay, the soon-to-be-released third book in the series, but they do not hate THG.
Note that I name-dropped THG four times in one paragraph. Bonus points to me for topping it off with an Mjay.
I know I am a little late to The Hunger Games love. With over 56,000 Goodreads reviews, 92 weeks on the NYT bestseller list, and countless other fan clubs, blogs, and websites devoted to the series, one more squee-tastic and self-indulgent article seems redundant.
You cannot suppress the fanatical response that THG compels. Suzanne Collins has created a terrifying world that is alienating and cold, and yet still draws readers in. You don’t read THG, you inhabit it. In the first book, you kind of hate yourself for backing the Peeta/Katniss romance because you know, you just know it is going to end horribly and break your heart because there shouldn’t be a love story in the middle of a gladiator-style death-match, but there is and it’s perfect. In the second book, you can’t believe that they’re back (why are they back?!?) and they’re not together (WHY ARE THEY NOT TOGETHER?!?) and then you are throwing the book across the room because Suzanne Collins is a horrible person for ending it that way and then you are running across the room because Suzanne Collins is a genius, a freaking genius, and you will worship her if August would just COME ON already.
August, of course, being the release month of Mockingjay. Obvs.
I was recently talking to this particularly literary guy. Here, I use ‘literary’ to mean ‘contemptuous of bestsellers and suspicious of anything published after 1960.’ I mentioned that Figment was a site for young adults and slyly added, “Yeah, we get some ARCs from time to time. You know, no big,” at which point he spun toward me and literally grabbed me by my shirt.
“Do you have a copy of MOCKINGJAY??”
Do you see? Mockingjay penetrates even hipster composure.
After I had pried his hands off of me and gotten him to take a few deep breaths from a brown paper bag, he tried convincing me to lend him the book that I did not have. He was convinced I was holding out on him. He needed one last hit like a beady-eyed drug addict.
If I had a copy of Mockingjay, you would know. Because I would fasten a baby carrier across my chest, a la “The Hangover”, and carry that precious, precious book with me 24/7. I would take it to dinner and post Facebook photos of the two of us sharing a plate of pasta in a candlelit restaurant. I would create composite photographs of the two of us to see what our children would look like. Unfortunately, until August 24th, my carrier remains empty. But when that day comes, expect to see me cooing to the hardcover on the subway.