Okay, I'll admit it...I'm old. When I was a teenager, the raciest YA books I knew of were those written by Judy Blume. I read "Flowers in the Attic" of course (all my friends did) but that was an adult
book. So when I read "Mockingjay", a book my 12-year-old daughter finished a few months ago, my jaw dropped. Sexual slavery? Incest? Torture, bloody assassination, and the murder of innocents? I guess this is the brave new world of fiction for kids.
So what makes this series worth reading? I believe it's the honesty. Although the story line of the books deals with the glamorization of violence, Collins depicts these brutal acts for what they are: ugly, detestable, and heart-rending. She doesn't sugar-coat them. In 'Mockingjay' especially, this author shoves her readers' noses deep into a dystopian society that idolizes cruelty instead of working to get rid of it.
There are obvious parallels in our culture to the fictional hunger games in the stories. Reality shows like "Real Housewives" (which I am guilty of watching) or even "Survivor" (again, a show I watch) tend to glamourize or make fun of mental instability and conflict rather than regard them as tragedies. I'm not one to lump our culture together and call it all bad, but I do think we need to be careful of what we believe. Reality TV is a far cry from real life.
Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" series is the "1984" of a new generation.