Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Teen Drama: Hunger Games and Witch & Wizard
Amanda hasn't been a big reader since the days when she would select a Dr. Seuss and wordlessly back up to your lap, waiting to be picked up and read to. The only book she's ever raved about was Mr. Popper's Penguins in 3rd grade. But she decided to give Hunger Games a try so she wouldn't be out of the loop - and she loved it. I actually found her in her room - READING - no tv, no computer, no texting. Well, a mom can dream - there may have been texting - but there was definitely reading. After completeing the first book she requested volumes two and three!!
I understand why the story appeals to the high school/college demographic - teens rebelling against adults that force them into the ultimate TV reality show. Oh, the drama! But the Panem government also has shades of Communism that strike a chord with anyone who lived through the Cold War. Much like the Harry Potter books, even though this series is marketed as Young Adult, it appeals to a broad audience.
Fast forward to October. James Patterson, ever the clever marketing exec, got in on the hoopla with the first of the Witch & Wizard series, a Hunger Games knock-off aimed more at the Jr. High crowd. Dave and I both needed a "teen book" to complete our Library Bingo cards, so we shared this one on a recent car trip.
The similarities to Hunger Games are obvious, with a sprinkling of Harry Potter stirred in, but it's still an engaging tale that brought us back for volume two - The Gift - which came out in December, and we'll probably read at least one more to see how the story develops.
We recommend Hunger Games for all adults - both for entertainment and for the cautionary tale. We recommend Witch & Wizard for the younger set, or for parents/grandparents who want to "have something intellectual to discuss" with the kids.