Suzanne Collins

What ‘Mockingjay–Part 1′ Misses by Glossing Over Katniss’ Trauma

Throughout much of Mockingjay, the third novel in the Hunger Games series, the unraveling of Katniss Everdeen’s mind takes over the page. Even from the beginning, she strokes a pearl that Peeta found in the arena in Catching Fire and often repeats variations of her mantra: “My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in The Hunger Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me. Peeta was taken prisoner. He is thought to be dead. Most likely is dead. It is probably best if he is dead.” Later in the book, she plays a game with the recovered but mentally unstable Peeta, “real or not real?,” as his mind comes back from the brink. … Read More

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‘Mockingjay—Part 1′: The Somber ‘Empire Strikes Back’ of the ‘Hunger Games’ Films

The most noteworthy divergence between Mockingjay—Part 1 and its predecessors in the Hunger Games series is the somberness of its tone. It’s not that the first two pictures were exactly laugh riots — they are, after all, chronicles of bloodthirsty oligarchs demanding children murder each other for their amusement. But the (now-de rigueur) splitting of the final book of the YA franchise into two films means that this half is, by necessity, less about big action bits and more about mood, more setup than payoff. And it features some of the grimmest imagery of the series to date. It may be the franchise’s third movie, but it plays like its Empire Strikes Back. … Read More

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From ‘Mockingjay’ to Narnia: Fantasy Series Conclusions, Ranked

In preparation for Mockingjay-mania, here’s a look back at seven popular fantasy and trilogy series and an evaluation of their endings, from “perfect” to “meh” to “garbage.” Doubtless, you won’t agree on all of these (or any of them, maybe) but I think we can all come together and acknowledge that it is an incredibly difficult feat of world-building, writing, and pacing to wrap up an entire series in a satisfying way, paying tribute to the moral stakes, the characters, and our desire for a happy ending at the same time. … Read More

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25 Great Pieces of Life Advice From Literature

Everyone could use a bit of advice now and then. But what if you’re the type who eschews all human contact and prefers to converse only with characters in your books? Well, er, then even they might not be able to help you. All kidding aside, as any avid reader will know, many of the great works of literature are filled with wisdom, which you could do worse than to take to heart — especially in these back-to-school weeks, a time when a little extra advice can always help. Here, you’ll find a few nuggets of humanhood as doled out by literary (read: fictional!) characters who know a thing or… Read More

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The Fascinatingly Flexible Political Subtext of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

Catching Fire, the second film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy (a trilogy which, true to their current style, Hollywood is adapting into four films), arrives on screen with the confidence of a film that knows it’s going to gross a bajillion dollars. It is a brisk, exciting, well-acted entertainment, and those elements, in addition to the built-in audience of Collins’ voracious readers, are the most logical explanation for the franchise’s massive popularity. But in viewing the two films back-to-back this week, another theory seems worth mentioning as well: the series’ political subtext, which is present and potent, yet flexible enough to latch on to the ideology of your choice. The Hunger Games is “political” without actually having to stand for anything. … Read More

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50 Books That Define the Past Five Years in Literature

Five years ago this month saw the publication of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 in English. The book topped almost every year-end list and signaled a shift in literary tastes, creating larger audiences for works in translation, historical storylines, and narrative complexity. Between the uncertain future of the publishing industry, the rise of indie presses, new literary magazines, and the Internet and ereaders, the years that followed were bittersweet for the book industry but also a unique and fruitful time for readers. The following 50 books provide several clues as to why that is, and also give a glimpse into the future of… Read More

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8 Classic YA Books That Will Screw You Up For Life

Over at The Hairpin, yesterday, an essayist complained that Sweet Valley High had utterly screwed up her expectations of high school. I hear that, though really I feel the document which most warped my expectations was Saved by the Bell. (The book nerds are never friends with the popular girls. It just doesn’t happen.) … Read More

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What Is ‘Divergent’? A Guide for Grown-Ups

This week, the trailer for the latest attempt at Building a YA Empire, Divergent, dropped onto the web. Shailene Woodley, its star, is a particular favorite of mine, so of course I recommend you see the movie when it appears next March. But those of you who are not either teenagers or parents… Read More

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Publishers’ Craziest Schemes to Avoid Book Spoilers

The news that the translators of Dan Brown’s new book Inferno were basically isolated from the world for two months to avoid any chance of them leaking its plot was enough to elicit a collective bewildered shaking of the head at Flavorwire central. Still, it’s not even the batshit craziest thing that publishers have done over the years to avoid details of their precious books leaking before publication — as an industry, publishing has embraced the embargo-based insistence on secrecy so beloved of Hollywood, especially when it comes to books likely to sell in the bazillions (i.e., anything by JK Rowling). Here are some of the craziest schemes concocted to avoid leaks. … Read More

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The 10 Greatest Dystopian Love Stories in Literature

This week saw the release of the brilliant Ariel Djanikian‘s debut novel, The Office of Mercy. Djanikian’s book drops you into a deliciously paranoid world that we’re confident will go down in history with the best of them, so we asked her to put together a list of her favorite dystopian love stories (just be sure to mentally add The Office of Mercy to her list). Here’s what she told us: “Dystopian tales seem to go hand-in-hand with scintillating, high-octane love stories: perhaps because dire circumstances have a knack of drawing people together, perhaps because claustrophobic repression makes the highs and lows of love affairs that much more potent. These ten books boast plenty of heart-stopping love triangles, as well as romantic pairings with some changes: robots, clones, and cyborgs get in on the action. They are love affairs that question how much feeling we have to offer, and how much trust we can risk in the face of political pressures. Love is never the cure-all for these characters, but it can be an intervention, as Jeanette Winterson says, against powers of destruction.” … Read More

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