Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Girl Who was on Fire - Movie Edition by Leah Wilson

I was excited when I saw this as an option on NetGalley, especially after finishing the Panem Companion. Not only did it help me dig deeper into The Huger Games series, but it also caused me to take a deeper look into all of the books I read, especially YA books, whether it be taking note of their cultural norms, gender roles, other societal structers, or more depth to the characters.

This is not one book, but a series of essays written by popular YA authors about The Hunger Games series. I love that, having read the Panem Companion, I has a background knowledge of Susan Collins' intentions and meaning behind THG, but this book is not just a repeat of that. This book focuses on the readers'/watchers' views, opinions and feelings about THG.

One of the first things that stuck out to me was focusing on media truths/lied. At first, Katniss has a hard time lying at all about her and Peeta's relationship, but by Mockingjay, she betrays even the readers with ehr intention to create a new Hunger Games and kills Coin instead of Snow. With this, Sarah Rees Brennan points out, in the first essay, Peeta's position in Mockingjay. His perception has been so altered that he must rely on other telling him what is "Real or not real?"

His position is horrifying, and yet it is just a magnified version of everyone's position in THG - of our own positions as consumers of entertainment that pretends to reflect reality.

I am very glad that Jennifer Lynn Barns focused on the love triangle angle. I have also become tired with the endless triangles.


THG trilogy has less to do with who Katniss ends up with and more to do with who she is - because sometimes, in books and in life, it's not about romance.


I also didn't like how I saw so much Team Gale and Team Peeta. These books were not, at their core, about love. They were about society, war and rebuilding a better society. Katniss was not all swoony, like most YA heroines, today. (Thank God!) She stick to what is important in a time of crisis, which is not who she should kiss.

JLB comes to an excellent conclusion as to why readers picked this question to represent the series, though. Since Katniss was so hard to figure out, readers did as the Capitol did and labeled her a girl in love, making it an either/or situation that would easily tell us who she is.

Maybe for a lot of readers, the questions if Peeta or Gale, who are "so different from each other that it is easy to imagine that a girl who would choose Gale is a completely different person than one who would choose Peeta."

I love that JLB refers to Gale as a firecracker and Peeta a dandelion!

This book gave me an epiphany that Susan Collins might have (perhaps?) been combatting the Peeta vs. Gale argument.
Katniss knows that the world - and many of the trilogy readers - reduce her to that one thing - romance - and that she expects better of those who know her best.
Because if you think about it, Katniss is not interested in love and romance throughout the series, as many YA heroines are.

Even more than I am Team Katniss, I am TEAM BUTTERCUP!
Buttercup is a better comparison to Katniss than her namesake (a potato-like root plant) or the mockingjay. The cat who refused to die. Because, that's what Katniss is, a survivor.  
I think one of the reasons THG is so popular is because Katnis is unlike most YA heroines. She doesn't find insta-love and really doesn't think much about romance at all.
If anyone doubts Katniss is more driven by family than anything else - including romance- all you have to do if look at the role that Prim plays in almost every major turning point in the series.
 Ultimately, even to the other characters in the book, Katniss isn't The Girl who Chose Peeta. She's not the Mockingjay or The Girl on Fire or the Girl Who Didn't Choose Gale.
She's a girl who survives something horrible and loses far too many people along the way. 
This was a lighter read than The Panem Companion. This explores the feelings behind the characters more than the inspiration for the characters and the facts.

If you like THG, you will most likely enjoy this book. I recommend reading the Panem Companion, first, though!

I received this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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