Posts Tagged With: Teenagers

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games (Hunger Games 1)
Author: Suzanne Collins
ISBN: 978-1407109084
Publisher: Scholastic
First Published: January 2009
No .of pages: 464

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Fantastic Fiction):Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games.” The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat’s sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

Review:
Oh. My. Gods!

How on earth did I manage to wait so long before picking up the first in this trilogy? I mean, the hype was all over the place, and then the film came out (which I rather enjoyed), but perhaps it was the hype that kept me away. Anyway, I finally succumbed and I am SO glad I did!

From the very first page, I was absolutely hooked. Katniss is such a wonderfully flawed character that we can all see a little of ourselves in her, both good and bad; the situation, which is almost like a teenaged version of  The Running Man, is edge-of-the-seat stuff; and the writing is so good it’s incredibly difficult to put the book down. Although there is some quite horrific violence and death involved, the descriptions are not so graphic that it would make it inappropriate for  younger ten readers – it really is handled superbly so that readers of almost any age can enjoy it.

I got so into it that even though I’m enjoying my current book, I find myself wishing I was was still reading The Hunger Games and I look forward to getting hold of the sequels so I can continue following Katniss – I’m just dying to find out what happens next. My favourite character, however, has to be Peeta – I think I fell in love with him just a little bit. Although Katniss is obviously very close to Gale, I just couldn’t warm to him in quite the same way, but that’s possibly because we don’t get to spend as much tie with him. Perhaps that will change as I get further into the trilogy. Either way, I’ll be reading them very soon!

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

Title: Cold Light
Author: Jenn Ashworth
ISBN: 978-1444721447
Publisher: Sceptre
First Published: April 2011
No. of pages: 352

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
This is the tale of three fourteen-year-old girls and a volatile combination of lies, jealousy and perversion that ends in tragedy. Except the tragedy is even darker and more tangled than their tight-knit community has been persuaded to believe.

Blackly funny and with a surreal edge to its portrait of a northern English town, Jenn Ashworth’s gripping novel captures the intensity of girls’ friendships and the dangers they face in a predatory adult world they think they can handle. And it shows just how far that world is willing to let sentiment get in the way of the truth.

Review:
There’s something quite addictively compelling about this coming-of-age story focusing on the friendship (and sometime enmity) of three girls on the cusp of adulthood in the mid-to-late 90s. While reading it, I felt like there were constant warning signals flashing on and off as my adult mind could see the danger in the situations these girls got themselves into, but they couldn’t seem to see it themselves.

The jumping back and forth between the teenage years and ten years later sometimes jolted a little, but things quickly got back on track each time, however it was occasionally a little disruptive to the narrative.

The plot itself featured a mystery that seemed quite evident to me. There were pointers along the way that made the conclusion a bit of a let-down as elements of it were quite obvious, but there were other, more subtle moments along the way that meant it wasn’t completely disappointing.

It’s not a fast-paced novel, but it doesn’t drag; I was quickly drawn into the proceedings and felt I recognized the people, places and situations. It’s not the best novel I’ve read of this type, but it’s certainly not the worst, and it makes a refreshing change for the main characters to be quite dull, not particularly attractive or popular girls – it makes the whole thing seem more plausible than if they had been bubbly, bright young things from the posh end of town.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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