The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Destroying things is much easier than making them.
Just like Twilight, The Hunger Games was one of the books that introduced me to the addictive world of YA literature. I loved it so much that I wrote about it in my undergraduate thesis. Looking back at all the dystopian YA books I have read so far, it’s probably justifiable to say that The Hunger Games is an outstanding piece of literature.
In my thesis, I utilized theories of feminism to illustrate how Katniss is one of the most empowered females in dystopian YA. Compared to other girls like Tris Prior, Mare Barrows, or America Singer, Katniss is the perfect epitome of female empowerment. She does not care about her looks, she can overthrow powerful dictators, and she doesn’t need a man to protect her or make her happy. Yes, she has a romantic connection with Peeta, but I believe that she can still be okay without him. Come to think of it, it’s Peeta who needs Katniss. The dependence isn’t actually mutual. In totality, Katniss will always be one of my favorite YA heroines in light of her political, romantic, and personal empowerment.
The Hunger Games was also the work that perpetuated various dystopian YA elements, such as perpetual camera surveillance, class/caste divisions, and deadly competitions rigged by the bourgeoisie. I’ve encountered “Hunger Games Tropes” in popular series like Throne of Glass, Red Rising, and more. I am often annoyed by this lack of originality in books nowadays, but as other people say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
Overall, The Hunger Games holds a special place in my heart. It taught me the basics of what constitutes a dystopian novel, and it set the standards for empowered YA heroines. In this regard, I won’t hesitate to call it a modern classic.