To be perfectly honest, the whole premise kinda creeped me out: teenagers fighting each other to the death on national television? Pass. Not really my thing.
The people I know who had read the book were quite rabid in their adoration. “You have to read this. Amazing book!” I would politely nod and go about my business, not quite sure if they were off their rocker or if I was just completely out of touch with popular culture. I was pretty sure I didn’t need to read about some grotesque killing spree.
Two things happened to change my mind. First, I fell in love with Gregor. And second, The Hunger Games landed in my lap. Literally.
When I started reading Gregor the Overlander, I had no idea that the same author wrote The Hunger Games. But before I finished reading the first book, I knew that I had to read all five. Not only did I borrow them in rapid succession from the library, I had to buy them, and read parts over again because I was just floored by the brilliant way the narrative was woven together. Anyone who can make me cry over the death of a cockroach has to be amazing.
Of course I bought them from my local indie, The Book Loft. The people in there know us, know our reading preferences. In fact, my son has gone in there to buy a book with no money…and they let him! They know I’ll be along in a day or so to pay. You don’t get that at a Borders. But I digress.
My point in mentioning the Book Loft, is that one day after I had bought all of the Gregor books and raved about them (go figure!) Kathy, the owner, handed me her ARC of The Hunger Games. “Since you liked all her other books, I thought you might like this one.”
I’m quite positive that my mouth dropped open and I stumbled over myself trying to thank her. I mean, how many time have you gone into a book store and had them GIVE you a book that you should be paying $20 bucks for in hardcover? A Suzanne Collins ARC? I swept all reservations aside and plunged into the book.
What I learned from reading Gregor, is that Suzanne Collins is a masterful storyteller. She can take a situation that others would sensationalize, and make it moving and beautiful. A subject that seemed savage and abhorrent to me at first glance, came together in her hands in a way that surprised and touched me.
I LOVED this book.
I know, I’m going all fan girl here, and truly, if I came anywhere near her, I would probably make a complete fool of myself. But if you haven’t read any of her books, you simply must. Her writing is brilliant.
Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, is the must have ARC now. I spent last night googling every site with a giveaway and signing myself up. I even found it on eBay for $95! I’m not that desperate. I can wait. I think.