No, I am not referring to the movie staring the sexy Zac Efron. I am referring to the way two books in particular have made me feel. My favorite type of story is one that leaves you feeling bittersweet, lusting for more, and may even have you rolling around on the floor because of the drama. A good story is one that takes you out of your own world and puts you in one where in alternate universe you can be the hero. The last time I felt this way was when I was a teenager reading books like His Dark Materials and Harry Potter, fantasy and science fiction books full of love, fighting, and purpose.
The two books I am talking about are Legend by Marie Lu and Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I devoured these books. They had everything I want in a story; a strong female character, the fight between good vs. evil, and of course a love interest.
Both of these books take place in a dystopian society where the United States has failed and the people are ruled by a Republic or a Capitol. In Legend the story is told from two points of view; one from the female character June on the Republic side and the other from the point of view of Day, the rebel character. What’s cool is that you get to look into the minds of both the main characters, as it is told from first person. Legend takes place in a broken Los Angeles, but there are mentions of escaping to Las Vegas. Basically, the story has June hunting Day because he apparently killed her brother, but Day has been framed. Discovering the truth unravels terrifying secrets not only about the Republic, but about the characters themselves. Now, without revealing much more, I suggest you get a hold of this book as it going to be the next bestseller and film.
Hunger Games, on the other hand, I’m sure you’ve all heard of as the film comes out this Friday, March 23rd. It also happens to be all over the magazines and hey, there is even a Hunger Games workout regimen! You know, to prepare you for the Hunger Games. Hey, you never know! The story actually reminds me of a Japanese film I used to watch when I was teenager called Battle Royale, where one class is chosen to go on a “field trip”, but are sent to an arena where they must fight one another to the death and where only one can survive. In return, the Japanese government will give them a full scholarship to school. Yay, because thats totally worth dying over. In all honesty it could foreshadow some of our own societies pressures on students to succeed, even if it means killing/pushing yourself or others.
The Hunger Games is a little different but inherently the same concept. In the story the area that used to be the United States is now Panem. Except were missing all the fun states like New York and California because they’re underwater and everyone is forced to go inland. :P When Penem first started they created a Capitol (which is by the Rocky Mountains) and 13 districts. Panem was a little to socialist/dictator-like for District 13, so they started an uprising got all the other districts involved. Unfortunately, Panem took control and completely destroyed the people of District 13 and regained order of the other districts. To show the other districts they mean business, every year they take a boy and girl from each district and force them to kill one another in arena for entertainment and sport. Only one can survive and in return that boy or girl, or “tribute” (which is what they call them in the book), who wins get to move into a fancy house in their district, be financially taken care of their whole life, and forced to train other tributes each year for the Hunger Games. That is until we meet Katniss, the main character. For the love aspect of this book, there is a bit of a love triangle going on, but all I am gonna say is that currently I’m very Team Peeta!
Now, being a big daydreamer, I had always hoped and dreamed that one day I could escape to a different world that these stories had brought me too. I find myself imagining what I would do if I were in these situations, and everyday I try to discover ways to express myself and my daydreaming in real life. For me that escape has become acting, the chance to play myself in another universe to give people a feeling of hope in a crazy world. Although, next to to starring in a film like Hunger Games (ha!), the ability to even express my emotions and reactions though acting is everything I need, and reading books like Legend and Hunger Games brings me back to that time when I was 17 and daydreaming.
Now I leave with a song and video written with the Hunger Games in mind called “Safe & Sound” by Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars, to get you daydreaming and excited for The Hunger Games Film.