ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.
I just finished reading the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. My husband and I listened to the first in the series, Hunger Games last month. If you are not familiar with the series, it is set in the future. The main characters, Katniss, Peeta, and Gayle, all hail from district 12 of the country Panem. Panem is located where currently North America is located. The basic premise of the series is that the government would like to punish and control people, to prevent them from rebelling. Each district selects a boy and girl randomly to participate in the hunger games. During the hunger games, the players fight until the death until the remaining survivor wins the games.
While we were listening to the Hunger Games, both my husband and I kept thinking that this was a horrible premise of a book, whether teen or adult. I mean, what is good about teens fighting each other to the death? In any case, we couldn’t stop listening to the book. It is captivating. The author writes the characters in such a way that you care whether they live or die. The story moves fast, and you begin to find yourself rooting for a specific character. Are you team Gayle, Peeta or Katniss?
There has been much discussion lately about the dark themes currently appearing in Young Adult (teen) literature. Two articles, both pro and con, have been written about this. The first, Darkness to Visible, was published in the Wall Street Journal. The author of this article believes Young Adult literature is running rapid with violence, depravity and abuse. The second, written in response, was called, Has young adult fiction become too dark?, and was published in Salon magazine.
Whether you believe Young Adult literature is too dark or tackles some deep subjects, the teens are reading. I came across an article from Entertainment Weekly about the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Thirteen Reasons Why is about suicide. Hannah Baker has already committed suicide before the book begins. She has made thirteen cassette tapes to send to the thirteen people she believes contributed to her death.
The article points out how a book can open a person’s perspective and create empathy for others. The author, Jay Asher, stated that he has received several e-mails from teens who were contemplating suicide. He also has received e-mails from teens who realized after reading the book that what they say or don’t say, and the way they act towards others can have a lasting impact on someone’s decisions or outlook on life.
Have you read any teen books lately? What do you think about this topic?