64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2011
I ripped through this little book in a day and found that it only deepened and textured my understanding of The Hunger Games! The trilogy, understood through the eyes of these YA essayists, is so much more than just an action tale or even just a story about rising up against your oppressors or finding your voice or etc.
For instance, in this 13-essay mini-anthology, you'll find a piece about the role of fashion and appearances in everything from a Capitol-constructed death game to an American presidential election to the courtroom visits of Lindsay Lohan and Lil Kim, a piece examining how choosing love is an act of political defiance, and an essay treating The Hunger Games as a cautionary tale against the screwy science that produced tracker jackers and the other mutts of Panem. There's even an essay addressing the psychological roots of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder almost every character suffers by the end of Mockingjay. So...fashion, politics, science and psychology in the span of four essays!
If you love The Hunger Games, I can guarantee you'll love at least one piece in the book. My own favorite was the book's first essay "Why so hungry for the Hunger Games?" which examines which themes laced throughout the books really capture the imagination. It also delivers a wonderful analysis of Katniss, Peeta, and Gale separately as well as illuminating what each romance means in the larger picture of revolution-torn dystopia.
Sigh. I just wish I could read them all over again for the first time...
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2011
After two reads through Hunger Games set and a lot of thought about plot and characters and our own world, I was excited to find this book and pre-ordered immediately. It arrived on my Kindle promptly on the 5th and I took my time reading through the essays.
The essays are well thought out and generally discuss the themes in the trilogy from an aspect significant to the author - fashion, politics, media, community, trauma and so forth. Some of the essays I enjoyed more than others but all of them are worth reading. Often small (you're on your own, buy the book :)) things were pointed out that were easily overlooked in the books or were shown in a different light.
The novels have broad appeal, my only disappointment with this book are the number of male contributors, one. I would have liked to read the thoughts of another male author or two due to the way the essays are structured. Gender and life experience may very well color the essays so we missed out on that essay drawing parallels between today's professional sports and the Hunger Games! Not enough to take a star away from an excellent book though.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2011
This book was amazing. It really added to the whole Hunger Games experience, if possible. I fell in love with the Hunger Games trilogy and figured I would read this. It sounded interesting and I was dying for more.
I didn't expect this.
All these different authors wrote essays about different topics in the Hunger Games trilogy such as style and symbolism, reality and unreality. It literally blew me away, and my respect for Suzanne Collins and her writing skyrocketed.
I immensely enjoyed every essay....except one.
I felt the third to last essay written by Sarah Darer Littman didn't meet the score that the essays before it in the book had set. In fact, it didn't come close. When she actually mentioned the Hunger Games or anything about it (in passing) it was something we had already learned or could actually deduce ourselves while reading the books.
So how did she fill up a fifteen page essay? She pretty much mentioned everything America has done wrong, what our previous president (Bush) did wrong, or her hate mail to the newspaper she writes political articles for and why all those people are WRONG. I bought this book to learn more about the Hunger Games. I DID NOT buy this book to hear about the letter she received from an American Veteran from WWII telling her she needed to keep writing forever and ever. Which I also learned in this article is taped above her desk.
I am sorry to those of you who may have thought her article was genious, but I prefer to not know famous people's political views because it changes my view of THEM. But Sarah Darer Littman talked of nothing else and in my book, that seems to be asking for my criticism. Apologies.
THE GIRL WHO WAS ON FIRE should NOT be read before the Hunger Games trilogy but should definitely be read after. It was, in one word, BRILLIANT. (:
59 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2011
I am a big fan of The Hunger Games series. I enjoyed the first book very much and I enjoyed the whole series even more. It is no wonder I would to like to share my thoughts on the series with others. I also wanted to hear what others had to say.
I have to say I am slightly disappointed with this book. The contributors in this anthology are YA authors. When I read this book, I felt the articles were geared more towards young adults. This book is somewhat toned down to be more accessible to younger readers. I found nothing really stimulating or challenging presented in this book. The article I liked above others was the one written by Sarah Darer Littman, and it is probably the only one that I enjoyed. Even in this article, I found nothing that I didn't already know or agree with.
This review may come off as pretentious, which is not my intention. In the past I had read several books of this type (anthology of discussion on pop culture, etc). I had always enjoyed and learned a lot from those books. I was excited to see details and nuance ignored by me but picked up by others. If you are a teenager, I am sure you might benefit from reading this book. One may get more out of a work by examining as many aspects as possible. Different points of view open up our minds, which is really one of the main reasons for reading. A book like this aims to do just that. However, if you are a seasoned reader who are accustomed to probing around what you read and what you watch, you might walk away unsatisfied after you finish this book. I do not claim to be a sophisticated reader (nor am I), but I do feel The Hunger Games Series deserve wider and deeper analyzing.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2011
The Girl Who Was on Fire is a well written and engrossing anthology by several very talented YA authors who are also big fans of The Hunger Games Series. I knew that I wanted to read this because some of my favorite authors like Carrie Ryan, Sarah Rees Brennan and Jennifer Lynn Barnes were in it expressing their thougths on the series, but I didn't know if I was going to love it since I'm not used to non-fiction anthologies, but I was wrong. I loved reading this book and was surprisingly captivated and sucked in from the very first essay, I found it hard to put down and all along it kept me wanting to go back and dive into the amazing series that is The Hunger Games.
While reading this anthology I felt like I was having a very thorough discussion about one of my favorite and most memorable series with a bunch of friends. I know in real life these authors are not my friends, but there were so many things that you can agree and disagree with while reading this book that it made it so familiar and very easy to read, just like when you go out for coffee with your friends and talk about books. There were things that I agreed and some that I disagreed about in some of these essays but they were all very well explained and researched, some of these authors even added a bit of humor into their opinions which actually made me laugh and some were so emotional and brought all those feelings I had while reading the series that it made me tear up a couple of times. This book covers everything in all three books of The Hunger Games series, and you can feel while you're reading it that the authors felt very passionate about their opinions on each subject in their essay.
These authors break the series up in little pieces and dissect and analyze everything with detail, emotions and lots of research. It covers every topic from the political part of the series to the love triangle, the will to survive, and so much more that I didn't even realize was in the series until reading this book. One that resonated with me the most was Jennifer Lynn Barnes' essay about being on Team Katniss and not being about just Gale and Peeta but about much more than just the love triangle, it brings out so many emotions about Katniss and why we love her so much that it actually brought me to tears. It will definitely open your eyes about so much that goes on in The Hunger Games, things that we can already see happening in the world. I definitely recommend this one to every Hunger Games fan, it will make you look at the series in a whole new light and love it even more.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2011
I was an English major, and later an English teacher, so obviously I enjoy discussing the themes in literature. Any good book lends itself to deeper analysis. But if you don't like discussing literature in depth, then this collection is not for you. If you do, you will appreciate all 13 essays herein, although some are better than others. It was clear to me that Suzanne Collins never intended for this trilogy to be mere escapist entertainment. Instead, it's something like 1984 meets Survivor meets the myth of King Minos and the Labyrinth. Collins has stated in interviews that she wanted the books to inspire people to think, and in this book you can explore the thoughts of 13 great peers of hers, all YA authors themselves. As I stated in a comment to another reviewer, my only regret is that only one of the 13 essayists is male. As a 36yo man who thoroughly enjoyed the trilogy, I would like to see a bit more gender-balanced perspective.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2011
Like most YA readers, I'm a huge fan of The Hunger Games. HUGE. I can't get enough of it, so I thought this would be the perfect book for me.
This is essentially an anthology of essays by different authors who explore various facets of the Hunger Games in greater detail.
It's an interesting read for those who appreciate a more academic approach to literature, but may not be as interesting to those who are simply fans of fiction and literature solely for amusement.
Some of the essays do offer interesting new ideas, and some of them felt like I was proofreading a classmate's university paper. This academic approach can often to lead to what I see as overanalyzing a piece of art, which detracted from my enjoyment of reading these papers.
The authors do cover a wide array of topics including scientific advancements, neuroscience, politics, sociology, and the list goes on. Because of this there are going to be some topics which are less interesting to the reader than others.
Overall, it was an interesting read but not one I would particularly recommend outside of a situation where purely academic research and thinking is appreciated.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2011
I didn't know what to expect from this unauthorized book but was pleased with what I found. Each chapter touches on a different idea from the book, e.g. the media aspect (reality TV), political aspect, Peeta v Gail, etc. Some chapters were more interesting to me than others but there are enough that I was grateful for reading. I was happy to be able to continue with the story in some way since I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the characters when I finished Mockingjay. It enabled me to continue to ponder and flush out some of the bigger ideas of the book with these YA authors who have the ability to express with words some of the things I was feeling and knew but couldn't put to words myself. I have since found myself recommending this book to anyone who loved the series and couldn't get enough of it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2012
What a great book. After finishing the series I felt I still wasn't ready to leave the Hunger Games and came across this book. I loved reading different authors opinions and take on the series as well as a deeper look into our world today and connections to Panem. It has also introduced me to other authors and their books. A good read for anyone that is a fan of the Hunger Games!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2011
The cover for this book is perfect. I love the smoking arrow. It fits The Hunger Games trilogy completely.
This book is obviously for fans of the series. If you haven't read the books, this one would be a major spoiler for pretty much everything in the series. In all honesty, this review may be a little spoilery as well, considering the subject matter. Just a warning for all of you non-Hunger Games readers out there. Actually, upon further reflection, I think I kept the spoilers out of my review.
About halfway through this book, I went and requested a couple more Smart Pop books from the library. I requested the Twilight one, the one about the Sookie Stackhouse books, a Harry Potter one, and finally one about the Gilmore Girls. These are seriously addicting. Anything that analyzes books is a-okay with me.
There were a lot of references to early Romans that I hadn't noticed while reading. The authors also brought up some really good points about our current culture and how the games aren't that far of a stretch from where we are. I really want to purchase this book to have on hand whenever I read the series again. I think it will be really enlightening. I was in love from the start because one of the first essays was about how the series is much, much more than Team Gale vs. Team Peeta. I cannot express how annoyed I get when this series is broken down into only a love triangle. I am cringing at all of the Team Peeta/Team Gale merchandise that will come out closer to the release of the movie.
This book really just reaffirmed my love for The Hunger Games and I'm so glad I read it. It made me think about how I viewed the series and will no doubt have an impact on my future readings. This book is definitely for all of the book nerds out there like me (and probably you). If you have ever wanted to analyze The Hunger Games (and really, if you've read the series, I'm sure you want to), then I would suggest checking out The Girl Who Was on Fire!