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Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games, Genre, and Confusion


As most of our followers know, the movie version of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games opens in theaters today. If you haven't read the book, you are missing out on a helluva roller coaster ride.

My confusion stems from the book’s genre. 

In my opinion, the genre doesn’t fit. Yes, the age of the MC is correct for YA. But the Voice? 

IMO, ah, not so much.

Others would say the violence, teens killing teens on ‘reality TV’, is a point against the YA designation. But with so are many examples of drug use, explicit sex, and murder in other popular tomes, I don’t see this as an argument.

According to several agents, Voice is the key to whether a book is adult or YA. The MC in Hunger Games, Katniss, speaks in adult tone and manner and therefore the book is not YA. What do you think?

I’ll see Hunger Games next week after the crowds thin out a bit. One thing I’m curious about is how it made the transition from page to screen. The books were *sigh* fantastic but after a director gets a hold of a book and the screenwriter and the producer and the actors, well, boy howdy things can go downhill fast. 

Twilight is an excellent example of this kind of face plant. I loved the books. No. That is too ordinary. I lived and breathed those books. Yes I realize as a debut author, Ms. Meyer’s writing was not all it could be. Which she acknowledged. But I never skipped pages/paragraphs as I do with nearly all books. I read every word. Several times. Actually double digits even.

But the movies. *groan* Horrible acting combined with a stumbling script equals Cee R A Pee.





The Harry Potter movies are the other extreme. Great acting. Excellent direction. 



And Holy Cannoli, could you find anyone other than Alan Rickman to play Snape? I tell ya, he shoulda received an Oscar nomination for his performance.

My question to our followers who have read Hunger Games:
Is it YA? Or adult? Are you going to see it? 

20 comments:

Rebecca Belliston said...

I have read Hunger Games (devoured--punn intended) and was one of the crazy million who braved the midnight showing last night. I have to say, they stayed very true to the book. It was awesome! They really did a great job. As far as YA or not, I think it's only because Katniss is forced to be the adult in her family that she has an adult voice. But to me, that only makes it a stronger YA. Though I wasn't one of them, there are plenty of teens in the world who are forced to grow up at a young age. Since all the other tributes (main characters) are also teens, I would say this is definitely YA. But that's just my thoughts. Hope you enjoy the movie. :)

Huntress said...

I love debating this question and especially hearing the other side.

Now I am second guessing my opinion. Hm.

mshatch said...

haven't read the books but boy do I agree with you about Alan Rickman. He was the perfect Snape.

Charity Bradford said...

I agree with you about the genre. Hunger Games doesn't "feel" like YA to me either. And you know my whole issue with people saying my book feels YA as opposed to adult. That's because it WAS until someone said my MC had to be a teen.

I'll see the movie some time next week when the crowds thin out a bit.

As for book to movie--I'm more excited about The Host movie coming out next year. That link goes to a teaser clip. I'm also terrified because I lived and breathed that book several times. The actors don't look anything, ANYTHING like what I imagined and it scares me a bit. But I can't wait either!!

Huntress said...

WHOA!! I watched the trailer and...wow.

I read The Host twice and it was much better the second time around. You see, I had to get over my initial disappointment. It wasn't 'twilight' :)

That is a great trailer. I sincerely hope they do a better job bringing it to the big screen. The chick that wrote the screenplay for TTS wasn't up for the job.

Cortney Pearson said...

Great discussion! I'd say it's YA. Katniss fits the world she lives in. What she faces, hunger, the games, government control, is something young adults face in her world, so I didn't think she sounded too old or anything. I thought everything *fit*. And I agree, the acting and screenplays for the Twilight movies are mega cheesy! (Although I did like Breaking Dawn the best of them all, and I have bought all the movies and watch them anyway, lol.)

1000th.monkey said...

whether this is true or not, i remember reading somewhere that Collins didn't want her books to be YA and was upset when that's the genre they were pushed/marketed

Huntress said...

Cortney, I bought everything related to Twilight also. *cringe*
The music was the best thing about the first movie. No one came close to SuperMassive Blackhole by Muse.

Huntress said...

Now that is interesting. I'll do some research to try and find this article.

Margo Berendsen said...

Oh I agree the Twilight movies were a flop (except for the Volturi - I think the three top Volturi were an improvement over the book version) and I sure hope that the Hunger Games goes the route of HP and not Twilight.

I never thought about it before, but Katniss' voice really is adult. I guess that is because she IS the adult in her family. She's responsible for their survival. That may explain why the books are so universally popular with teens and adults?

L. said...

No, but I will happily drool over Alan Rickman for two hours instead... :)

L. said...

Oh! the book? It was okay. Lacking in Alan Rickman, though.

Huntress said...

@ L.
And here I thought I was all by my lonely thinking Mr. Rickman was hot!

Huntress said...

An excellent perspective. Since she is the one supporting her family, her voice is naturally more adult.
Good point.

L. said...

Good heavens, no. He has a devoted following... let me see if I can find that music video for you. Will email.

Miranda Hardy said...

I've seen the movie twice (yesterday). I've read the books once, and that was several years ago. I'd like to read them again, now that I've been writing YA for a few years now.

My daughter read the books recently and she's 16. She loved them, but was angry with the ending. As far as the voice, I'll have to read them again. I don't recall the last two books too well. The first one stood out in my memory, though.

Margo Kelly said...

I really enjoyed the movie (never as much as the book), and I agree with the whole YA confusion. Just because a book is about a teenager, doesn't mean it's YA appropriate. I really wish books had a "rating" system similar to movies. Then any reader could look at the rating (and the reasons listed behind the rating) and decide if it's something they are interested in.

momto8 said...

my youngest son, age 10 wants to see he movie...all of his friends saw it and it is all the rage in school...we are making him wait until he is a teen.
I am your newest follow..pls follow back if you can.

Julie Maughon said...

I think the confusion here isn't over genre so much as how one defines genre. THG is YA because of its pace, its style, and Katniss's coming-of-age (albeit horrific). But it is mature YA, more mature than Harry Potter or Twilight, and that makes us scratch our heads a little bit. It doesn't have the youthful escapism set down by its big-budget, mega-hype predecessors (let's hope no one wants to have their name drawn at the Reaping as badly as they want that letter from Hogwarts). And that's a good thing.

I have no problem calling The Hunger Games "YA," because not all books for teens should be the same. Katniss is a teen protagonist who is forced to become an adult, and teen readers of THG are catapulted into big questions that will, hopefully, shape how they grow. To me, this is the very definition of YA, let alone powerful literature.

Just throwing in some thoughts, a week later. Haha.

Brooke R. Busse said...

I liked The Host much better than I liked the Twilight Saga and am so excited they're making it into a movie.