Are you already missing that hyperventilating feeling you got after watching the Hunger Games trailer? The one you had while reading the Hunger Games trilogy, too? Well, you could go skydiving to re-create the adrenaline rush while waiting for the movie to come out. Or you could just pick up Shatter Me, the book by debut author Tahereh Mafi that just hit shelves today.
“I’ve been locked up for 264 days,” 17-year-old Juliette says at the opening of the book, just when her solitary confinement has come to an end and she gets a cellmate, a boy who asks a whole lot of questions. The reason she’s locked up, we soon learn, is that she can kill a person simply by touching them. This affliction made her a pariah for her entire life, rejected even by her parents, and a terrible accident was the last straw. But as her new companion, Adam, tells her, the world outside the harsh asylum is hardly better. Before she was locked up, humans had already abused the earth so much that most animals were extinct, food was scarce and birds didn’t fly. But now a military regime called the Reestablishment has taken over the country, with their sights set on the world.
That plot alone is enough to reel us in (and it’s surely what reeled in 20th Century Fox, which bought up the movie rights back in March). But with so many teen dystopian novels flooding the market, what truly makes Shatter Me stand out from the pack is the beautiful, poetic nature of Juliette’s thoughts. (“I always wonder about raindrops. I wonder about how they’re always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. … I am a raindrop.”) As she scribbles in her contraband notebook (and continues in her mind), many sentences are literally struck out, showing how she’s learned to censor her most vulnerable thoughts even to herself. And as she finds herself drawn to Adam, who may or may not be someone she knew long ago, her loneliness is palpable: “His touch is scorching through my skin through layers of fabric and I inhale so fast my lungs collapse. I’m caught in colliding currents of confusion, so desperate so desperate so desperate to be close so desperate to be far away. I don’t know how to move away from him. I don’t want to move away from him.” Read more…
We’ve reached the end of our Hunger Games Book Club (sniff) and we’re here to bring you our final book report before we drift off into the sunset and into the arms of Catching Fire. Let’s recap what goes down at the end of the Games: The muttations attack! They kill Cato! The Capitol revokes the rule saying both District players can win! Katniss and Peeta go to kill themselves but before they do The Games end! They continue to fake their relationship and…they leave the door open for Book 2. So where does that leave us? Wanting more, obviously.
We all know The Hunger Games is about landing on top — so who are the Biggest Winners and Losers from the first book of the series? Let’s count ‘em off.
1. Peeta: He lived! He proved himself to be smarter than anyone thought, including himself. And he got the girl — kinda. Regardless, he solidified himself as the dreamiest pushover in Panem. 2. Katniss: She won the Games — not just for herself and her sister, but for her entire District. Being the mockingjay is a ton of pressure, yes. But is it worth it? YES. 3. Haymitch: The drunk redeemed himself with an impeccable strategy, but only because he had the talent to make it happen. Still, he proved himself to be somewhat lovable — when not acting like the lush that he is. 4. Cinna: Hey may just be a fictional stylist, but the image overall he gave Katniss is the stuff Hollywood dreams are made of. (Lindsay Lohan could stand to find herself a real life Cinna right about now.) 5. District 11: Though Thresh and Rue both died, they were among the most noble fighters in The Games. Classy always wins.
We’re almost at the end of our Hunger GamesBook Club, and for our second to last installment we’re celebrating everything we love about Peeta. In chapters 19-22 Katniss stumbles upon her frenemy camouflaged like dirt and dealing with a massive leg wound. They begin to trust each other and fight for their mutual survival, with a strategy that involves fake romance…except that their feelings may just be real after all. The boy with the bread all but owns this section, so let’s toast his sweet, loving ways, shall me? (Next week we finish up with Chapters 23-27!)
1. Peeta is suddenly sexy..and an ally. He asks Katniss, “You here to finish me off, sweetheart?” (Page 252) when she discovers him hidden by camouflage. Who knew a baker’s son could be so charming while half-dead? Hint to all the fellas out there: don’t talk to us until you’ve got a gash on a leg and a smile on your face. That’s how we’ll know you’re worth our time.
Here we are, drying our weepy eyes as we offer up this latest installment of our Hunger GamesBook Club. This week we are covering the events surrounding Rue’s death (Chapters 17-18), and all the “holy s**t!” things that go down. Let the recap begin — but first let us dry our eyes.
1. RIP RUE. The little songbird’s death is the most crushing moment in the entire book for us. It was naive of us to ever think she and Katniss could both survive, but admit it — you were wishing for that to happen too. We’re currently counting the months until we get to witness Jennifer Lawrence (as Katniss) singing over Rue’s dying form as she places wildflowers around her. Oh the tears we will cry into our buttery popcorn.
2. OMG YOU GUYS KATNISS AND PEETA CAN BOTH LIVE!!! Writing in all caps hardly conveys the excitement we feel over this news, no matter how manipulative the move is on the Capitol’s part.
We’re back with an all new installment for Book Club. This week we are covering the first few days inside the Hunger Games arena (Chapters 14-16), and all the “holy s**t!” things that go down. Let the recap begin.
1. How Rue-d! Screw Peeta and Gale, the relationship we are most looking forward to watching come to life on the big screen is between Katniss and Rue. The tiny warrior breaks our heart at every turn, from her four-note song to the Mockingjays to her underdog status in the Games. This line in particular, kills us: “‘You have good sponsors,’ she says longingly. ” (Page 201)
2. The Bow Saves The Day. Katniss manages to wrangle the bow from Glimmer’s dead and swollen body while hallucinating from tracker jacker stings. She does so with good reason — she uses it to sabotage the Careers’ supplies stash (and to hunt, and restore her sense of self, etc). It even makes her excited to kill! “If Cato broke through the trees right now, I wouldn’t flee, I’d shoot. I find I’m actually anticipating the moment with pleasure.” (Page 197) Atta girl.
We’re back with an all new installment for Book Club. This week we are covering the first few days inside the Hunger Games arena (Chapters 12-13), and all the “holy s**t!” things that go down. Let the recap begin.
1. Peeta and the Careers! No, it’s not a name of a new Hunger Games cover band (but seriously though — let’s make that happen). Peeta has teamed up with the clique of career tributes and seems to be revealing himself as a scam artist. Not only does his alliance betray Katniss’ opinion of him, it goes against what is kosher in District 12, too. “No one from District 12 would think of doing such a thing…And Peeta has the gall to talk to me about disgrace?” (Page 161-162) Oh, why does the boy with the bread have to be so complicated? (Asked in our best Avril Lavigne voice.)
Well, it’s “holy sh*t!” time here at Book Club headquarters. This week we are covering the end of training and the start of the actual Hunger Games, and boy, does a lot go down in these three chapters. Below we’ve got the Five Most Important Things From The Start of the Games. Let’s recap it up.
1. Cinna, The Instiller of Confidence. We really love the development of Katniss and Cinna’s friendship in these chapters. The idea that strength and inspiration can come from unlikely sources is always a nice reminder. After all, we (you know, us and Katniss) initially thought that Cinna was going to change her appearance into something that defies who she is. Instead he’s helped let her spirit become visible to the outside world. “Remember they love you,” he tells Katniss before her interview with Caesar Flickerman on Page 123. “Just be yourself.” Such great advice, especially coming from the guy responsible for transforming her physically. As we’re re-reading the book, we’ve especially loved imagining Lenny Kravitz in this role. We weren’t sold when the news hit, but Cinna is so soft, gentle and understated. For some reason he now just completely fits.
1. We’re about to compare Katniss to Kristen Stewart. You’ve been warned. But seriously: what really struck us in these four chapters is Katniss’ development as a reluctant star. Everything from the prep team’s grooming and changing of her appearance, to Haymitch directing her and Peeta’s interactions, to the flashy outfits and adoring crowds to her inability to be anything but herself…you see what we’re saying. It’s a wonderful commentary on celebrity, and a reminder that not everyone asks for it, certainly not Katniss. But what will she do with it now that it’s hers?
1. Peeta is a sensitive hunk with a heart of gold. But can he kick ass? Sure, we don’t know if he can be trusted yet, and he’s clearly got some fire in him (Snatching Haymitch’s drink in Chapter 4 was a bold move, Bread Boy.), but overall Peeta seems like a gentle soul who may not be able to handle the bloodbath that awaits. Let’s review, shall we? He risked punishment and purposefully dropped bread in the fire so that he could throw it out and give it to a starving Katniss. He gives his competitor a “reassuring squeeze” after they’re picked at The Reaping. HE CRIES. The question is, what will Katniss do about it? “I feel like I owe him something,” she says, “and I hate owing people.” (Page 32) Foreshadowing much?
2. Katniss is a survivor. She’s also that girl who doesn’t realize how hot and cool she is. Katniss Everdeen is the perfect heroine; self-reliant in her ass-kickery and genuinely selfless, sacrificing herself for her family. We love that she doesn’t even dwell on romance — she’s got squirrels to hunt, ya know? She’s just about the perfect woman in every way: she doesn’t care about how she dresses or looks, she pays her own bills, bills, bills, she’s athletic, the only time she worries about what she eats is when there’s not enough food and she’s blissfully unaware of all the dudes who wanna cuddle with her. And of course she has no idea how great she is. We’d hate her for it, except she’s so freakin’ awesome we can only worship at her muddy feet.
Hunger Gamesstars Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth have been spotted on the set! We’re guessing by the blue dress that Jennifer’s wearing that they were shooting scenes from The Reaping. Liam was strolling around in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops, so either he was in his street clothes or Gale is being modeled after a Dartmouth frat boy working on Nantucket for the summer. We’re excited just to see pics of these two, and we’re dying for a look at Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. Give us some blond hair and some bread hands, please! What do you think of the pics?