Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy is a literary firestorm that swept many young adult readers into its addictive heat. It may have ended in Mockingjay, but Katniss’ unforgettable story is blazing in the readers’ hearts up to this day. The flames are further fanned by the buzz about the first book’s big screen adaptation in 2012, keeping the fandom more alive than ever.
I’ve read so many books after finishing the trilogy, but no other dystopian-themed book is able to dislodge it from its special position in my bookworm heart. So when—by sweet serendipity—I stumbled upon a copy of The Girl Who Was on Fire, I had to clamp down the excited giggle that bubbled up my throat. Three words after I finished it: a phenomenal read.
The Girl Who Was on Fire is a compilation of essays by thirteen YA lit authors that express their commentaries, explanations, and analysis of the said trilogy. I can’t pick a favorite because all of them are very well-written and thought-provoking. A lot of them made me laugh, some almost moved me to tears, but the common denominator is that every piece taught me something new about the series—and I have to admit that it actually prompted me to reread the books.
I learned why Katniss Everdeen is such a hard person to know, how the Games made Haymitch a clownish boozehound or how it affected speech problems of Wiress and Annie, and why the majority of the fandom is more focused on the Team Peeta vs Team Gale when in fact romance is a subplot of the series. A popular topic among the essays is Reality vs Illusions as a thematic device of the books, as well as how Collins brought our obsessions with Reality TV into her books and made not-so-subtle commentaries about it. The power of mass media, fashion as a weapon and a medium of expression, the science fiction elements that reflects our modern scientific explorations, even the parallels of the politics in Mockingjay and that of the G.W. Bush administration—almost everything was touched by the authors. The series was dissected and studied carefully, and in the process, the readers are egged on to debate and raise questions about the series.
For me, this book is a kaleidoscope that offers new perspectives about things I knew about the Hunger Games. It is very refreshing, and it made me love the trilogy more. The closest person I ever have that I can talk to about the series is reachable only through the info superhighway, so this book in my hand created an instant companion that I can gush with about HG. Highly recommended!