What brought on my Series Sunday? I teach middle school and my counterpart in 7th grade taught The Hunger Games last year. So after the ELA exam, I was like Catching Fire it is! With the full intent of re-reading The HUnger Games. Well, I read HG, then CF and well, you can't stop there. I finished MockingJay. And that got me thinking of all the great series I have read and am waiting for.
So requirements for being part of Series Sunday. Has to be a series and has to be a completed series.
All readers needs to be aware that there is no way to talk about a series without spoilers.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a dystopia novel where the country of Panem is the US made up of (originally) 13 districts. They are governed by the Capitol and the evil (but truely awesome character) President Snow. And each year, each district, must send in one boy and one girl into what they call the Hunger Games where kids from the ages 12 to 18 will have to fight to the death until there is one victor.
Along comes, cold-hearted (accept to the weak) Katniss, who ends up in the games with Peeta - her soon to be lover in the eyes of the Capitol. They are the first pair to make it out of the Games, and boy does this piss off President Snow.
He comes at them full force in CF. He sends them back in to the Games as a means to eliminate the all the winners of the Games. Why do you ask does he want to do this? Because, a rebellion - what dystopia doesn't have a rebellion. And then the rebellion ensues.
So why do I love this series - a lot of reasons - number one - I HATE PRESIDENT SNOW! A great story is only as good as the antagonist. President Snow is conniving, he keeps it together in front of the cameras, he's smart, and he's ruthless. He doesn't care who he has to kill to keep his government, his power in control.
Also - Katniss - she's not your fairy princess, your weak, no confidence, hopelessly romantic girl. In fact - she is the opposite of all of those qualities. She's capable of murder. She really doesn't want to get married. She's not stereotypical in any way!
A few of my favorite quotes:
"Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor." Effie Trinket - best airhead ever!
"Well, don't expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear."
"You know, you could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him."
"Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!"
"Ally." Peeta says the words slowly, tasting it. "Friend. Lover. Victor. Enemy. Fiancee. Target. Mutt. Neighbor. Hunter. Tribute. Ally. I'll add it to the list of words I use to try to figure you out. The problem is, I can't tell what's real anymore, and what's made up."
Some of my favorite quotes: "Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor." Effie Trinket - best airhead ever "Ally." Peeta says the words slowly, tasting it. "Friend. Lover. Victor. Enemy. Fiancee. Target. Mutt. Neighbor. Hunter. Tribute. Ally. I'll add it to the list of words I use to try to figure you out. The problem is, I can't tell what's real anymore, and what's made up." "Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!" "Well, don't expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear." "You know, you could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him."
My school district had the great pleasure of having Jennifer Phillips Russo come to our school and give a presentation. Jennifer was vivacious, articulate and had a great message for our students. She really pushed that no matter what you want to achieve, you can do it. She told an antidote about her kids. They told her that they couldn’t fly. She told them that they could invent jet fuel packs that could make them fly. This was great for all our kids. I also have several students who want to be writers and have started writing their own books – I know – a teacher’s dream. She was very inspirational.
And my students? They were engaged. We went to a Q and A portion, and there was a brief moment when I was like: Please no crickets! But Jennifer had fully engaged them. They asked questions until the bell!
So what does Jennifer write? Middle Grades fantasy. Here is her blurb!
Eleven year old boy, Giovani, feels smothered by three younger sisters and drowning in their Sea of Pink. Bored with ordinary life, his only escape is to journey into imaginary adventures, while longing for real companionship away from all things frilly. On his twelfth birthday, his eccentric Aunt bestowed upon him a mysterious gift that she thought he was finally old enough to handle; it changed his life forever. Immediately he was thrust into a curious world that has always been there in the shadows, protecting him, so that one day Giovani might help protect them. For over one thousand years, his bloodline has been part of an elite order that has fought against evil, and now, ready or not, it was his turn. His new reality full of adventures with dragons, elves, and magic await his arrival. Evil forces threaten his family’s existence and have already killed others. The Order needs his help. It is his birthright; his duty. How will he handle his new found responsibility and quest? Will he rise to the challenge or sink back into the Ordinary?
Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things.
Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.
When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?
As some of you may know- I am a huge Wendy Higgins fan. Like terribly huge. Like counted down the release of Sweet Peril after I read Sweet Evil, the first day it came out. So if you haven't read Sweet Evil, go get on it. Seriously - you're going to meet the lustyKaidenRowe and love him.
On to my review!
The novel picks up about 6 months after the first. Anna has half-heartedly embraced the substance abuse side of her. She has changed her reputation around from the sweet innocent of her high school to the full-fledged party girl, but after each party she wakes up the next morning scared to death she has ruined someone's life. The innocent that allows her to hold on to the hilt remains.
Her dad, plays a bigger role in this novel, as the big gruff dad, but ultimately he's a great dad - Yeah - OK so he has a substance abuse problem. Her father sets Anna to go on, what I will call, missions. She travels the world completing her missions and working toward the ultimate goal and I mean ultimate.
My gripe with this book: Kaiden is missing. I mean he appears for a few pages and then is gone. I got frustrated because he's it for me. I want to see him be redeemed. I need to see his "colors" for Anna. But don't worry - half-way through Wendy comes through for me and delivers. Thank you Wendy!
On a side note - I'm getting married in 113 days and my last name is going to be Rowe. I actually loved Kaiden so much - I tried to convince my fiance to put that name into our baby pool of names. He didn't go for it - but I haven't given up yet!