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6th September
2010
written by Steph

Tony and I haven’t done a “group read” in a while (in this case “group” = Tony and me… and sometimes our dogs), but when I finally got my hands on a copy of latest YA juggernaut The Hunger Games, we figured there was no book better to read aloud to one another. Given that we shared the reading experience together, we thought we’d gift y’all with a joint review, dialogue style. It’s rather long because we had lots of feelings, so let’s get to it. If you’d prefer, you can listen to the recording of our conversation, which involves more joking and snarking, which I mostly edited out for brevity (seriously!). Choose your own adventure!

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And of course, there are mild spoilers, though we don’t go so far as to break the book down plot point by plot point for you but stay clear if you’ve not read the book yet but are planning to. T: Here's the basic synopsis of this book, for the three of you who haven’t heard… Basically, there’s a girl named Katniss who has to fight for her life in a giant tournament in a dystopian (possibly post-apocalyptic) future U.S. known as Panem. The basic structure of Panem is 12 districts ringed around a Capitol city in the mountains of Colorado. Each district kind of does its own thing and provides a resource for the denizens of the Capitol city. District 12, Katniss’ district, provides coal, while District 11 is agriculture. There’s also a luxury goods district, a textile district, etc. Each of these districts serve their little function, and they’re kind of backwater – it’s like this medieval world of  no electricity, no hot running water, at least district 12 is… some of the others are a little better off. None of the people live as well as the people in the Capitol do, so you’ve already got this basic dichotomy set up. Once a year the Capitol puts on this thing called The Hunger Games in which the Capitol demands a boy and girl child from every district between the ages of 12 – 18. Every child puts his name in a big raffle and they draw the names out and the people whose names get called go and fight to the death in the Hunger Games. To the victor goes the spoils – the one who survives gets wealth, and a house, and a life of luxury for the rest of their lives. And you don’t die! S: And really the motivation behind the Hunger Games is that there was once an uprising in which the 12 districts tried to overthrow the Capitol and the Capitol prevailed, but essentially the HG are meant as a celebration and reminder that the Capitol prevailed and owns you. So this book discusses the selection of Katniss to participate in the Hunger Games and all of the lead up to the Games themselves, and then of course the Games. In terms of the idea for the Games themselves, it’s interesting because the idea itself is not all that fresh. It’s the basic concept behind Running Man, Mad Max and there was a Japanese novel, Battle Royale, in which school children are placed on an island and have to kill each other. T: Yes, and it’s also like a Lord of the Flies, but with them being put there purposefully instead of being marooned there. So it’s definitely a well-used trope as well as the dystopian future slant that’s also a well worn shoe. S: And it’s something that’s very popular in YA fiction, the dystopian society. Perhaps because that’s an age group that often feels alienated, with a lot of uncertainty. So perhaps in that respect it’s kind of remarkable that the series has taken off as much as it has, given that we’ve just said that it’s not all that original. T: Well, things that were once popular will always be popular; it comes and goes in cycles. You know, if you wait long enough and people will embrace it again… look at popped collars! They’ve come and gone three times now, and it’s kind of like that. So things always turn in circles and always come back, and I don’t think the dystopia idea will ever get old, because it’s always something on people’s minds. People are always thinking that things are getting worse as time passes even though all historical evidence is to the contrary. S: So given that it is a YA novel, I think one of the things apart from the subject matter that really jumped out at us was the writing itself. T: Yes. For me, as an adult reader who has read what I think are some of the best books ever written, obviously the writing in this book is not going to measure up to that standard. I found it to be pretty hackneyed, pretty cliché; I didn’t find anything about the writing to be terribly original or new. As I read through it, I always had the feeling that I’d heard it before or read it before or heard an idea before. Nothing about it was very fresh. Now coming at this from the standpoint of a 16-year old or a 14-year old or 14-year-old me even, I probably wouldn’t have focused in on that aspect of it as much because I wouldn’t have read as much. But I still think I probably wouldn’t have found it to be a very well written book because it’s so schmaltzy and it’s just kind of clunky. S: Yes! I was just going to say that it was clunky. I think this is an example where as a book the writing is serviceable and is meant as a means of shuffling you through the plot, but the book is not something you would read to get excited about language. T: Yes, you said it felt like a first draft and I think that’s a good example of the writing. S: I mean, there are a lot of sentence fragments, a lot of sentences that are awkwardly constructed, some word choices where it’s just a little bit awkward. I felt there could have been more finesse. I’m not saying you have to overly complicate the writing, but it was an example of where I feel like the writing was generally unremarkable but also verged towards awkward and not that good. T: It’s not the kind of book that’s going to set a YA audience on fire for reading. It’s kind of like reading a screen play. S: Do you mean the ACT of reading?  I think it’s a vehicle for getting astory across… I feel like it’s not an example of where the words themselves are imbued with very much power. Obviously we have to make the comparison to Twilight. Yes, this is obviously better than that… but perhaps not as much as one might think. I think a lot of the benefit to this is that it’s not quite as maudlin as Twilight. As much as this definitely is a love story with those teenage romance elements, they’re not the sole focus. T: It’s not nearly as saccharine as Twilight is. S: But then again, I was talking about this with our friend Eliza who has read the series, and we were talking about this as compared to Harry Potter and I know that it is much loved but also gets a lot of flack, but I think it’s actually a very well written children’s series. I think it has a lot of great fundamentals of writing there; not only is it telling a good story, and while J.K. Rowling is not perhaps the new Shakespeare, I think she manages to infuse her writing with a lot of warmth and humor. She’s doing more than just putting words on a page to tell a story, and I feel that The Hunger Games only rarely does more than that. Ultimately, it’s not the best writing, but you could do worse. As a YA book it’s very accessible but I think there are probably a lot of YA novels that are written a lot better than this. T: Yes, I would rate the writing on this average to below average in terms of YA books. S: So we weren’t blown away by the writing, and I think for us, where we are the kind of readers where words are very important to us, that certainly detracted from the overall experience. T: I think it says a lot about the story that we are still reading these books because we weren’t fans of the writing, and we found the ideas cliché or simplistic (the concepts aren’t very deep), and the characters… Oy. The characters are really one-dimensional in my opinion. I mean, even for a YA book, they’re so 1D it’s just frustrating. You know how any character is going to react at any given time based on their initial one-sentence introduction. There is no complexity, especially the main character Katniss. I just feel like… She’s an idiot! OK, so the background on Katniss is that her father died when she was 11 and so she’s been living off of her wits and off the land to support her mother and her sister for years now. She trades in a blackmarket area and catching game and doing all these things that require a fair amount of intellectual finesse and instinct… it’s the kind of life where if you’re kind of slow and are not picking up on things, you will starve to death. A good survivalist is a smart instinctual person. So we have this presentation of Katniss as this very competent, skilled huntress contrasted with the fact that she seems to be completely moronic when it comes to human interactions. I don’t think she has any emotional intelligence in this book. She is societally functional but is consistently surprised by things that are telegraphed so obviously by the writing that she has to be simple because it is so obvious in the way the story is told in terms of what’s going on and how people around her are feeling that only a moron in that situation would not pick up on it. S: Maybe Katniss is secretly a robot! Twist! T: It’s a book of dichotomies, especially in the characters because she is so competent in so many ways that require an intellect and foresight and some sort of knowledge of the way things work and yet when it comes to other things: matters of the heart, relating to other people, strategy thinking ahead, understanding the impact that your actions have on the world at large… She fails. Miserably. And it’s extraordinarily frustrating. S: I think when we were discussing the book in situ while we were reading it, you had the insight that it’s very frustrating when Katniss is in the games because she is at times portrayed as this survival genius where all of a sudden she’s capable of doing these amazing things but then in order to serve the narrative, she will also at times be a huge moron. You find yourself wondering how she can have such skill and dexterity in one capacity of these survival elements, and then in the next scene be such a huge fool. T: Yes. There’s this one scene where she has this very detailed understanding of the way a device that shoots balls of fire would work – despite coming from a district with no electricity or running water or technology to speak of – and yet then a couple of scenes later is completely mystified by the idea of a landmine. I mean, you understand mystical balls of fire and hovercrafts and teleportation but you don’t understand a  landmine? There’s basically an inconsistency in her character. Her competency is never on an even plain.  It’s really just mean to ratchet up suspense for the reader, but it’s a false sense of suspense, because the real mystery is not “what is this big mystery?” but “Why is she being such an idiot?” She’s either a competent survivalist or she’s not; you don’t just switch that on and off. I just feel like a lot of this comes from the standpoint of someone who either didn’t do her research or just blithely ignored facts that she did find. A lot of the survivalist stuff and weaponry just doesn’t jive with what happens in real life. I feel like it’s a twisting of consistency and unity to serve the narrative. Everything serves to further the plot regardless of whether it all works together and whether it all makes sense within the framework that’s been created by the story and the characters. And I think that’s what makes me call it hackneyed because it is a good story and it is compelling and the plot moves along well and you’re interested, but so much seems to be sacrificed to keep the plot going and interesting. It’s like, “I like it, but I don’t want to!” S: I thought it was frustrating that Katniss is the protagonist and so she gets the most depth and yet every character really is just a stereotypical, one-sentence synopsis. Peeta, her fellow tribute is unerringly good and generous and is just hopelessly in love with her. Her sister is unerringly kind and very nurturing and motherly and all those feminine characteristics that Katniss herself is not. It’s frustrating that the characters don’t move beyond that. T: All the subtleties of human nature have been washed out of it. Yes, I understand simplification for a YA novel, but I think the kids who are the target for this novel are savvy enough to realize that people are complex. S: Yes, and there’s nothing wrong with portraying them as such. I think we should be working to understand that there is more to people than a single note. But I guess one of the other things I found frustrating was the love story element. I think part of what frustrated me about it is that Katniss is just completely oblivious when it comes to romance, love and the opposite sex. On the one hand I understand the uncertainty that is part and parcel of being a 16-year-old girl, especially when you’re in this situation of fighting for your life and you don’t know who to trust. But again, it was just so ridiculous that she couldn’t figure Peeta out at all. I think as much as people talk about Katniss as a wonderful character, I was really frustrated that this book revolves around a girl not necessarily being able to survive on her own, but on being a romantic love interest in order to survive. As much as this book could be about a kick-ass girl who is able to survive on her wits and the fact that she is so good with a bow and arrow, it devolves into a girl who needs to make out with a guy in order to survive. T: I think it all comes back to the idea that Katniss isn’t allowed to be a totally competent character. She has to have these moments of complete witlessness and vulnerability and must rely on these cliché tropes: the love interest, the older wiser man, the sweet innocent loving teenage boy… S: The sexually unthreatening boy! As much as there’s a lot of making out, Peeta is for all intents and purposes a eunuch. T: He’s like no 16-year-old boy I’ve ever known! Or been! S: I personally found it kind of icky that we’re maybe supposed to buy into this romance that is on some level is fabricated and on every level is manipulated. I just felt not ok. How do you root for a relationship is manipulated in that sense and people are watching this and are saying “Maybe we’ll send you a bowl of broth if you let Peeta get to second base…” That’s creepy to me. But I also felt that it wasn’t indicative in the narrative that this notion was creepy. It felt like Collins wrote it in a way so that if you bought into the Katniss & Peeta love story, then that’s cool. T: I think the bigger issue wasn’t that the love story was manipulated and contrived, but that Katniss couldn’t figure her shit out and make some decision. And that was frustrating for me to was that she can’t make decisions and seems unable to think about anything in a real way. And obviously that’s her big stumbling block in the story, but it is very frustrating to see this seemingly independent very competent girl to also have no knowledge of her self whatsoever. I’m not saying your average 16-year-old girl is going to be the paragon of rationality, decision making and self knowledge, but I feel like she’s being characterized as a girl who has none of those things… at times. S: As much as people have Team Peeta and Team Gale, you are clearly Team Anti-Katniss. T: I’m Team Abstinence! S: So I know one thing that you want to talk about is your overarching question of “Is Suzanne Collins a communist?” T: I don’t know about communist, but I think this book is a lot more politically motivated than it should be. Especially now in light of what’s happening with the American political system, I feel like this book is very apropos. I feel like there’s a very strong sense of the districts set up like the proletariat – the common working man that’s been trod upon by the upper class Capitol denizens. They’re cut from the same cloth in these districts, they’re solid working people, with some exceptions. We haven’t gotten to the detailed descriptions of the other districts so there may be more subtlety than I’m aware of now, but right now it’s very obvious that the districts are the noblw working people, the country is built upon their backs, without them everything would fail and they are viciously subjugated by the Capitol. And the people in the Capitol are very foreign from the people in the districts  - they dress strange, they talk strange, they do strange body modifications, they’re indifferent to the deaths of the children during the Hunger Games, they’re privileged, they don’t have to work for anything, they sleep late, they have very petty concerns that occupy their time… In every way, Collins has set up this dichotomy of “Real America” vs “Fake America”. To me it plays into this lack of subtlety and shades of grey that plays into the characterization in the book. There’s the good people in the districts, and the bad people in the Capitol and there’s very little exception to this rule and isn’t this disgusting! To me the immediate thing that popped up was 1919 Russia – you have the czars vs the proletariats, because the czars were completely out of touch and they were subjugating the population and this was very much what that was in book form. And the fact that it takes place in this dystopian future in this shell of America, it made it feel very much like “look at where we’re headed”… I just found it very unsettling. I think you could make the argument that this book has a very libertarian or tea party bent, I think. I found it concerning that she takes this idea of judging people by their outer appearances, and even their geographic location over them as individuals, and I don’t really like that because I feel like that’s something YA readers are very vulnerable to because they haven’t been out in the world and don’t realize that people are people. This kind of encourages not looking at things that way, it encourages that “us vs. them”, xenophobic, aliens vs. normal people kind of thing. It’s not showing that’s a bad way to be. S: You even see that on a smaller scale in the Games. The tributes from each district can be clumped into “decent people” and “creepy people”. The ones that are most vicious and violent come from the ones that are the best of and most like the Capitol. The hard-working agrarian districts are the ones that have the people that are like the ones you would recognize. T: I’m just really bothered by the “nobility of poverty” notion. I’ve never thought that the nobility of character is something you associate with social strata and how much money you don’t have. You’re either a good person or not, and the rest is inconsequential. S: In a way I think it might have been more interesting if Katniss had come from a more wealthy district and had a more privileged life and then had to go into this situation and prevail. T: I definitely think that would have been a more interesting way to present the story, and I think it would have been even more interesting if she had come from that situation and been the decent, moral upstanding person that she is without being the proletariat. So overall, I definitely thought there were far more elements of this book that were problematic and outright failures than I thought were successful. Really the only thing I thought was successful about this book, and very successful at that, was the story an plotting itself. It’s compelling enough to make us want to keep reading this series to see how it turns out. There’s really very few other things in this book that have any redeeming qualities. S: I think we concluded that there were a lot of things that didn’t work in this book. AS much as we kept reading, so many of the twists and surprises were telegraphed very on in the book, and from our perspective were the kind of things you expect. T: We both made predictions early on in the first 15 -20 pages about how the book would end or how certain progressions would go and were both dead on. There was just a lack of subtlety. S: Yes, it was telling a story that doesn’t surprise. But maybe this was satisfying to some readers because it delivers what you expect. Regardless I think we both agreed that it will be interesting to see where Collins takes everything. Given that the next book won’t fixate around another round of the Hunger Games, it’ll be interesting to see how she develops things she has now laid the groundwork for. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 So there you have it! Clearly we didn’t full on love this one as most other readers have, but we are still planning to continue on! Wish us luck!

16 Comments

  1. 09/06/2010

    I agree with most of your criticisms (derivative plot, etc.). However, and I could be TOTALLY wrong, but I think the simplistic writing of (many) YA books makes the books accessible to more YAs. And I see that as good, because one hopes they say, hey, reading is fun! What else is out there?!!! I mean, how many YAs will read Dickens or Flaubert who aren’t, say, in the accelerated class?

    As for Katniss being a moron, well, all I can say is, this is a skill she fine tunes in Mockingjay! :–) And in Mockingjay, there are more holes and inconsistencies. Still, I thought the series was very fun, and I think it was because it took a pretty common plot (e.g., also The Lottery, one you also could have mentioned) and combined it with a coming of age theme. And, let’s face it, it’s a fast and easy read! Love those from time to time!

    But very good and thorough review, you two!!! Can’t wait to hear what you think of the rest of it!

  2. 09/06/2010

    I think you both bring up some interesting points. I loved The Hunger Games, but I was assuming Katniss would change and grow and become this awesome heroine. Instead, you’ll see that she stays pretty much the same through the three books. I’ll be really interested to see what you two think of the next two books. I thought Mockingjay was the worst of the three.

  3. 09/06/2010

    What an entertaining review! I’ve been putting off reading this, although I had every intention to until I started seeing people’s complaints last week about how the series ended. I was thinking already that I may just mark it off my list, now that I’m seeing your review about the start I’ll probably do just that. Too many excellent books out there!

    Regarding the writing and YA. I have no problem with prose that’s just serviceable in adult or YA fiction (although I prefer really great prose, of course), so that wouldn’t bother me here. But there are some YA and writers who are wonderful wordsmiths. Laurie Halse Anderson and Jacqueline Winspear are two that I’ve discovered in the past year. So it can be done, even if it isn’t done often.

  4. 09/06/2010

    The clunky writing was even clunkier in Mockingjay. It was painful at times!

    You two bring up some great points. One of the reasons I read Harry Potter was because of the humor, and the play on words. Rowling was very clever, especially with her names. I still haven’t forgiven Collins for naming someone in Mockingjay Lyme. That’s so not clever. It’s obnoxious.

    And if you two keep reading the series, we’re all in for some good times!

  5. 09/06/2010

    Interesting. As a writer myself with a long background in classics, I actually thought the writing in the first book was fantastic and very real for the voice of a 16 year old girl. I also though Katniss showed amazing depth of character, particularly as the books went on. I’ve read the book five times now…

  6. 09/06/2010

    @ rhapsody: You make a good point re: The Lottery – I have actually read it and yet forgot to mention it! Thanks for reminding me.
    Also, I do agree with you that simple writing can make YA novels more accessible for readers. Certainly this book would appeal to even people who are non-readers or weak readers.
     
    @ Trish: In some ways I suppose I would be less upset if Katniss didn’t grow much in the course of a single book, but I’m disappointed to hear you felt she stayed much the same throughout the series. Bummer!
     
    @ Teresa: I’ve seen a gamut of Mockingjay reviews – some seem to love it, some thought it was dreadful… I’m sure we’ll get to it eventually, so I guess we’ll see how we weigh in! You can vicariously experience the books through us!
    And I agree that there’s nothing wrong with serviceable writing in a book, but I think you’d definitely see that there are parts that are fairly painful in terms of basic construction… like frequent switches in tenses within a paragraph. Blech! And of course there are plenty of talented authors that tailor their works to the YA audience and manage to make their writing approachable for younger readers while managing to still infuse their work with style. Thanks for the suggestions… we’re always looking for new authors to try for our couple reads.
     
    @ softdrink: Hold on to your hat – we’re already on to Catching Fire! So far the prognosis for improved impressions is rather bleak… Should be a fun review though!
    And I agree that Collins’ names sometimes leave a bit to be desired. Some people have fairly normal ones, but others… yikes!
     
    @ Amanda: I know you’re a fan of this series and perhaps you’re in a better position to evaluate its writing as you do read more YA novels than either Tony or I do, that is for certain. I think that there are times when Katniss felt like a genuine 16 year-old, but I also felt her characterization was wildly inconsistent. I also felt like she kept making the same “mistakes” over and over again (for instance, continually finding Peeta inscrutable even though he couldn’t be more transparent), which felt more like Collins wanting to ratchet up dramatic tension rather than natural plotting.

  7. 09/07/2010

    How much fun! I love how you two review it together. My husband plans on reading The Hunger Games soon, so i can’t wait to see what he thinks about it.

  8. 09/07/2010

    My husband and I are listening to this series on audio, and are in the middle of Catching Fire. I think that the second book is a little more complex than the first, but there are some things that scream obvious at me as well. I totally agree that Katniss can be dense at times, and often my husband and I will look at each other and roll our eyes when she just doesn’t get it…again. I am not really sure about the writing, as I read little to no YA, but I do notice that things are a bit clunky at times in the narrative, and comparing it to Harry Potter, it does seem a bit simplistic. Overall though, I am enjoying this series and finding it to be very entertaining, which I think stems from the fact that I haven’t read many books with this particular plot structure. I don’t think I have read any of the other books you mentioned, nor seen the films, so this is a bit fresher to me. I am a little nervous about Mockingjay though, because I have heard that most people don’t really like it. I loved this joint review! You two really delved into the meat of the book and went beyond the superficial aspects of the story. I can’t wait to hear what you think about the other two!

  9. I loved The Hunger Games, but reading your comments I have to agree with all your criticisms – the writing wasn’t the best, they weren’t realistic sex-craving teenagers and the characters were pretty one-dimensional. Oh no – you’re persuading me it is terrible!

    I wasn’t a fan of the second book – the writing quality seemed much worse and the story line was terrible. I’ll be very interested to see what you make of it!

  10. 09/07/2010

    Steph, I didn’t read this post, because I have yet to read the book – its on my nightstand right now. However, I can’t wait to finish the book so I can read this review – looking forward to finding out your’s and Tony’s thoughts on this book that seems to be everywhere. Cheers!

  11. 09/08/2010

    @ Stephanie: We really need to review things together more often! It’s definitely a fun couple activity! 😉
     
    @ zibilee: We just finished Catching Fire last night – it hasn’t really changed our opinions about the books at all! It’s a fun series, but I feel like there are a lot of missed opportunities with it, but I think it’s fun having someone else to share it with as you go through the books (so you can vent your frustrations!). I am not going to buy Mockingjay because I don’t think I’ll ever read these books again, so who knows when we’ll get to read it… there are currently 111 holds on it at the local library!
     
    @ Jackie: I don’t think we feel this is a terrible series, just maybe not the best books ever written. They are certainly quick, fun reads, and I could see how they would appeal greatly to much younger readers, but to me they don’t have much re-read value and I feel like they Collins could have pushed the envelope more than she has. They feel a bit sloppy, but I guess Twilight showed us that it’s not finesse that sells!
     
    @ Nadia: This book really is everywhere, so I’m glad we finally have some understanding of what people are talking about (and can finally read all those posts)! I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts on this one when you get to it!

  12. 09/09/2010

    I find it kind of odd that you would say these books won’t set teens on fire for reading when clearly they have done just that. Same for Twilight. Same for Harry Potter. I am starting to feel weary of this idea that these popular books lack artistry or the people who read them must not be very smart or deep.

    I love these books. Is the aesthetic nature of the writing the best? Maybe not, but I never found it as dreadful as you do. As far as it being like reading a screen play…well yes. That’s the author’s background as well as the format of the book!

    I think there are quite a few ideas worth discussing in the books and I also think they can be understood on many levels. I do not, however, think they appeal to people who strictly love literary fiction, or at least not as something to be taken seriously as I do. And I do think Katniss experiences transformation in every book and in the series as whole.

  13. 09/09/2010

    @ Amy: I haven’t delved into the issue, so I have no idea how much cross-over there is, but I am not clear on how much teens are excited about these specific books vs reading in general. Do people who had never picked up a book until Twilight or The Hunger Games came around continue to read other books now that the series is done? Maybe they do, I don’t know, but I think it is one thing to be excited about a particular world that a book develops versus being so excited by the act of reading that you continue to seek out others.

    Regardless, I don’t think at any point we said people were dumb for liking these books. We see why they appeal – I mean, heck, we’ve tore through the first two books and will soon tackle the third, so obviously they’re compelling and engaging on some level. But even if people do love them with a fiery passion, I don’t think they’re without their faults, and I think those flaws are worth discussing, as well as why the books have been so popular and what ideas are interesting and merit further consideration. Obviously a book that prompts such passionate responses from its readers is a good thing!

    I still maintain it’s not well written though! As an adult reader, I find the plots pretty predictable which is a shame, because I think there were ways in which Collins could have avoided using certain stereotypes, and I do find the prose painful. But I appreciate that for a younger audience, there is some leeway here, and again, people read Dan Brown novels and that’s obviously not for the writing! Some books you do read just to escape or for the story, but I’m always going to talk about writing, because to me, that’s a huge part of storytelling. I place great important in which words are used, and the more I read, the more I get upset at perceived lack of care in writing, but that may just be my own personal hang-up! That said, I don’t mean to imply that having a good story isn’t important too. It is, and obviously Collins is very gifted at relating a narrative that people want to read!

    Anyway, thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts. You bring up a lot of good points that we would be remiss to overlook!

  14. […] The Hunger Games because I am looking for YA books for my daughter (Steph & Tony Investigate) […]

  15. 09/21/2010

    I appreciate all you’ve said here. Although I think you like it far more than I did! I pretty much despised it. And I’m with you on the writing, and the wondering how many of those teens that are “set on fire” with reading this series go on to keep reading lots of other books…

  16. 09/21/2010

    @ Rebecca: I’m actually really glad that more people are stepping up and saying that they don’t love these books. I mean they’re fine, I guess, but I don’t think they all that remarkable, and I suppose given all the hype I really expected more refined novels.

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