Most people aren’t very comfortable in the woods, but the woods of Briery Swamp fit May Bird like a fuzzy mitten. There, she is safe from school and the taunts and teases of kids who don’t understand her. Hidden in the trees, May is a warrior princess, and her cat, Somber Kitty, is her brave guardian.
A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy–jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.
In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
Comments: This series remains one of the few series’ (books and movies) where death seems so real to me, and for that I applaud the author. It seems like such a possibility, in real life as well as the books. We as teenagers think we are immortal, but that is not the case. We are very, very mortal, and forcing us to kill each other in the Games helps us realize that. We only have one life to live. It is so easy to break us. Humans are fragile. Death is cruel.
Comments: This may have been the first book I read that introduced the idea of sacrifice in such a real way. As Harry walks through the school and the grounds, mentally saying goodbye to everything/one and preparing for his own death, that was when I truly realized how hard it would be to sacrifice yourself and how little of a choice you’d have. It was real. Some people say suicide is an act of fear. But it is actually an act of great bravery. ‘I died so that you might live.’ Just think about that statement for a minute. One life in exchange for another. In the end, does it really matter? Do I care if you’re living if I’m dead? And we’re all going to die anyway. That’s also what makes it hard.
For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their warrior ancestors. But the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger, and the sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying–and some deaths are more mysterious than others. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary house cat named Rusty . . . who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.
Comments: This is a MG series, but I will never stop raving about it. (Plus it’s about cats :D) So one of these books marks the first time a book ever caused me to become so emotionally wrecked that I could not stop crying (and this was in elementary school). The deaths in these books are harsh. And quite frequent. I wouldn’t say unnecessarily frequent, but they do happen a lot. You kind of have to detach yourself a little to save your nerves. Anyway, these books treat death as if it’s a sort of everyday thing, and in the world of animals, it is. Death happens all the time. Using the sentiment described in Daughter of Smoke & Bone (a completely unrelated book by Laini Taylor), a thing can be, and in the next second it can simply not be. It was, and then it unwas. Such as a frog eating a fly. The act itself is a little more heartwrenching in the series, but the idea is the same. Death happens. We can try to avoid it, but in the end, it will be the end of all things for one creature and the rest of the world goes on until it’s their turn. It’s a bit cynical, but it’s true.