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Hungry for the Hunger Games: Why We Need Dystopian Tales

We can't shelter young readers from the world's violence forever.

This weekend, Americans will finally find out whether the newest young-adult-book-turned-movie lives up to the fanfare. Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy attained vast popularity before the movie, and the addition of young, sexy Hollywood has only increased the mania.

Without having seen the movie, it's difficult to know how Hollywood treats the trilogy's gruesome violence—to put it lightly. Collins spares no detail in her description of the cold-blooded killing the central characters, all children, are forced into and at times enjoy. The trilogy is set in Panem, a nation that arose from the ashes of North America. Twelve districts are ruled by the all-powerful Capitol. Every year, as punishment for a rebellion, each district must send one boy and one girl to the Capitol for the Hunger Games—a fight to the death, with only one teenager left standing. (Think the Roman Coliseum with futuristic technology.) One teenager, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, has volunteered for the ...

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