Thursday, June 30, 2011

Characters You Love

I just returned from vacation (notice the post on Thursday this week instead of Wednesday).  While I was gone I had the chance to read a few YA and MG books.  One of those was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

There's a lot that could be said about The Hunger Games.  I'm going to focus on characters.  Before I read the book I knew everything (okay, almost everything) that happened in the story.  I knew the characters, plot, and even the ending.  Still, I was glued to the book.  Why?  Two reasons: the characters and the pace.  This post is about characters. 

I absolutely fell in love with Katniss and Peeta.  Days after I read their story I have found myself thinking about them.  I've also thought about what made them memorable.  Here's a short list of the characteristics I think made them so addictive: 

* Believable.  Need I say more?
* Heroic.  Both Katniss and Peeta saved people in the story.  Each time, their heroism came with personal peril.
* Fallible.  They both made dumb choices.  As I read it I cringed and thought, "No, don't do/say that!"  But if they hadn't, their characters would have been less believable and the story less riveting. 
* Show Real Emotions.  If I were Katniss, I would feel a lot.  In fact, I'd be an emotional roller-coaster.  Collins did a great job showing those emotions and showing how Katniss tried to hide them.
* Timeless Interactions.  Friendship, love, hate, dependence, and those people that just make you want to hit them.  It doesn't matter if the story takes place centuries in the future or in a New York high school.  These interactions are relationships that everyone can relate to because everyone feels them.

What do you think makes characters so real you have to read their stories?


KarenG said...

I really like the character of Katniss. I enjoyed Hunger Games immensely, but Mockingjay? meh.

Carla said...

Karen, I completely agree! And what about those wasps?! Still, I loved Katniss and enjoyed The Hunger Games!


Kenda said...

I look for characters who make me care--about them, and about what happens to them. And (confession time)I'm one of the few who haven't read Hunger Games yet--but after reading your endorsement, I think maybe I should! Thanks :-)

Carla said...

Kenda, Here's my confession: Knowing the story beforehand actually helped me enjoy the book more...I have a hard time reading intense violence, so knowing what would happen was important for me. And I did really care about Katniss and Peeta! ;)


Laura Marcella said...

I agree! Characters are my favorite part of novels. I can overlook a lackluster plot if the characters are dynamic.

The Hunger Games was great! I haven't read the 2nd or 3rd one yet though. I've been waiting for them in paperback, but two years later there's still no word. Very annoying! Maybe because it's now a film for next year so they're trying to get as much money as possible from the hardbacks. Sigh.

Corey Schwartz said...

I wonder what you think of book 3? I loved HG and CF, but I had huge issues with Mockingjay. Don't want to say more because I don't want to give anything away, but hopefully, you'll post about it once you've gotten through it.

Carla said...

Laura, I agree that characters can save a least for me!

Corey, I don't actually plan on reading the least not at this point. I already know most of the story and I'm afraid I won't like it as much as the first. Time and rave reviews can certainly change my mind, but I haven't actually talked to anyone yet who liked it as much as the first one. I don't know...I have a lot of books to read that I'm really excited about, so at this point it's going to have to wait.


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