Review: ‘The Girl Who Was on Fire’ by Leah Wilson (Editor)

by Kim on May 11, 2011 · 13 comments

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Title: The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy
Author: Leah Wilson, Editor
Genre: Nonfiction
Year: 2011
Acquired: From the publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆

Review: I’m at a loss for writing a summary for The Girl Who Was on Fire, so the description from the back of the book will just have to suffice for now:

Katniss Everdeen’s adventures may have come to an end, but her story continues to blaze in the hearts of millions worldwide.

In The Girl Who Was on Fire, thirteen YA authors take you back to Panem with moving, dark, and funny pieces on Katniss, the Games, Gale and Peeta, reality TV, survival, and more.

  • How does the way the Games affect the brain explain Haymitch’s drinking, Annie’s distraction, and Wiress’ speech problems?
  • What does the rebellion have in common with the War on Terror?
  • Why isn’t the answer to “Peeta or Gale?” as interesting as the question itself?
  • What should Panem have learned from the fates of other hedonistic societies throught history — and what can we?

If anything in that description sounds at all interesting to you, go and get yourself a copy of this book because it easily delivers on the premise.

The Girl Who Was on Fire is what I’d consider “literary criticism light” — it’s not so theoretical that it’s dense or hard to read, but it’s not simple enough that I’d already considered all of the arguments in the essays. I really enjoyed exploring the series again through a more critical lens, a lens that I couldn’t find myself when I read and reread the books. They’re so gripping, it’s easy to lose yourself in the stories.

My one disappointment with the collection is that a not-insignificant number of the essays focused on or mentioned extensively the connections between the Hunger Games and reality television. It’s not that the essays were bad, just that I think those connections are more obvious than some of the other essays which talked about the politics of Panem, the connections between fashion and rebellion, and the characterization of Katniss herself.

On the whole though, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I read through it in just a couple of days, and I’m planning to check out a number of the other books in BenBella Books Smart Pop book series. If you miss The Hunger Games, I think The Girl Who Was on Fire is a worthwhile way back to the story.

Other Reviews: The Reading Zone | Books and Movies | Presenting Lenore | 5 Minutes for Books | The Zen Leaf |

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

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