Hunger Games provides fix for fans suffering from Twilight withdrawal

by Marissa Visci
The final Harry Potter film has come and gone and the Twilight saga is drawing to a close, leaving a void in the hearts of devoted fans left asking, “Now what?”
Luckily, Suzanne Collins’s bestselling Hunger Games trilogy is poised to fill their shoes. With the March 23 release of the first movie fast approaching, the post-apocalyptic adventure trilogy is shaping up to be the next major fantasy franchise; some are going so far as to call the phenomenon “the new Twilight.” But, while it’s true the two have a lot in common,  The Hunger Games has its own unique merits—among them a strong, feminist heroine and a science fiction plot rooted in reality.
Set in a dystopian North America called Panem, The Hunger Games is a gritty exaggeration of today’s media frenzy and social apathy. Ruled by a greedy totalitarian Capitol, the nation has been divided into 12 districts, each of which must supply two children to compete in the annual Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death. When her younger sister is chosen, Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old from District 12, volunteers in her place and finds herself thrown into the arena, fighting both for her life  and her identity.
The parallels to Twilight are unmistakable: both novels are written in present tense from the point of view of a teenage girl and feature remarkably similar love triangles. But while Twilight has been criticized for its often passive heroine Bella, who spends months wallowing in self-pity after a break-up, The Hunger Games’s Katniss is the anti-Bella, shrewd and lethal. In The Hunger Games, the plot is driven primarily by action, not its love triangle. “The Hunger Games is [like] nothing I have ever read before,” said senior Jackie Batts, “Twilight is the typical romance type thing.”
Perhaps the biggest draw of Hunger Games is the resemblance Katniss’s world bears to our own. “It’s hard to pinpoint what I love about The Hunger Games,  but I really liked how realistic it is,” said junior Kat Minski. “I could see this happening in the future.”
On her website, Collins cites modern-day war coverage and reality television as her inspirations for the trilogy. Unlike Twilight or Harry Potter, the plot is far from fantasy; frighteningly enough, it seems like a possible if not probable image of our future.