YA Trends

I just finished the second in Suzanne Collins’ series, The Hunger Games, entitled Catching Fire.  I enjoyed it well enough to read the third, which I will do after I read a couple adult fiction pieces intermittently.  Teaching 8th grade, I like to have the variety, and I share with my students the titles of whatever I am reading, minus the little boy books we read before bed.  I am withholding judgment on Collins’ series for the moment.  I commend her willingness to give the protagonist, a young girl, power and strength and beauty; however, I am unsettled by the violence of the crux of it all.  I have had parents of fifth graders ask me about new books I would recommend for their children because they are ready for advanced reading.  I hesitate to recommend Collins’ story because of the senselessness of the fighting and the desperation of the characters.  I know it is part of the reality, in some futuristic sense, of some of us.  But I guess I want the fantasy to have something to cling to, something positive that can soothe the sadness instead of fortify the severity of life.  I can concede the fact that some may read to find a world worse than their own, but many read to envision one better.