This has been one of my favorite reads so far! The Hunger Games is a young-adult science fiction novel written by Suzanne Collins. The main character is sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem. A powerful government working in a central city called the Capitol holds power. There are 12 districts and she is part of District 12. Sadly, this evil Capital chooses both a boy and girl (from each district) to participate in the Hunger Games each year to remind all the districts to stay “in line”/ don’t rebel. The Hunger Games is a televised, survivor type television show where children fight to the literal death. The living survivor wins respect, wealth, and honor. No one really wants to participate, but are required by law. When Katniss’ sister's name is drawn, Katniss gives herself in place of her dear sister who she loves. It seems Katniss doesn’t have a chance against the other districts…District 12 is poor and they never have a winner. However, Katniss is a survivor! She has had to take care of her family after her father dies and her mother falls into a depression. You will be rooting for Katniss every step of the way.
I do not love Science Fiction, but this book is so well written you can really see it happening. I think the author makes a lot of great underlying political statements as well- about government, war, and freedom. I am in the middle of the second book- it isn’t going quite as fast, but I think you will LOVE this one.
Sandra Brown is known for writing romance novels with explicit romantic scenes; however Rainwater is not a typical Sandra Brown novel. The setting takes place in 1934 Texas during the economic depression where racism is prevalent, the Dust Bowl/drought is an issue, and the setting portrays how one is perceived morally in a small town. Ella Baron is the a young, single mother who owns a boarding house and is raising a mentally disabled child- one who we later discover has autism (termed 'idiot savant' in the late 30s). Ella Baron is a survivor. She isn’t a peppy, happy character like so many authors chose for their characters, Ella is more realistic. She cares for those around her, and she does the best she can to make it work in hard times without complaint. The town encourages Ella to put her ten year old son Solly in a mental facility for the weak minded, but Ella refuses knowing that there is more to Solly than what he shows.
Mr. Rainwater comes to her boarding house by request of the doctor. Mr. Rainwater is dying and needs a comfortable place to stay the last days of his life. Ella keeps her distance from Mr. Rainwater, not even wanting to talk to him. One day Mr. Rainwater unlocks Solly’s potential through a game of dominoes, and from that point on he is able to show Ella that Solly does have a brilliant mind and can communicate, count, and memorize. (This part in this story was so realistic and touching because I have seen it happen in my classroom). Ella is so overcome and excited when she sees what Solly is beginning to do for Mr. Rainwater. They eventually fall in love, and teach each other to live and love. The book continues with other challenges and political issues of the time such as when Franklin D. Roosevelt's Drought Relief Program offers farmers financial help. It's a program formed of honorable intentions, yet it is not executed well. Though it's saving many people, the fact remains that not all of the herds are taken. Large numbers are being slaughtered and wasted, sometimes even half the herd. The main theme of this story is- If you ever get the chance to help someone in need or love someone in need, don't let it pass you by. This story was a quick read and extremely touching tale.