The next great young-adult movie franchise is already giving some sparkly, angst-ridden vampires a run for their money. Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" book trilogy has already caught fire among a wider demographic of readers, and the movie – opening Friday -- is poised to break opening weekend records set by "Twilight."
Entertainment Weekly once drew the obvious comparison between Collins' series and Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" novels about Bella and the vampire and werewolf who fight over her.
I'll go a step further: The "Hunger Games" is so much better. So Cari Rerat, teen librarian for the Joplin, Mo., Public Library, helped me out with some of the reasons that the competitors in the "Hunger Games" will devour those sparkly bloodsuckers.
Better story: "Hunger Games" is set in a world where the people of 12 districts scattered across what used to be North America lost a war against the ruling country Panem. Every year, two teens from each district must fight to the death in the Hunger Games, a bizarre mashup of sports and reality TV that passes for entertainment. Yeah, it sounds like "Running Man," but it’s a lot more intriguing than the old vampire vs. werewolf angle.
Better lead female: Katniss Everdeen, the series’ heroine, is no Bella. After her little sister is chosen for the Hunger Games, she volunteers to take her place. She’s a deadeye with a bow and arrow, she can think on her feet and she shows plenty of emotions in choosing who she protects and who she kills.
That makes her more superhero than heroine. By comparison, Bella is just a damsel in distress. In other words, Katniss kicks butt, while Bella falls on hers.
"Readers want to be Katniss because she's amazing and can save herself," Rerat said. "Readers want to be Bella because she's being fought over by two hunky guys."