Fantasy: “Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire” both by Suzanne Collins

Another fantastic duo, I would recommend these just as highly as the Kristin Cashore books, but note that they are very, very different.

The dystopian universe here is almost Dickensian in its shadings (although with fewer of the finer details) and it definitely makes you, the reader, long for escape for these characters, for survival, for even just the littlest bit of hope.

Unexpectedly cruel with odd kindnesses. And, as in much YA, some growing up and self discovery along the way.

An adventure of endurance… You’ll want to block off a day for these as you will find yourself unable to do anything else.

And if you’ve read the story “Wealth” in Margo Langan’s “White Time” collection, it almost seems like they come from the same world. In fact, I drove myself insane for an entire afternoon trying to figure out where that story was from as they felt so much of a piece.

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