I did it! For the third year in a row, I hit 50 books. The last two years I went over 50, the first year by 10 and the next year by 21; I don’t know how many I’ll go over by this year. I haven’t been reading a whole lot recently, which bugs me. Actually, I’ve been reading consistently, but instead of consuming entire books in one gulp I’ve been mostly nibbling, reading a few pages here and there when I have the time, and prioritizing other things–revising AUT, writing MB, working at my day job, and that ubiquitous New York past time: Going Out.

On Friday, when I had lunch with my editor, I told her that I was feeling uninspired by what I was reading lately. This is not to say that what I’m reading isn’t spectacular–it is–but that I’ve been missing that feeling you have when a book gets under your skin, gets its talons in you and won’t let go until you’ve read the whole thing.

Well, I’m happy to say that yesterday I finished two books–The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, one of Agatha Christie’s best, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

You guys? The Hunger Games was AMAZING. I mowed through it in five hours, and enjoyed every minute of it. Hands down, best YA I’ve read all year, not to mention one of the best books I’ve read all year. I could not put it down. It’s high-concept and fast-paced, the characters are great, and everything is perfectly executed. If anyone ever asks me which book I wish I’d written, this would be it.

Let me calm down for five seconds and explain to you what The Hunger Games is all about:

Katniss Everdeen is a sixteen-year-old girl living in the twelfth District of Panem, the country that replaced the United States. Panem has a bloody history–long ago, before anyone who is alive can remember, the thirteen Districts of Panem revolted against the rich, powerful Capitol at the nation’s center and, though they have long been beaten and subjugated under the Capitol’s iron thumb, each year they are annually punished for the rebellion with the Hunger Games, a televised competition to the death between twenty-four children (ages 12-18), a boy and a girl from each District.

Katniss has been taking care of her mother and little sister, Prim, ever since her beloved father died in the mines that provide District 12 with its industry years before. Katniss is strong and resourceful, hunting illegally and trading her game at the black market like a pro. She is nearly her family’s sole provider, but when her twelve-year-old sister is chosen via lottery to compete in the Hunger Games, she steps forward and volunteers herself in Prim’s place. The District’s other “tribute”, Peeta Mallark, is a boy Katniss’ age who once showed her an unforgettable kindness. Along with their drunken mentor, Haymitch, the only tribute from District 12 ever to win the Hunger Games, Peeta and Katniss develop a strategy that might help one of them win–or get them both killed.

Doesn’t that sound totally awesome?! And it is. It SO is. The only bad part about The Hunger Games is that it’s the first in a series and I WANT MORE. It was probably a bad idea to read it so soon after it came out, because now I have to wait, what, a year and a half for the next installment? Blurgh. Patience has never been one of my best virtues.

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