And now Markelle will tell us why she likes The Hunger Games!!
When I started reading The Hunger Games and realized there was a love triangle brewing, I immediately thought I would be Team Gale. I’ve always gone for the best friend types in books. I was Team Puck for the Iron Fey series, Team Seth for the Wicked Lovely series, Team Miles for the Fallen series, even Team Jacob for the Twilight Saga. The list goes on and on. So naturally I was ready to add Gale to this already lengthy list. Why? Because the male best friend in Young Adult novels is usually supportive, devoted, comical, and natural to be around. They are always there for the main character – even when she doesn’t know it. The way feelings change from “friendly” to “something more” is really intriguing to me.
About halfway through the first book I ran into a dilemma. I was really liking Peeta. He was everything the best friend should be, but more because he and Katniss weren’t even close until they were forced to fight for their lives in a deadly arena. He was supportive and devoted before they were even friends and he did everything he could to protect her even when he technically wasn’t supposed to. Only one tribute was supposed to survive and instead of focusing on himself, Peeta went out of his way to make sure Katniss survived. You have to admit that’s pretty amazing. “The Boy with the Bread” was more than just a “first love” or “sudden attraction,” like the leading male character is often portrayed when put up against the best friend type in Young Adult novels. His relationship with Katniss actually progressed like a friendship before it blossomed into attraction. I loved that! Peeta was just like a best friend type. He loved Katniss, but she kept him at a safe distance (well, when she wasn’t trying to get presents from sponsors) as she struggled to realize her true feelings. In a way, the situation was similar to other Young Adult novels when the best friend is waiting for the female lead to notice them. The end of the first book was a letdown because she didn’t realize soon enough that Peeta was perfect!
Before I continue, let me say that Catching Fire was my favorite book of the series. Why? Because I had no idea what to expect. Every page was a surprise for me and I’m usually good with predictions. I was just blown away by the entire plot and when they learned about the 75th Hunger Games and there was all that tension and suspense…okay, back to the Teams. In the beginning, I decided to give Gale another chance. The kiss he and Katniss shared obviously meant something. For most of the book I was actually torn between Gale and Peeta. They were both equally wonderful and I think we can all agree that at times Katniss didn’t deserve either one of them. But toward the end when Katniss and Peeta were out facing danger again, I realized why I had chosen Peeta in the first place. He was everything Katniss needed. He was light where she was dark, he was gentle where she was strong, he was supportive where she was determined…they just complemented each other in every way possible. And I know sensitivity isn’t what a girl looks for first in a guy, but come on, he survived the Hunger Games, so I think he proved himself quite enough.
By Mockingjay I was wholly Team Peeta. Gale had pretty much accepted that Katniss was on that side as well, so there wasn’t much push and pull. But I loved the way Katniss and Peeta interacted throughout the novel. There was real feeling and passion between them. Experiencing that emotion as I read made the book excellent in my eyes. And I absolutely loved Peeta’s ride on the dark side of things. It was an interesting spin on his character development.
I know a lot of people disliked the way Mockingjay ended, but I am very pleased with how everything turned out. Gale went off somewhere (not much of a best friend, huh?) and Katniss and Peeta reunited and created their own little family. The end was realistic and bittersweet. It wasn’t the run-of-the-mill happy ending. Nothing would ever be the same for either of them, how could it be? They had lost so much and had been damaged in so many ways. But they eventually found each other through the pain and destruction, and that left me with a good feeling. Team affiliations aside, I can’t wait to see how the two relationships play out in the movies.