Let 'The Hunger Games' begin: Fans brace for the premiere

South Florida librarian Pamela Moore ordered nine more copies of "The Hunger Games" in January to accommodate interest in the book.

Two weeks ago, she ordered 36 more copies to add to the 64 copies the library currently owns.

"We had over 100 people on the waiting list," Moore said. "Suddenly, in March, it just went wild. It has to be the promos for the films. They look really good."

After months of hype, the film adaptation of "The Hunger Games" is finally here: The movie opens at midnight Thursday, giving eager fans the chance to see Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Cinna and the rest of the characters come to life on screen. "The Hunger Games" covers the first book in Suzanne Collins' dystopian trilogy, which depicts a society in which children, primped by stylists and costume designers, are forced to fight to the death on television. The book revolves around Katniss Everdeen, a girl who agrees to take her sister's spot in the games to spare her sister's life.

"The idea that kids my age and younger are forced into a life or death, kill or be killed situation is terrifying yet incredibly fascinating," wrote Alex Day, 19, in an email.

Collins, in a 2009 interview, said the idea for the series came to her one night when she was channel-surfing between reality shows and news coverage of the war in Iraq.

"On one channel, young people were competing for money. On the next channel, people were fighting for their lives. I was tired, and the ideas merged," she said.

Chris Cinquemani, the vice president for the Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank in Naples, said he enjoyed the series because of its portrayal of a society held hostage by an oppressive government.

"President Snow and his bureaucracy concentrate their authority by robbing economic opportunity, manufacturing class warfare among Districts, a steady stream of propaganda, and inducing fear among the citizens of Panem," he wrote in an email. "'The Hunger Games' is an entertaining and dramatic warning of what the future might be if freedom fails and government takes total control."

Cinquemani, 28, said the book also speaks to him as a young person.

"I have friends who are forced to live at home, who are underemployed. The economic opportunities aren't there," he said. "It is hitting people in their 20s hard. ... I can sense the tension and the approaching feeling of hopelessness. In 'The Hunger Games', that was a generational feeling until Katniss held out the berries. ... Katniss stood up ... I am hopeful people of my generation will pay attention to what's going on."

Moore said the book attracts both genders.

"Girls are really attracted by the strong female character Katniss. She grabs your attention right away. Her little sister is selected for the games and she steps in and takes her place," she said.

"Both girls and boys are attracted by the action. The books are very violent. I personally don't recommend them for the younger kids. The violence is not gratuitous, but it is there. ... There is a sheer will of these young people to survive. When some of them die, it is a real tug."

Kristie Reinert said she had no qualms about allowing her daughter, 11-year-old Sydney, to read the trilogy.

"It has a big message and I think it is a message that is serious and important to understand. It's a great book to talk about being responsible in life. The whole message about conservation, about being self-sufficient. ... There is the bigger picture about people helping people and being responsible," she said. "It's heavy, but it has a great message."

Sydney Reinert said she found the books interesting.

"I love the characters and I love how descriptive they are," she said. "I like how it is all the end of America. The future."

She relates to the character of Katniss and likes her personality and how she hunts, as well as the fact that "she's a daddy's girl." Sydney, who plans to see the movie adaptation of the book on Friday night with some of her fellow classmates, said she is excited to see the book come to life, particularly the training and the actual games.

Fifth-grader Brooke Gerber, 10, said her favorite character was fellow Hunger Games participant Rue.

"She's so small, but she's so careful and stuff," she said. "She doesn't betray Katniss. She is someone she can trust."

Brooke said she is planning to see the movie and is excited to see how they make Collins' words come to life.

"They're really good," she said of the books. "You don't know what is going to happen next. ... It's an amazing story."

Writer Kristie Cook, 40, who is the author of the Soul Savers Series, said she began reading the books two years ago and has passed them along to her teenage sons, who "hate to read, but they all read The Hunger Games."

"Suzanne Collins has done a great job of character development. They feel real. They are true to themselves. ... They are relatable, even though they are in this crazy situation," she said.

Scott Seger, the

general manager a north Naples theater, said 40 percent of the theater's screens will be dedicated to showing the film and more than 800 tickets have been sold for opening weekend.

"After midnight, we have eight screens that are dedicated just for the Hunger Games. We expect to have them all sold out," he said.

The Silverspot has been selling tickets for the movie since Feb. 22.

"People were asking for them prior to them going on sale," he said. "And we had tickets bought the first day they went on sale. There is a crowd out there who loves the series. It's really cool to see such an interest in a movie like this."

Day, who has his tickets for the midnight show in Atlanta — where he attends Emory University — said he is excited for the adaptation.

"I am very interested as to how they 'narrate' the movie as the book is told in first person and much of what the reader learns is through Katniss' own thoughts," he wrote.

Moore said when books, and the movies based on them, get popular, it is usually for a good reason.

"They have good storytelling, good characters," she said. "There's nothing really like The Hunger Games."

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