June 3, 2013: Read this again ... still adore it!!
May 26, 2012: And I thought that 50 Shades of Grey was controversial! This book is right up there with it, but just for other reasons.
Biggest reason? Because the author's editor called a reviewer a bitch. Is that right? Hell no. And the author and editor conspiring to "like" all of the reviews that gave the book 5 stars ... moral? Again, hell no. But here's my thing. I'm not going to hate a book just because the author or their editor or their dodgy neighbor down the street is rude to someone. I'm here to rate books, not become some kind of Book God that can thrust an entertaining book into a shame-filled book hell just because the people who are responsible for it have no manners.
Another reason it's so controversial is because of how similar it is to Hunger Games. And it's pretty similar - they are both in post-apocalyptic settings, there's a love triangle, there is a male stylist, a competition that parents thrust their children into, parents benefiting from their child being used in the contest, extravagant food and an annoying woman that is the girls'"handler". There's even a place where this is said, " ... we want to make them really pull for you. And that won't happen unless they can get to know you". Sounds a lot like what Katniss was told when she was getting ready for the games and was learning about sponsors.
All of that aside - and that may be too much for some perspective readers - it's a really cute book. The characters are lovable and the book is pretty well written. I mean, it's no Grapes of Wrath or Sense and Sensibility, but it's cute and entertaining. I really liked how the story progressed - no parts were lagging or boring or lacking, for that matter.
I don't think that the book deserves the flack that it's been given. You have to think, this is a book for young adults. Will they like it? Absolutely. I can't wait for the rest of the series. In hindsight, I should have waited until all of the series was out before I started on it so that I could read it all in one sitting, but I had to see what all of the fuss was about. Because of that, I'm going to be tortured until the others come out - I can't wait to see what happens next.
I would hate for someone to base whether they get this book on what others are saying. Just grab it, read the back of the book and form your own opinions instead of using someone else's to determine whether you would really like this book. You might be pleasantly surprised because I sure was!
I'll definitely read this again and again. Now hurry up with the rest of series!