A Dystopian Comparison


Katherine Clardy, Associate Editor

Imagine that you walk into a book store, looking for a new read. You pick up a book of the shelf with a dark cover and start flipping through it. The book is about a young teen who is forced to fight in a deadly set of games for the purpose of entertainment and keeping peace. You set the book down to look for another option. This time, you pick up a book with a bright blue cover and take a glimpse into it. This story is about dozens of teen girls in a competition to marry the prince of their country and to become princess. You close it and evaluate your two options. They both seem very different from each other. They couldn’t possibly have anything in common, right? Wrong.

Our first book is “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. The story focuses on Katniss Everdeen, a spunky 16-year-old girl who lives in a dystopian set country called “Panem.” Their government requires an annual “Hunger Games”, a competition between 24 teens between the ages of 12-18, also known as tributes, where they must fight to the death to produce one victor. The system was created in order to maintain peace throughout the districts of Panem. When its time to announce the tributes for the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss’s younger sister is chosen. Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place, resulting in her being flown to the Capitol and prepped for the Hunger Games, where she will either come out on top against 23 other teens, or die trying.

The second option is “The Selection” by Kiera Cass. We meet a 17-year-old girl named America Singer and her country, the Kingdom of Illea, which is divided into castes. If you’re in the caste marked One, you’re royalty. Twos work in the palace, Threes are celebrities, Fours are just average people, Fives have to have all men in the house work, Sixes struggle to feed their families, Sevens are barely hanging on, and Eights are dirt poor. America is a Five, and secretly dating Aspen Leger, who is a Six. Aspen becomes discouraged that he will not be able to provide for America if they get married, and encourages her to enter The Selection, a highly competitive event where 35 girls from the country try to win the prince’s heart. She eventually signs up and is chosen as one of the 35, and she enters a new life at the palace. Resenting the Prince at first, she stays miserable and wants to go home. But she eventually falls for the prince, and realizes that if she wins, she could produce major changes in the country.


Although both books have a headstrong female hero, a cute, blonde love interest and a futuristic country, they share a much deeper story than just that. Katniss Everdeen sparks a revolution in Panem when she refuses to play by the rules of the Hunger Games, resulting in her fighting forces against the President. America Singer inspires the lower castes of the kingdom to fight back and take back their worth, she suggests changes and protocols that the power-hungry king hates. She joins forces with a northern rebellion and changes the tracks the country is going on. Both of these stories express a rebellion, and show that it is important to fight for what you believe in. I feel like the Hunger Games delivers this message more thoroughly, from the start Katniss is always fighting against the government system. She knows what she wants and does a great job of convincing whoever reads to agree with her. For America, there is the constant struggle with what she has come to know her entire life, that things are unfair, and what her future could possibly hold, becoming the princess of the nation. I believe you also feel more sympathy for Katniss because she does everything selflessly and cares about every person around her.

One book stars a huntress, and the other a soon-to-be princess, they both express important life lessons and a strong message that is valuable to anyone willing to listen.