The Hunger Games owes its success to me

I recently read this fascinating article over at Salon.com entitled The Making of a Blockbuster detailing crucial early publisher and bookseller efforts to push THE HUNGER GAMES.

Since the movie comes out this Thursday (here in Germany at least), and I have my pre-ordered tickets in hand, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and tell you all about my experience fangirling and evangelizing THE HUNGER GAMES.

I first heard about the book the first day of August 2008.  Back in those early days of my book blogging (I started reviewing books on Presenting Lenore in April 2008), I used to frequent contest boards, hoping to score advance reader copies (ARCs), which were much less plentiful to book bloggers then.  I happened upon a contest from Scholastic giving away 100 copies of THE HUNGER GAMES - and my immediate thought was: "This is going to be HUGE".  I had to have this book.  Unfortunately, the contest had already closed, so being the cheeky newbie blogger I was, I e-mailed a Scholastic rep begging for a copy on August 3, 2008.

Fortunately, the Scholastic rep met my groveling with enthusiasm and sent out a copy to my US address.  I pestered my dad about it every day until it arrived and made him send it to me to Germany immediately.  It finally arrived on August 22, 2008 and I tore through it in one day.  I reviewed it on my blog on September 5, 2008.

And then I told everyone about it.  I made my husband read it, who in turn made sure all four of his brothers read it once the German translation came out.  We bought many copies as birthday and Christmas gifts. I even chose it for my book club even though up until then we'd only read adult titles.  (By now, nearly everyone I know has read it, including my father who had never read YA before and my reluctant reader step-sister)

When I heard Suzanne Collins was going to be signing CATCHING FIRE at Book Expo America 2009, I knew I had to get to NYC that May.  My Friend Amy and Booking Mama will recall hightailing it to the Javits at 5 am in the rain with me to stand in the ticket line for CATCHING FIRE.  We were that obsessed.

I read CATCHING FIRE on the rooftop of a Barcelona hotel sipping cocktails. My heart was pounding the entire time: would it live up to the hype I had created in my head for it?  Though I didn't love it as much as the first book, it was still one of my favorite books of 2009, (My CATCHING FIRE review) and it left me dying for MOCKINGJAY.

Largely due to my rabid fandom, I was chosen to be a part of the official 13 District Blog Tour in August 2010 for the launch of MOCKINGJAY.  As the rep from District 10, I offered a HUNGER GAMES playlist and a very special iPod Touch.  It probably comes to no surprise to you that this post is my all-time most visited with over 10,000 page views to date. I wasn't the first to review MOCKINGJAY (darn German mail system), but at the time, I gave it 4/5 Zombie Chickens. (I'd be more likely to give it less chickens these days - it's by far my least favorite of the books).

And now we come to the movie, the soundtrack (my favorite song so far is Abraham's Daughter by Arcade Fire), and the endless merch (um... who needs a Peeta pillowcase?!)  I'm preparing for the movie by reading this HUNGER GAMES make-up tutorial by Forever Young Adult.  How about you?

What was your HUNGER GAMES journey?  I'd love to hear all about it!






8 comments:

Linda Jackson said...

Hi Lenore,
My journey is not as big a deal as yours. (Guess that goes without saying). But I'll share it with you anyway.

I had been hearing the buzz about the book, but it didn't sound like anything I'd want to read. Then while Christmas shopping last year (yes, 2011), a copy was practically smiling at me at Wal-Mart, begging me to buy it and put it in my twelve-year-old's stocking. So I did.

After Christmas, she began reading it, book-marked it, left it alone. My seventeen-year-old began reading it, book-marked it, left it alone. My forty-five-year-old self began reading it, barely book-marked it, because I barely left it alone. It was one of the best books I had ever read!!!

The twelve-year-old still hasn't read it, but the older one picked it up again last week (because she wants to see the movie). She, like me, barely needed a bookmark. She read it in two days.

And that's my Hunger Games story. :)

LM Preston said...

Wowsa! You did help. Me however, I just read, reviewed and shared the book. All of them.

Amy @ My Friend Amy said...

You are the reason I read the book I'm pretty sure. And aw such tender memories of waiting to get Catching Fire tickets. :)

Mary-Sweet Bookshelf said...

Oh, I love this!!!

OK, so my sister was reading on Stephenie Meyers website about a new book--not yet out--that she was crazy about. The Hunger Games. So, she picked it up on release day in 2008. She read it in one sitting and called me in Scotland going crazy. I got on Amazon and read the first chapter, but the book wasn't coming out for 6 more months in the UK. My sister shipped it priority to me in Oct 2008.

LOVED IT. Period. Oh my goodness! I spent the next yr re-reading it more times than I can count and contemplating what would happen in Catching Fire. I asked off work so I could read in peace, and I was there at my local book store the minute they opened. Catching Fire is still my favourite of the triology.

I didn't like Mockingjay. At all. I miss my Peeta.

Oh, and I totally need me a Peeta pillowcase!!!!!!!!!

I kind of feel proud that I'm one of the original Hunger Games fans of 2008!!!! We helped create the phenomenon!!!!

Gennifer Albin said...

I was writing Crewel and a friend started badgering me to read the books. So I eventually gave in. Lucky me, all three were out at the time, so I devoured them all in 2 days, passing them onto my husband and staring at him impatiently until he finished. We were both blown away and I don't even know how many people we recommended it to, but it's been a lot. We also gave it to our younger cousins for Christmas this year.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Thanks for sharing your stories! So exciting to see how other fans found their way to the books.

Beth F said...

Like Amy, I'm pretty sure I started the series because of you! I couldn't make it into BEA that early and missed out on the standing in line for Catching Fire.

Shelver 506 said...

Sometime in 2010/11, a college friend of mine started raving about this book that she couldn't put down. In fact, even her boyfriend, who hated to read, couldn't wait for the third book! Unfortunately, she didn't describe it well, so my reaction was "meh."

I don't remember what made me pick up the first book. It was just sort of there, and I'd heard about it from a few other people, so whatever.

I was blown away. I immediately (and I do mean IMMEDIATELY) found my sister and shoved the book into her hand. "READ THIS," I said.

She tore through the books and loved them. I, however, had exams, so Catching Fire and Mockingjay were my post-finals treat. Catching Fire was good but frustrating. Mockingjay was another story. I was so mad that I swore off the books and threatened to NEVER see the movie.

But as news trickled out about casting and such, I began to pay attention. Anger turned into acceptance as I acknowledged that the ending chosen was really the only realistic, logical one I could come up with.

Then I started working in a bookstore and have spent literally nearly every shift hand-selling the books.

I plan to see the movie next week.