Sara's Reviews > Gregor the Overlander

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
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Apr 24, 12

bookshelves: written-by-women
Read in April, 2012

The positive: Suzanne Collins does her now-trademark "examination of the ways violence, war, and poverty affect children, while also talking about the loss of parents and the importance of not judging others based on first impressions," at her usual breakneck speed, with her usual straightforward style. And, oh yeah, she writes one of the least-annoyingly-cloying two-year-olds I've ever read, and makes me cry like said two-year-old (view spoiler). Also the sequel hook is adorably slipped in there at the end, and Gregor's development is beautifully dealt with. Also also, Gregor and his family are not white, and it's noted repeatedly, which I love because I'm trying to build a list in my head of kids' and teens' books with nonwhite protagonists for future recc. use.

The negative: I appreciated that Collins used Gregor's dad to talk about the experiences of POWs and war veterans, but I felt like it was sort of fumbled in places. Collins isn't an artistic or fancy writer, so the prose is workmanlike (but successful). It's a kids' book, not Hunger Games redux, so the plot is simpler and the prophecy is obvious (well, obvious to me and anyone else who reads Redwall and The Dark is Rising and other prophecy-heavy kids' books).

The summary: A really wonderful story, one I'm glad I read and would recommend to anyone, really.
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Jacki When I first read the blurb for Hunger Games, I honestly said, "Eff this, there are no giant rats in this!" and didn't read it until a friend told me I had to so we could discuss it.

You know, I think one reason people did not read Rue as non-white in Hunger Games is that Collins doesn't actually write race, she just writes description and then the characters act like all the other little white kids in children's books. I don't remember her ever saying that Boots and Gregor were not white, but apparently she does several times! But, they don't act like their race/culture has any effect on them, so I think they read as neutrally raced. It seems like class is all that really matters to Collins, not race.

Don't judge the prophecies until you finish the series! They get annoyingly hokier as it goes on, but there's a point to their silliness.


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