Those who know me will tell you that I hate scary movies. I've been this way as long as I can remember. Ghost gave me nightmares for weeks. Just the sight of a photo from The Walking Dead sends me into a tailspin. I am petrified of vampires, but somehow watch Vampire Diaries with my eyes partially covered (sorry, but who can resist Ian Somerholder?) I don't watch or read anything about the apocalypse, end times or movies that deal with 2012.

The best example I can give you of how fears have put a choke hold on me took place when I was eleven. (My good friend Joyce still talks about the story I'm about to tell you to this day.) The day that lives in infamy is the one when I ran crying from the theater during the movie Goonies. Yes, Goonies, the movie about a group of kids going on a treasure hunt--and I love pirates, so what was I thinking walking out like that??? Embarrassing but true, but when Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Sean Astin and the gang headed into the attic during a thunder storm and found a treasure map that could save their house, I started to panic. What if there were ghosts or zombies or something awful in that attic? Or on the adventure they were about to take? Instead of waiting the scene out, I ran up the aisle as fast as my legs would take me and tearfully called my grandmother and asked her to pick me up. My mother stayed with Joyce, her mom, and both of our YOUNGER siblings. I was mortified, but convinced I had done the right thing. No nightmares for me!

It wasn't till the movie came out on DVD a year later that I realized how foolish I had been. The flick wasn't scary at all! I've never lived down what happened that day. Joyce even bought me a Goonies tshirt for my birthday a few years back.

Which brings me to today's blog point: sometimes we box ourselves into thinking a certain way and don't give something potentially incredible a chance. Since I hate scary movies, you can understand why I don't like frightening books. I like books that make me laugh and think. I don't do anything remotely upsetting, which is why when author Elizabeth Eulberg (of the brilliant Prom and Prejudice and The Lonely Hearts Club) suggested I read The Hunger Games, I almost fell off the hotel room bed.

We were away on a mini book tour and we talked so much those few days I lost my voice. Of course the topic of books came up. I suggested passionately that she read The Help, which I completely loved. She suggested a post-apocalyptic story about a girl forced to fight other teens to their deaths.

There was NO WAY I was reading something like that.

I had heard about the books, of course, and I knew everyone loved them, but they were never something I would even consider reading. But after Elizabeth brought the books up, they started popping up in my life on a regular basis! All the girls at my Beach Bag Book Club swore by them and would not stop talking about Peeta and Gale (I was like, "Who???"). Elizabeth asked a few times if I had given them a shot. Friends started reading the books and wouldn't stop talking about them. Then I was at the beach a few weeks back, and I kid you not, at least six different people I ran into were carrying one of those darn books. I started to feel wildly out of the loop. Was I missing out on something fun and exciting a la Goonies because I was letting my fear get the best of me?

So I did it. I picked up The Hunger Games...and I couldn't put the first book down for two days. I ignored my husband. I read on the elliptical trainer. I had reading time with the kids so that I could get through a chapter. And I read for hours in the evening. In two days, I was done and racing to Barnes and Noble to get Catching Fire. Same thing happened--I read brushing my teeth, blowdrying my hair. The story was electric, fast-paced and heart-pounding. Scary? Maybe. Teens are fighting each other to the death. But as I read, the post-apocalyptic background fell away and all I could think about was how much I adored Katniss with all her strength, and Peeta with all his love and humanity left intact in this very bleak world. I'll admit Mockingjay was a bit tougher for me--it was scary, and harsh and violent,and included all the things that scare me (plus some new horrors I hadn't even thought of) but it takes place during a war, and war is never pretty. I was pretty depressed by the end of that third book, but was I disappointed? No. Not every book can be happy. I realize that now. Suzanne Collins made me care about these characters and this world I never would have entered if others hadn't pushed me to try it. Almost a week later, I can't stop replaying certain scenes, and moments with characters in my head. That is the mark of a great book--a phenomenal series--and maybe, just maybe, The Hunger Games will inspire me to keep breaking out of this box I've put myself into and try other new genres as well.

But zombies? They're still on a definitive "no" list and will be for life.[image error]
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Published on August 03, 2011 10:26 • 395 views

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message 3: by Natalie (last edited Aug 16, 2012 01:44AM) (new)

Natalie I have to agree. I'm not much of a horror movie gal myself. I hate scary movies..anything that has to do with Zombies, the devil, ghosts..I'd prefer not to look at. But strangely enough, i decided to give Insidious a chance and yes, i was jumping in every direction you could point to, covering my ears on certain parts so i didn't have to hear that creepy music they put on, and covering my eyes on the parts that i thought something would happen, but i got through the movie and i realized that even though i was scared, it wasn't a bad scared, i didn't have that regret i usually get after watching scary movies. It was thrilling, interesting, as much as i was scared, i also didn't want to stop watching. I don't know how to describe it, but it was a different feeling. I was happy i gave it a chance, and i loved everything about the movie. The storyline, the characters, it was all so creative. NO. I wouldn't want to live in it, obviously, but i did enjoy it. I'm glad something's in movies..stay in movies (: And it's the same with books (: Some are happy some are sad. I got into reading this summer. I've been reading all summer, and i must say, i love it. I love the feeling of getting so into the book, it feels like you're the character. Your book..Sleepaway Girls..was absolutely amazing. I couldn't put it down! So, thank you for sharing your stories with the world! I'm looking forward to reading more (:

message 2: by Jen (new)

Jen Calonita Hi Jenna!
I love hearing that you're reading YA at 32 because I am 38, and while I might be biased because I write YA, that's what I read in my free time too! I just love it.
Thanks for passing my blog along to your mom!

message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer What a fabulous review. I have been trying my damndest to get my mother to read The Hunger Games, who is just as afraid of reading them as you were. I'll show her this review, maybe it will change her mind. Reading a book should change you in some way and this series does just that.

FYI, I adored your Kaitlin Burke series. As a 32 year old adult, I probably should let YA go but I just can't. I'm glad that you seem to have as much fun writing them as I do reading them!

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