Teen Street Team Reads: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
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Teen Street Team Reads: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Members of the Teen Street Team share their book recommendations. This month, our guest blogger gives a review of the Hunger Games prequel, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Teen Street Team member Shreya is our guest blogger for this month and tells us about The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – Print, eBook, eAudiobook

Unarguably one of the best dystopian franchises, Hunger Games will continue to be my favorite series. Suzanne Collins vividly depicts the life of teenagers in a strictly controlled dystopian society, which like the name suggests, suffers from extreme poverty and hunger. The trilogy revolves around an annual game in which select participants compete to win the prize of food- with the winner being the only one surviving. The original franchise was also brought to the screens, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson as the main characters. After rising to popularity, Collins did not stop there, and recently (2020), released The Ballad of the Songbirds and Snakes, a prequel to the Hunger Games.  

The story of this book revolves around an important but mysterious character appearing in the Hunger Games: President Coriolanus Snow. The prequel, however, focuses on his early years – and his own participation in the games. In the original series, he is the person who overlooks the Hunger Games- a cruel form of entertainment for the elite. He himself has been through a fair share of difficulties- growing up poor and orphaned. He meets Lucy Baird, a young girl from the much poorer parts of the territory he lives in. Interestingly, Coriolanus is still considered elite- although few know about his unfortunate situation.

Without spoiling much, Lucy and Coriolanus fall in love and there are many plot twists embedded – truly my favorite part. But what really makes this book my go-to recommendation, is the way that Collin slowly peels off layers of Coriolanus’s personality, slowly showing how he transforms into his ‘evil’ and ‘disdained’ character (seen in the original books). Reflecting popular ideas about the duality of human nature and how certain events can truly transform you – Collins beautifully describes how the dystopia was inherently seen in the people rather than in the society. Rather than a lesson or a moral ending, the story was a simple depiction of human nature. The book portrayed Snow in such a way that looking back at the very few pages of the book, it can be understood that the young Snow would hate what he becomes at the end. Essentially, this book made me understand a character that I hated so much, and I would read it again! 

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