Ben Blatt has applied textual analysis to three wildly popular young-adult book series: Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Very interesting!
This weekend, millions of preteens will flock to theaters to take in the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, just as millions of preteens flocked to each of the five Twilight movies. For the most part, however, these will not be the same people. Of the tens of millions who identify themselves on Facebook as fans of either of the two series, less than 20 percent are fans of both. Though both series are set in fantasy worlds and feature female leads, readers and moviegoers seem to ally themselves with either Team Stephenie or Team Suzanne, but not both.
Why might a reader take a shine to one series and not the other? The content, of course, differs considerably: Twilight is filled with fantasy romance, Hunger Gameswith fantasy violence. But what about the authors’ approach to writing? Do their word choices, sentence structures, and other elements of their prose differ significantly? Is loving The Hunger Games but not Twilight a matter of style as well as substance?
To answer this question, I could have read all of the books and offered my opinion on the authors’ respective styles. But that’s so unscientific. (Also, who has the time?) Instead, I conducted a comprehensive textual analysis of the best-selling series. And to benchmark the comparison between Meyer and Collins, I decided to throw into the mix another wildly popular young adult series: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.