Thursday 13 December 2012

What were Peeta and Katniss REALLY up to? Under the Covers in YA

by Teri Terry

A recent blog on Epona Reviews caught my eye: Sex in YA Novels: Should it be kept under the covers or do readers want more?

This was particularly because of the timing: when I was in Edinburgh recently at the Anobii First Book Award party, fellow Demention blogger Julie Bertagna and I were discussing this issue - from the other side. Yep: authors. It isn't always the choice of the author what does or doesn't happen under the covers...of their books.

One example I'd raise is in Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games, when Katniss says Peeta is comforting her in the night when she has nightmares. I instantly thought....what were they doing together in the middle of the night? Why don't we know? Did the author decide to keep it ambiguous, or were judicious edits responsible? Do readers who aren't authors also wonder these things?

Stay tuned as Demention will explore this issue further in a future blog!


  1. I always thought it was a concious effort on Suzanne Collin's part not to have anything sexual in the books. I always felt like the Hunger Games was geared towards the younger end of the YA reader spectrum, or that at the very least, Suzanne Collins wanted to make the novel open to as many readers as possible. I always thought that she kept it ambiguous so as not to offend anyone who might be offended by sex before marriage (I think they're more into that sort of thing in America!). Now I think of it, it's a bit strange considering all the brutal violence but still...

    On the other hand, Katniss was always presented as kind of asexual, and this was played up in the first book with them dressing her all innocently and childishly (though they strayed from this in the film).

    Either way, I always felt it was probably Suzanne Collin's choice.

  2. It does bemuse me that there's barely a raised eyebrow about kids killing each other and beating each other to a pulp, as they do in The Hunger Games and Divergent yet God forbid they dare do anything sexual... As an author, it's hard to know what pressures, if any, those authors were under, though from the few interviews Suzanne Collins has given she seems very much her own woman. Is YA fiction now aligned to US sensibilities re sex and violence?

  3. Unnerving to have written that comment on Friday then switched on the news...

  4. Sex in YA is important and it's interesting to see how various authors handle it (and how readers take it). I'd have never thought that Katniss and Peeta were getting it on though. I don't think there's much call for smexytimes when you're hoping you survive the night when there's other kids trying to kill you.