Picking the Wrong Guy

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 Yesterday my sister and I were casually discussing books, as we often do, and Ashlee brought up The Hunger Games and how killing off Peeta would be too easy a way to deal with the love triangle.

The casualness of our conversation ended there.

I gasped and said, “What? Kill Peeta? Why would she kill off Peeta? No, it’s Gale that has to get out of the way.”

Ashlee gasped, too. “What? How can you be in love with Peeta? It’s got to be Gale! You and I always have the same taste in books! How can you be in love with Peeta?”

And both of us decided right then that we were going to blog about it and create polls and see what everyone else thinks.

Now, admittedly my track record is not perfect. Take my experience reading I Capture the Castle for example. Here’s a chunk of what I wrote in my goodreads review when I read that book a year ago:

I Capture the CastleHalfway through this I wanted to buy it for everyone on my Christmas list. Three-quarters through I wanted to hurl it at the wall. With twenty pages to go I felt very sure there was no possible ending I could be satisfied with. And then, on the very last page, I fell in love [with the book] again. . . . Really, it’s an amazing novel, so honest and fair–fair both to the reader and to the characters. My main trouble was that I fell in love with the wrong guy, which was my own fault.

For me, it brings up an interesting issue of how much we as readers bring to a book. My sister and I are similar in so many ways, especially as English teaching majors (she’s still in college), so it’s weird for us to be opposites on this Gale/Peeta thing. Do we have fundamentally different taste in guys?

Maybe I should have her read I Capture the Castle and see if she picks the guy I did.

But this becomes not only a reading issue but a writing issue. After all, Suzanne Collins is going to have to disappoint half her fan base. Should she have given more clues going along about who we’re “supposed” to love? Does a writer have a responsibility to make that clear? Do I even dare mention the Edward/Jacob controversy, where it seems to me that it is made clear and yet so many fans choose to hope for the out guy?

My current WIP has five teenage guys all the same age, and when Ashlee first read the first 40 pages of the first draft, her first question was, “Who’s Wendy going to end up with?” I’ve worked hard since then to make everything seem, while not cut and dry, sort of inevitable in my novel, so that readers would be satisfied with the ending. But maybe some will still wish that a different guy got with Wendy. 

It’s possible. After all, I do try to make all five of the guys likeable. What’s a writer to do? 

So now I’m curious not only about your vote for Peeta vs Gale but how confident you are in your prediction. Please weigh in below! Maybe even leave a comment about other books you’ve had this trouble with, like my review above.

I’m already feeling a little outnumbered since my writer friend Brodi Ashton blogged a few weeks ago about preferring Gale, too (her rationale is in her comments section).

Any other Peeta supporters out there? How can you not love the guy who paints himself like he’s frosting a cake as a form of self-preservation? And whose self-preservation is entirely for the sake of saving the girl he loves? Just thinking about him makes me want to set my huge to-read stack aside and reread Hunger Games and Catching Fire right now.

Come on, Peeta fans! Show your love!

p.s. if anybody wants to vote on my sister’s poll, too, it’s on her sidebar here

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19 responses »

  1. You need to have an option that says, “I’m rooting for Gale, but I’m not sure who she’ll end up with, but it’s okay, because I love Peeta too, but if it were me, I’d choose Gale…” etc.

    I agree- in the Twilight books, it was always obvious whom Bella would end up with, so it sorta swayed my vote.

    Your question about disappointing half her fan base in the Hunger Games is an interesting one. Although I am officially Team Gale, I wouldn’t hate the books if Kat does end up with Peeta. But I know some fans may not be so forgiving.

    In my own book, I had two guys, very different personalities, etc. I thought I’d made it obvious whom the reader should root for, but about half my nieces (who are my initial readers) are angry with the way it turned out. I guess if you have two great guys, you’re gonna disappoint some people, no matter how obvious you think the choice should be.

    Fun post!

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    • You are so right! I should have a fifth option that says that.

      Thanks for sharing about your book! I think it’s so interesting when readers respond other than how you thought they would/intended them to.

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  2. I hate you both for making me think about this. I had basically forgotten that Gale existed. You may be wondering why and so I will tell you. I do NOT like having my emotions toyed with! The author obviously points toward there being some kind of deeper connection with Gale, but I won’t have it! I won’t stand for it! I am sticking with Peeta until I am forced to step down! Stupid trouble making, not communicative, from the same city, boys! They ruin everything!

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  3. I’m sorry I’m not familiar with this series. You guys seem to be having a fun discussion about it! The responsibility of the author to the reader is an interesting topic that I’d love to hear more about.

    My webcomic’s story is pretty tidy romantically with the main characters all having someone marked for them. Some social tension would have been a great tool but I was too focused on other adventures when I wrote the script. =_= I don’t know if it’s too late for major edits.

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  4. Oh, team Peeta. I’ve only read the first one so far and hope that the second won’t change my mind. I think she has some deep connection with Gale, but being in such a horrific circumstance with Peeta will only deepen their relationship. Look at me talking like they are real people! : )

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    • And I loved I Capture the Castle until the last 20 pages or so and then I was just mad at it. After reading the ending, I came close to hurling it, but it was a library book, so I refrained.

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      • Yeah, I think I read a library copy, too. And I think that book was definitely the closest one to being hurled I’ve ever read. Which shows that I cared about it a lot. I bought myself a copy and plan to reread someday with better perspective. 🙂

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    • What are you saying? That Peeta doesn’t have a chance?! I refuse to believe that.

      I must say that I was always Team Edward when I read Twilight, but after seeing New Moon in the theater, I’m converted to Jacob a lot more!

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