The Girl Who Was on Fire is a collection of thirteen essays by YA authors who analyze the characters, their motives, politics & society, reality TV & the media, fashion, and psychological trauma. This book is so full of win. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games and miss it dearly, this is a nice way to spend time immersed in the world from the outside. There is no doubt that it is a series that made us think, and these essays really help nail down some key concepts, as well as open up our minds to new ideas. I will review of a few of the essays below.Sarah Rees Brennan, author of the Demon’s Lexicon trilogy, examined the lure of such a horrific society and their horrific ideas of entertainment. She compared the Games to Battle Royale, which it clearly resembles. (Battle Royale is an intensely horrific Asian film that I suggest everyone see. I plan to read the book one day.) Brennan poses the questions (and it is a damn good question): Why are we so interested and fascinated by violent death? I think about this often, as well. I, for one, love gory horror films. Why are we so drawn to violence in movies/books/video games?Jennifer Lynn Barnes, author of the Raised by Wolves series, is one of my favorite YA authors and I was very excited to see that she contributed. She explores how there is so much focus on Peeta or Gale and which one Katniss should choose, that we miss out on the awesomeness of Katniss herself. I’m not sure about any of you, but I certainly did not miss out! I agree with Barnes’ analysis of Katniss when she says that she’s a hard person to know, and it’s true. It’s difficult for us to love a female who is hard, cold and keeps her emotions under lock and key. However, if you were really paying attention, you would realize that Katniss’ family was the core of her existence. While she might not have emoted in the traditional girly sense, she loved those close to her with a fierce passion. Lastly, Barnes compares her to Buttercup the cat, which was so amazing. You have to read for yourself.Carrie Ryan, author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth series, spoke about the myth of reality TV and how we are responsible for seeking out the truth, instead of believing everything you see and hear. This is true in all aspects of life! She makes an ugly connection between the readers and our lust for the games.In the end, if there is one truth that can be taken away from the Hunger Games it is this: we, the reader tuned in and boosted its rating. Even while Katniss rails against the Games as disgusting and barbaric, we the readers turn the pages in order to watch them. We become the citizens of the Capitol, glued to the televisions ensuring there will be another Game the following year. Thanks to us, the ratings are just to high to cancel the show.There is tons more where this came from, but you should really check them out for yourself. Some of the essays brought tears to my eyes as I remember the intense emotion I felt while reading the The Hunger Games. These essays really are a deep inspection of a series that challenged us all. They will make you appreciate the series even more and help sate your sorrow now that it is over. This was my first taste of Smart Pop books, and I will definitely be back for more.