The most puzzling thing to me about The Hunger Games (now that I’ve finished all 3) is the silly classification of YA. Apparently, Stephen King thinks the classification is bogus too. It does have the effect of filtering out the by-now expected abundance of profanity in dialogue.
Still, is it the language, the more limited vocabulary, perhaps the mandatory sentence fragments that make it YA? (The only thing distracting to me about the grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure was the fragments; it is written to engross.) Is it that the heroine is 17? That it involves so many young? You might as well say Jane Austen is YA. It certainly cannot be the cynical suggestion that all the powerful are ever doing is playing games to control people, can it?
That is a curious point. Katniss is not playing games. That’s why we like her: she’s in deadly earnest. All the good guys seem to be, and if they’re not, we are not inclined to trust them. Is it the sly notion that only kids and childlike adults are really in earnest, not being complicated by the complications of a fundamentally disordered universe where the only fixed point is one’s own will to power? One wonders.