Check out this New York Times Op-ed piece on the amount of adult reality in children's books. I must admit that when I first picked up Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games” I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. The idea of child sacrifice didn't sit well with me. I mean, kids killing kids was just so, so wrong that I couldn't quite wrap my brain around it.
Anyway, I read the series and loved it. Really, really loved it. Still, I don't think I could have written these books. I think that if the series idea had popped into my head I would have quickly dismissed it. It's just too dark for me, and there's just something about kids killing kids that I'm not sure I would have been able to overcome. And, to be honest, I would have questioned if an agent, publishing house, or parents would have been interested in a book so dark, if they would have even thought there would be a market for it.
In my book "The Lion Awakens," the kids kill an adult or two, but it's because they are defending themselves. It's either the bad guys or the kids. This didn't bother me. Yes, it was dark and scary but because it wasn't a kid against a kid I was OK with it.
Read the piece when you get a chance. I'd love to hear your thoughts.