03/29/2012 10:04 am ET Updated May 29, 2012

A Defense of Katniss

The Hunger Games series has and continues to enjoy incredible success around the world. Published in multiple languages, acclaimed by critics, and adored by almost every reader, the book (and movie) has been noted for many attributes that made its author, Suzanne Collins, one of TIME magazine's "Most Influential People" in 2010. The trilogy's gripping plotlines, addictive but gloomy world, and strong first-person narrative make it continue to cling to the top of bestseller lists. When it comes to themes, however, one quality continues to stand out: like other praised young adult novels, the protagonist, Katniss, is the epitome of what we teach younger generations to be like -- strong, independent, and loyal to what she knows is right.

In even the first few pages of The Hunger Games, Katniss shocks the world when she unprecedentedly chooses to volunteer for her younger sister in a competition where the odds are that she will lose and die. Her history and ability to proceed through the Games show her physical and mental power, making her a role model for all readers. A girl who dared to hunt by herself to keep her family from starving, who chose to sacrifice herself for her sister, and who is loyal first and foremost to her family is a protagonist that readers love. Much like Harry Potter, Katniss is modest because of her desire to keep those whom she loves safe. Her strength and her willingness to sacrifice for the people she loves are what make Katniss, well, Katniss. Her likeability is what makes us (and the Capitol) so addicted to watching the games unfold.

To appeal to the romantics (and also make sense in the "hi-I'm-a-young-adult-and-this-is-a-stage-of-life-for-me" kind of thing), Suzanne Collins made Katniss two main companions, both male, hot, loyal, and overall epic -- and both of them just happen to fall in love with her. However, unlike what makes Bella of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight the object of ridicule, Katniss does not spend most of her time trying to decide between both of them. Instead, as an epitome of female independence, Katniss goes on with life and the Gale or Peeta situation is just sorted out along the way (SPOILER ALERT: Life actually sorts out the situation for Katniss. Dandelion Peeta > Firey Gale). Katniss has her priorities straight and that is what makes her the admirable protagonist of a well-respected book.

Lastly and most importantly, Katniss chooses to do what is right in order to ensure the Capitol's Hunger Games end permanently. Though she occasionally slips up along the way and was reluctant to follow District 13's orders, her heart is in the right place. Eventually, she understands that a few lives must be sacrificed to save countless more children's lives and leads a rebellion against the Capitol that, with her strength, defies the odds and wins. With her family in mind, Katniss acts as a brave heroine that readers fall in love with.

Because of her strong-willed personality, Katniss is a strong and admirable character. Unlike Bella, Katniss is an ideal role model and her strength is a trait that everyone should aspire to have.