How AUDITION is like THE HUNGER GAMES: A Guest Post by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Friends, it’s with great pleasure that I let Stasia Ward Kehoe, author of Audition take over this blog post!

Audition, Book Cover, Stasia Ward Kehoe, Author Picture,

Stasia Ward Kehoe author of Audition

How Audition is like THE HUNGER GAMES:

Sometimes I wish I could write dystopian paranormal novels, ideally as trilogies. I love the concept of world building–I’d also love a six-figure book deal J.

Before I lament writing in the contemporary genre, I’d like to make the case that I AM WORLD BUILDING. In AUDITION, I wrote about a complicated, artificially lit (at least indoorsy) planet called ballet. I realized that many of my readers would not have danced, at least not as intensely as my main character, Sara. Yet, I wanted to write a world that invited all readers in. So, while I read a ton of verse novels and books about poetry in the process of creating AUDITION, I also turned to some favorite dystopian tales to hone my world-building craft. Here’s what I discovered:

Like Tris in Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT, Sara comes to realize that many other people are invested in the outcome of her actions.

Like Lena in DELIRIUM, Sara begins to question the roles in which her teachers (akin to Oliver’s government and its SHHH handbook rules) cast her, and she begins to catch glimpses of another self with another future dream.

Like Katniss in THE HUNGER GAMES, Sara is confused about love and bloodied by her own kind of physical battles.

So, there is world-building in my novel. I set up an authority (dance teachers), high-stakes (especially Rem’s choreographic career versus Sara’s own dance success) and, of course, a complex romance. But here’s the trick of contemporary YA—the spot where the world-building parallel ends: You can’t change the rules. While not all readers have experienced it, ballet undeniably involves physical scrutiny and body image issues; it involves huge commitments of time at the sacrifice of other activities; it involves large quantities of Lycra and hairspray. And, ultimately, almost all teenage girls who dance ballet do not grow up to be ballerinas.

So, as I wrote the final verses of Audition, I found myself in a world-building versus truth-can-be-stranger-than-fiction conundrum. Katniss survives The Hunger Games against all odds but should Sara, after all her struggles and sacrifices, finish Audition as a star? Like reality television, realistic YA—even if it’s set in a rarefied environment—demands an answer to the question: How real is reality?

Oh, and btw, I love Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Just sayin’.


Like what you read? I have an ARC of Audition up for grabs. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post. US Only (sorry international shipping cost me 27$ last time). Ends 10/13. Winner will be contacted via email or twitter. Whatevs.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I was totally already looking forward to Audition, but this has piqued my interest even more! What a great guest post!

    and I’d love to be entered for the contest for sure!

  2. Hmm; interesting to compare it to the Hunger Games!! But now? I’m even more excited… Especially since Katniss is one of my all time favorites!

  3. Really intrigued by the comparison to dystopia although my preference is contemporary so I was already sold on this book. Thanks for the opportunity to win an ARC!

  4. This post just sold me on this book. I was tepid about reading a novel in free verse, but I can’t pass up a contemporary with strong world-building.

    I’m curious how “Sara comes to realize that many other people are invested in the outcome of her actions” because I imagine the ballet world as cut-throat every-ballerina-is-an-island with no invested villagers. The author also succeeded in tantalizing me about the novel’s ending.

  5. Heather R. says

    that was a really interesting guest post, I never would have thought about the correlations to the dystopic’s Divergent, Delirium and Hunger Games (which were all AWESOME.) I had this book on on wishlist but after reading the review and the post it just moved up nearer to the top so well done Ms. Kehoe:) Please enter me in the contest fro the ARC, and thanks!

  6. I agree with Kehoe’s argument…the world of ballet is completely foreign to me (and probably most readers). Sounds like a fantastic read – I’m keeping my eye out for Audition!

  7. Love this comparison – fascinating look at how Audition compares to The Hunger Games. After reading other books about the ballet world, I understand it’s tough. I can’t wait to read Audition. Great post!

  8. Love this author post. It’s always cool to see how an author goes about creating the world of their novel. I’m a lover of hearing about the method and the research.

    totally agree that Jennifer Lawrence is going to be an awesome Katniss 😉

  9. Awesome guest post! I love how the author found comparisons between her contemporary novel to popular dystopians. And I love the emphasis she places on world building in her writing. I’m even more excited to read Audition now!
    And yeah, I was convinced Jennifer Lawrence could pull off Katniss after seeing her in Winter’s Bone 🙂

  10. I’d love to read this one. I used to be a dance major. Sounds excellent.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  11. This sounds good.
    Love that shes compared her book to such awesome books, in a cool-Im-different-but-humble-not-like-them-but-kinda [if…that makes sense..] way!

  12. Ooh, I want to read this so badly! I took ballet for many years and just performed in my last ballet (Alice in Wonderland!) last June. I’m really looking forward to this book.

  13. Audition sounds so good. Really looking forward to it. Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. Now I’m even more excited to read this book! I lover her comparison to dystopian world building.


  15. Jessica S. says

    This book sounds really interesting, and I love this comparison. Count me in.

  16. Katharyn Vela says

    The book sounds great! I really want to read it! 🙂

    katvela12345 AT

  17. Please enter me.. This sounds good…!!

    lovestoread0708 AT yahoo DOT com

  18. Enter me please!


  19. Sounds good and thanks for the giveaway!

    myra0502 at yahoo dot com

  20. Audition sounds awesome. I am a dancer myself so I am always on the lookout for books related to dance 🙂

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    danceislove27 At gmail DoT com

  21. This book sounds so awesome!

  22. Thanks so much for having me here at Good Books & Good Wine! Love to discover so many ex-dancer book people out there! – Stasia