Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins is following in the foot$teps of fellow Young Adult authors J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) by turning her series of novels into a blockbuster movie franchise – one that is already setting records for advanced ticket sales. However, the eager early ticket buyers were most likely those who were already fans of The Hunger Games novels; the movie’s appeal to the general public will rest entirely on the quality of the film that director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) has put together.

Of all the many opinions on The Hunger Games movie that will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, there is almost certainly one opinion that matters more than the rest: that of Suzanne Collins herself. Well, the author has now seen the finished version of her story onscreen; read on to hear her thoughts.

This is what Collins posted on her Facebook Page regarding The Hunger Games movie:

Dear Readers,

I’ve just had the opportunity to see the finished film of The Hunger Games. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I feel like the book and the film are individual yet complementary pieces that enhance one another. The film opens up the world beyond Katniss’ point of view, allowing the audience access to the happenings of places… like the Hunger Games control room and President Snow’s rose garden, thereby adding a new dimension to the story.

Director Gary Ross has created an adaptation that is faithful in both narrative and theme, but he’s also brought a rich and powerful vision of Panem, its brutality and excesses, to the film as well. His world building’s fantastic, whether it be the Seam or the Capitol. It’s amazing to see things that are suggested in the book fully developed and so brilliantly realized through the artistry of the designers.

And, my God, the actors. The cast, led by the extraordinary Jennifer Lawrence, is absolutely wonderful across the board. It’s such a pleasure to see how they’ve embodied the characters and brought them to life.

So I’d like to sincerely thank all the many people who devoted their time and talents to the film, especially producers Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, and the excellent teams at Color Force, Larger Than Life, and Lionsgate.

I hope you enjoy the film!

Suzanne Collins

Now, first reaction might be to say that Collins would praise the film no matter what, given the stake she has in its success. But really, that’s kind of a cynical (and specious) stance to take. Plenty of authors past and present (and future) have seen their work translated from page to screen, and have been very vocal about the fact that little or much was lost in that translation. Then there are writers on the level of eccentric comic book icon Alan Moore, who has such disdain for movie adaptations that he severs all ties from any film based on his work (Watchmen, V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), going so far as to prohibit the filmmakers from using his name anywhere in the film credits or promotional materials.

I say all that to say: Collins doesn’t have to play it false. So if she is saying that she liked the film, the cast, and how Gary Ross (an Oscar-nominated director, mind you) and his team have widened the scope of the book (which is told exclusively from Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) point of view) and brought the world of Panem to life in gorgeous detail….well, there’s no reason to doubt that she had that genuine reaction to the film.

But again, whether or not those who aren’t already attached to these characters and story will walk away with such shining praise remains to be seen.

BONUS: If you haven’t already seen it, check out this first clip from The Hunger Games!

The Hunger Games will be in theaters on March 23, 2012.