THE HUNGER GAMES
By Suzanne Collins
Published by: Scholastic Press / 557 Broadway / New York, NY 10012
First Printing: 2008
Concept: “In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.”
Review: This is my second reading of this book. I loved this book the firsr time around and I’ve wanted to re-read it for quite some time now. My book group is rereading this series so I was happy to pick this book up again for a new review.
Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old young woman (wise beyond her years due to her surroundings) who is living with her beloved sister and mother in a future North America. The future North America is different from what we know. It is divided up into districts according to the manufacturing characteristics of that area. Katniss is from District 12, an extremely poor coal mining district. To keep her family from starving, Katniss has hunted in an adjacent meadow with her life-long friend (and maybe future boyfriend?) Gale. Life goes on for Katniss, not happily as we would know it, but she finds her own happiness.
Then comes the Day of Reaping. Every year, the capital selects two “contestants” to compete in The Hunger Games, a violent competition where these contestants kill each other until the last remaining contestant wins and is awarded a lush life back home in their Districts never again to have to worry about starvation for themselves or their families. Katniss’ sister, Prim is selected to compete but Katniss, not wanting her sister to die, steps in to compete for her. The other contestant is Peeta, a boy Katniss has grown up with. This story is about what happens to Katniss and Peeta during the Games.
The Hunger Games reminds me of our Olympic games; coaches, training and opening ceremonies as well as “up close and personal” type coverage during the games. The players are manipulated to be celebrities and to present to the crowds something they may or may not be. Katniss and Peeta are groomed and play in the games which are gruesome and sad and exciting and I double dog dare you not to be cheering for our heroine and hero. You will stay up late into the night reading this book. It is not a book that you can put down for any length of time, sleep being the only excuse.
I read somewhere that the author, Suzanne Collins said that the story idea came to her in part while channel surfing between reality TV shows actual war coverage. That’s exactly what this book is and may be one reason why I love it so much being a long time Survivor addict as well as a news junkie.
What I liked: Everything. This was truly an amazing story and one that is perfect for male or female, young or old. It’s one of my favorite books of all time.
What I disliked: There was one part in the book, at the end, that I didn’t quite understand. I know it had to be a simple explanation since there was no “big” explanation offered, but I don’t understand it and I wish it had been explained better. But it was not a deal breaker in the least.
My rating: 5 stars