The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

New York      Scholastic Press     2008     374p.

 

Survival in Love, War or Sports

 

The Hunger Games takes place in a future time in North America, the country now called Panem which is divided up into twelve districts.  These districts are isolated from one another and ruled by the Capital which reaps the benefits of what each district produces and keeps the people in poverty and the black-markets in business.  In previous years there was an uprising by the districts, a revolution of sorts, and once the Capital crushed the uprising they put in place the Hunger Games so that it would be a yearly reminder to the people of all districts who is in control and what could happen if you challenge authority.

 

This riveting novel keeps the reader on the edge of their seat as the Hunger Games goes through the selection of the contestants (children ages 1—18), preparation of  the contestants (by giving some fighting and survival demonstrations) and then setting the contestants free in a very large outdoor arena to kill each other.  The winner is the last man/woman standing!

 

Although a futuristic book, it reminds one of Roman times when the gladiators fought in the arena for entertainment.  The Hunger Games’ contestants are children, fighting for their life on live TV, for the entertainment of the Capital (where they place bets on the contestants) and to remind the districts who is in control.

 

Suzanne Collins, the author does a great job of allowing the reader to get to know the girl district twelve contestant, Katniss Everdeen; a sixteen year old girl who lives with her mom and a twelve year old sister. We know that she is a fighter and a survivor as she hunts game in the forbidden area outside her district just to put food on the table for her family; a family who is just barely surviving.  The author lets the reader have just glimpses into the boy district twelve contestant, Peeta Mellark.  He remains mysterious throughout the story which keeps the reader guessing what his motives are in the Hunger Games.  Even the lesser characters come alive as Collins describes Haymitch, the district twelve mentor, who is drunk most of the time, the stylist Cinna, who has come up with outrageous ideas to help give Katniss a winning edge, and Rue a tiny twelve year old contestant, who can fly through the trees like a monkey and becomes an alley with Katniss.

 

The Hunger Games are so intense that once the games have started you will not be able to put this book down.  Teens will identify with the characters easily.  Collins is able to keep the story alive with surprise elements, survival skills and a little romance beyond the fight just for survival.  This is an easy to read, dark tale of digging deep within oneself to survive.  It is filled with courage, compassion, and hopefulness.  It is sure to thrill everyone who dares to enter the pages of The Hunger Games.

 

5Q     5P     J  S        Lexile 810

Author Website:  http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/

 

Tags:   Science Fiction, Survival, Survival Love, War and Sports

 

The cover will be appealing to teens—the title is intriguing and the bird, gold and embossed on the cover is eye catching.  Asked book chat group about the cover and they all thought it was a guy book based on the cover.  Cover art is by Tim O’Brien.

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