Buy The Hunger Games
Special: $6.74 (Regular price $8.99)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Paperback, hardcover, audio book
Reviewer: Melissa on June 23, 2010
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Imagine a world in which the only reality TV show is forced upon you by the controlling Capitol district. Imagine a world in which your basic taboos against children dying before their parents aren’t upheld by the government that should be there to protect them. Imagine a world in which every action or behavior, even acts of kindness and the emotions of love, are merely strategies to win the games…or are they? Panem is a country that rose up from the ashes of what was once known as North America, and it is all of these things and more. While there are many terrifying facts about day-to-day life in the 12 remaining districts surrounding the Capitol, Reaping Day and the resulting “entertainment” of 24 boys and girls fighting to the death is the worst. The Hunger Games have begun, are you ready to play?
I started reading TheHungerGames by Suzanne Collins as a means to procrastinate a little longer from writing some other reviews that I needed to finish and post. I hadn’t meant to read more than a chapter or two, but like a Pringle’s commercial, it seemed like once I popped open the cover of this horrifying post-apocalyptic world, I couldn’t stop reading. In fact, if do nothing but read day was last Saturday, I would have certainly have been well on my way to meeting any and all requirements. I found that the first chapter provided enough back story mixed in with the description of the events of Reaping Day that I cared enough to audibly gasp on hearing that Primrose Everdeen was picked. It’s a rare occasion that sees me reading 330 pages in one day and gasping about the events so early on as I did with this novel, but there is a reason for it. Listen to the hype: read this book!
Primrose had one entry among thousands, so the odds were definitely not in her favor. Of course, a quick read of the dust jacket will tell you that despite being chosen, Prim never makes it to the Hunger Games’ outdoor arena. In a rarely invoked rule in District 12, her older sister Katniss, the main character, volunteers to take her place, and in so doing wins the heart of the crowd and readers alike. When it comes to surviving and protecting her family, she’s willing to do anything it takes to go the distance. She is a resourceful, intelligent and powerful female character already, but this book helps to demonstrate that merely a costume, a blush, a few strategic phrases and the marketing machine can sky rocket her from embarking on certain death to being noticed as a real contender. Katniss is nothing short of irresistible. She knows what she has to do, and she does it: if only we could all be so courageous.
While Katniss and her tactics are certainly a big draw, the power of Collins’ novel and I suspect, the rest of The Hunger Games trilogy, goes beyond her character to the larger philosophical questions the book asks. Is it fame and fortune that drive characters to win or just a pure desire to survive? Will you be able to retain your true self, or will you lose who you are to the game? What does it mean to owe someone something and can you understand what it means to pay your debts to them? Is it any wonder then that this novel speaks so strongly to teens and adults alike given the fact that many of our TVs are tuned into reality TV shows about fame and fortune and other violent programs week after week? No it isn’t surprising; we see ourselves moving toward this grim future, and like a car wreck on the side of a road, we can’t turn away.
Buy The Hunger Games today!