The Hunger Games

4723058752 247054c406 The Hunger GamesBuy 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!

  22 comments for “The Hunger Games

  1. Nicole
    June 23, 2010 at 6:50 am

    About time you read it! <3 Hunger Games

  2. April (Books&Wine)
    June 23, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Yay for the Hunger Games! I still have yet to read Catching Fire though, but am waiting until it’s closer to the Mockingjay release.

    Also, I love your questions at the end, because for me, that was a huge appeal of the Hunger Games, especially the reality TV question. Sometimes I wonder how far is too far.

  3. June 23, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Hehehe…Yes it certainly is about time I read it! The only excuse I have is that I’m a later comer to the YA genre. You are fortunate to have had the chance to read books like The Hunger Games while you were a teen. Like many of the YA authors you read, they definitely didn’t have books like this when I was in high school or about to enter university. :)

  4. June 23, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for your comment April. I’m really looking forward to reading Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I have a few other books I have to read first, but believe me, the suspense is killing me. :)

    I “wonder how far is too far” as well sometimes, and I think this is the great thing about dystopian fiction. It really makes you think about what our society is moving toward, for the good or the bad. This is the first one I’ve read that is specifically written for teens, but I know that most of the others would speak to people of this age group (and others like myself who aren’t teens) because they are at the point where they question a lot about the world and how it works – or at least I know I did.

  5. Janet Johnson
    June 24, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Hey, great review!

    I posted the winners on my contest. You might want to check it out. There are only 24 hours left for the winners to claim their prizes. ;)

  6. June 24, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Thanks Janet – for your comment about my review and the little hint about checking out your site. ;)

  7. Jeff See
    June 30, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I have already had three students read a checked out copy during the past two+ weeks of summer school. Some have moved on to catching fire. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!

  8. Debbie
    July 1, 2010 at 5:07 am

    I’m looking forward to reading Catching Fire and Mockingjay…best YA lit I’ve read recently…and I read many YA books…though I’m far from being a YA, as a lifetime voracious reader, I feel books written for YA are the purest form of literature!

  9. July 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    I, totally, understand about the procrastination. This book sounds great, so I’m putting it on my wishlist.

  10. July 4, 2010 at 7:24 am

    It really is great! I’m not at all surprised that The Hunger Games has been on the New York Times best-seller list or that both adults and teens are in love with it. I’ve only seen one person didn’t like it, so the odds are that you probably will too.

  11. Shari
    July 6, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    This was such a good book. I hadn’t read much dystopian fiction before this, thinking it didn’t really appeal to me, but wow, The Hunger Games totally hooked me! Great story, great pacing, and thought-provoking, too — stays with you after you read it. Loved it! :)

  12. July 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Yes, it definitely stays with you after you read it. Thanks for the great comment Shari! :)

  13. Tiff
    July 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    It stayed with me so much after I read it that I basically raced to a library that had Catching Fire and immediately devoured that book as well. The Hunger Games is really one of the best YA books I’ve read in a long time – and I’m not even into sci-fi. Great world-building and character study.

  14. July 11, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    i read this book in one read too! I could not put it down. I didn’t even try to.

  15. July 11, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Same here. I definitely wasn’t planning on reading through it so quickly…I had work to do, but sometimes you just can’t get enough, and The Hunger Games just happens to be that kind of book!

  16. Melanie
    July 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I really have to read this! :)

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