Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Series #1). Scholastic Inc. 2008
Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.
This book has been on my radar since ALA midwinter this past January. One of the freebies was the second book in the series (Catching Fire), which my friend Matt snatched up the last of after my friend Nicole mentioned how popular the series was with the YA crowd. I got my copy of The Hunger Games from the library in time for me to take it as plane reading for Nashville. I figured it would be pretty light reading. Holy cow the book was fantastically riveting. I was sucked in from the very beginning and lost a lot of sleep because I stayed up reading the book into the wee hours of the morning.
While elements of the book reminded me a lot of the movie Surving the Game , Collins did an amazing job crafting the world of Panem. It was so vivid that I was instantly transported as soon as I opened the book. The heroine Katniss is well written and complex, and Collins doesn't abandon the fleshing out of the supporting characters. I could feel for these characters and visualize each of them in their world.
This book is action packed and filled with twists, humor, and tears. It's also a great example of the excellent adult friendly teen lit out there that kids (probably grade 6 +) can share with their parents. Rating 9.5/10