...or why books and tv rank higher than sleep

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic Inc. NYC. 2008. 374p. ISBN 0439023483

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 series was on the fringes of my radar since January at the ALA midwinter conference. The Scholastic booth was giving out copies of Catching Fire, the follow up to The Hunger Games. My friend Nicole had recommended it to my friend Matt to read. Matt was trying to read more YA books, and Nicole mentioned this was the hottest thing going for the YA crowd.

Fast forward to May. I was looking for something easy and light to read on the plane to Nashville, so I grabbed The Hunger Games from the library. I could not put this book down. I was up reading late into the night on vacation trying to find out what happened next.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot for those who haven't read it yet. Basically the setting for the book is a future version of North America that has been renamed Panem, and is divided into 13 districts. Decades earlier, there was an uprising in district 13. That district had been destroyed and each year as a reminder to the remaining district, there is a reaping. The reaping is a lottery where a boy and girl from each district are selected to represent their district in the hunger games - a televised event where you must be the last one standing to make it out.

The book is hardly cheerful, but it was so well written and gripping that the subject matter isn't as heavy as you would expect. There is savagery abound in the book, but there also is defiance, humor, tenderness, a love triangle, and plenty of suspense. The character of Katniss in particular was incredibly well developed and as a reader I was riveted by her. I don't often get that sucked in to a book.

Review: 9.5/10

1 comment:

Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading) said...

I agree, I was totally drawn into the Hunger Games, even more so than normal. And I also agree that the love story in CF was a bit tedious at times. Of course, I am Team Gale, so that explains that, I guess. :)