Monday, October 26, 2009

REVIEW: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

About the Author

Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/​Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days.

While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author James Proimos, who talked her into giving children’s books a try.

Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland, she was struck by how pastoral the setting must seem to kids who, like her own, lived in urban surroundings. In New York City, you’re much more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole and, if you do, you’re not going to find a tea party. What you might find...? Well, that’s the story of Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part fantasy/​war series, The Underland Chronicles.

At present, Suzanne is hard at work on the third book in her sci-fi series, The Hunger Games.

She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard.

My Thoughts

Katniss is just trying to do the right thing. She's ethical and hard-working, and just trying to take care of her family. She was the "adult" of the house after her father died and her mother "checked out" of life for awhile. Then comes the day of the Reaping, when the Capitol draws the names of one boy and one girl to represent each district in The Hunger Games.

Katniss has become a second mother to her little sister Prim. There's such a protective tenderness that exists between them. There's a charming moment in the book when the family is getting ready for the Reaping and Katniss says of her little sister "I notice her blouse has pulled out of her skirt in the back again and force myself to stay calm. 'Tuck your tail in, little duck,' I say, smoothing the blouse back in place." (p. 16) I just really found that touching.

I'm afraid to say too much, as I don't want to throw out any spoilers for the handful of people who, like me, haven't yet read this book. But I really enjoyed this story. I read half of it during the read-a-thon, and finished up with the rest the following day (which is unheard of for me. I'm a slow reader and usually take 1-2 weeks per book.) The book is exciting, with more than a few "on the edge of your seat" moments. There is tension, despair, hope. There are funny moments in Katniss' thinking, such as when she thinks "I can't help feeling a little grateful since the last thing I want to do is strip down Haymitch, wash the vomit out of his chest hair, and tuck him into bed." (p. 48) The chest hair comment got me!

Now I can't wait to read the sequel Catching Fire! I highly recommend this book for a fun and exciting story with emotional intrigue, and mild enough for teens, but edgy enough for adults. Read it now!

My Rating: 9 out of 10


Anonymous said...

Just yesterday I decided to give in to the hype and add this to my reading list!

3m.michelle said...

I read this one and Catching Fire during the readathon and enjoyed them both. Hope you like the second one as wel!

Unknown said...

Really nice thoughts on the book. I really enjoyed Catching Fire and The Hunger Games, I can't wait for book 3 and the movie