While all of you football fans were watching the Super Bowl, I was finishing Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games. If you haven't read it yet, let me give you a short synopsis.
What was once North America is now called Panem. The Capitol, a violent dictatorship, strictly controls Panems's 12 districts. Each year, the Capitol holds the violent televised Hunger Games, where two teenagers, a boy and a girl, from each district are randomly chosen to fight to the death. The sole victor becomes a hero, and his/her district is showered with rewards.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, in the area of the United States that used to be called the Appalachians. Since her father died in a land-mine explosion years before, she's provided her mother and sister with food by hunting in the nearby forbidden forest. When her sister's name is called in the lottery, Katniss volunteers to take her place. The baker's son, Peeta is the District 12 boy whose name is chosen. What follows is a violent battle among the participants, Katniss's struggle for survival, and an interesting love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale, Katniss's hunky hunting partner back home.
First let me tell you that I've read so many glowing reviews of the book, but the premise threw me off a bit. Teenagers killing teenagers? Really? Not being into gore and violence, I wasn't sure what to think, but as soon as I started reading I was drawn into Katniss's story. Don't get me wrong, there is death and violence in this book, but Suzanne Collins's writing and storytelling were absolutely brilliant. Her sensory details, suspenseful writing, and grasp of Katniss's character made me feel as if I was right in the middle of the Hunger Games. I could visualize everything Katniss saw, felt my heart start racing when she was in danger, and found myself cheering for her and Peeta during the final gruesome battle of the book. Exceptional writing, an interesting premise, and gripping storytelling make this a book you don't want to miss.
I can't believe I have to wait until September to read the sequel, Catching Fire.
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 14, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0439023483
- ISBN-13: 978-0439023481