The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  • Pub. Date: October 2008
  • Publisher:Scholastic, Inc.
  • Format: Hardcover, 374pp
  • Sales Rank: 268
  • Age Range: Young Adult

After many students suggested that I read this book, I finally gave in and picked it up.  I must admit up front that I had a very hard time reading this book.  I am a teacher, and the ideas behind this book was hard for me to swallow.  However, this was a very good book once you just allowed it to set in.

Basically, the world has changed.  Katniss lives in the poorest district of Panem.  She learns to hunt beyond the fence (an illegal activity) in order to provide for her mother and sister after the death of her father.  However, the day that we begin brings us to reaping day.  On this day, two contestants from each district, one boy and one girl, are chosen to go to the capital to fight to the death in The Hunger Games.  Each child from the ages of 12-18 have their name in a lottery.  At 12, the child has one entry and then it goes up as the age goes up.  Katniss is worried about herself, but she doesn’t think her sister would have a chance of being called, until of course, that happens.  The moment her sisters name is called, Katniss decides to take her sister’s place.  Katniss volunteers to go to the slaughter so that her sister can stay behind.  Her fellow competitor from her district ends up being Peeta, a baker’s boy.  The two are taken to the capital together.  They are styled and shown off for the entertainment of the rich all the while getting ready to be killed in the arena.  Once in the arena, the children are supposed to kill one another until the last child is standing.  Who will survive?

It’s hard not to get caught up into this adventure and survival story.  Katniss is an intricate character that grows on you almost immediately.  I loved the interactions between her and Peeta.  It was an interesting relationship to watch grow.  The action keeps you drawn in and this book is extremely difficult to put down.  As I mentioned before, I had a hard time with the premise.  My life is dedicated to protecting and encouraging children.  I find it hard to imagine children killing one another, or even being put into that situation.  That premise might have been one of the reasons why I put off reading this book for so long.  It is a brutal tale and some of the scenes are difficult to swallow.  It is not for the faint of heart or for younger readers.  As a teacher, I would judge the students maturity level before I turned this book over to them, and if I was a parent, I would read it first.

5/5 stars and I can’t wait until I get a chance to read the second and third books.

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  1. I think I liked this book so much because of exactly what you said about Katniss — she’s intricate, but lovable. Even when she’s a bit slow and can’t figure out what’s happening she’s the kind of girl you root for. My sense of loyalty to Katniss just increased with the second book.

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