The Hunger Games
I couldn’t stand it any longer after reading review after review (Lesley’s Book Nook, Bloggin’ ’bout Books & Booking Mama to just name a few) of how great this book is, so I quick got my name on my library’s waiting list and ended up with a copy of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
The book takes place in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem, or what used to be North America, which is run by the people in The Capitol. Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, one of thirteen district’s in Panem. She is a 16 year old girl who has had to take care of her mother and younger sister after her father’s accidental death while working in a mine. Her mother never quite recovers from the loss of her husband and is almost helpless to take care of her daughters. Which means Katniss, along with her friend Gale, illegaly sneak under the fence which separates District 12 from the rest of the country to hunt for food so her family doesn’t starve.
The book opens on the day of The Reaping, a yearly event that takes place in each District and is televised throughout the country. On this day, citizens are reminded of the Dark Days, when during an uprising of the districts, the Capitol defeated twelve and destroyed the thirteenth. As a punishment for their disobedience, the Hunger Games were created. Each of the twelve remaining districts must provide, via a lottery system, one boy and one girl to compete. They are then transported to an outdoor arena to fight to the death. Whoever is left standing can return home and their district will be treated with prizes and food all year long. It’s been a while since District 12 brought home a winner.
Against all odds, Katniss is horrified to see her younger, sweet sister get picked for the games and right away insists on taking her place. Along with Peeta Mellark, a boy who harbors a crush on Katniss which she knows nothing about, Katniss finds herself on her way to the Capitol and is trying to prepare herself for the fight of her life – the Hunger Games.
With a nod to one of my favorite short stories (The Lottery by Shirley Jackson) the fast-paced, edge of your seat action makes The Hunger Games a fun book to read. The book has good bones – interesting characters, lightning speed plot and plenty of heart-pumping scenes. Add a few unexpected plot twists and you’ve got a book that’s perfect the next time you are relaxing on the beach or enjoying some time on your back deck. Just make sure you have plenty of time to read, as this is a hard one to put down.
The Hunger Games is a young adult novel (for kids 12 and up) but don’t let the YA distinction scare you away. This is one of those books that adults enjoy too! In fact, due to the grisly nature of the book, I would suggest that this book might not be good for some sensitive teenagers. But if the teenager in your life loves watching Survivor and enjoys books and movies with a little adventure, then The Hunger Games might be a perfect fit.
With an ending that leaves a few unanswered questions, readers are left wanting more. Luckily the wait won’t be all that long. Catching Fire, book two in the Hunger Games series will be hitting stores in September! If you can’t wait that long to get your hands on a copy, stop by Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’ for a chance to win her ARC of Catching Fire! Oh, and I just found out via Twitter that you can download a chapter of Catching Fire here!
As for me, I snagged my own ARC of Catching Fire while at Book Expo Amercia this past May and have been saving it for the right moment to read. This Sunday I’ll be leaving on a cruise to Bermuda, so you can guess which book I’ll be taking along with me!