The Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins
Published by Scholastic Press
Where the North American countries once stood now stands Panem. Panem is ruled by a central capitol city located somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and it is surrounded by 12 districts. At one time there were 13 districts; they banded together and rebelled against the capitol. The rebellion was quelled in districts 1-12 and for good measure the Capitol completely destroyed district 13. As a reminder to the districts not to rebel again, each year the Capitol puts on a violent reality TV display called the Hunger Games. Every year each district chooses a boy and a girl, by way of a name drawing, to participate in the games. These 24 children are taken to the capitol fed, dressed, trained, and then placed in a large outdoor arena (seemingly miles across). The object of the games is simple – kill or be killed.
Katniss is from District 12, Appalachia, She is sixteen and has endured the fear of having her name pulled many times. She like every other youth from 12 has no desire to go to the games, and she prays that she won’t get picked. When the unexpected happens and an unlikely name gets called, Katniss will actually volunteer to go in order to save another’s life, knowing that she will likely die for this choice. Of course, while she thoroughly expects to die in the games she has no intention of giving up. Even though contestants are treated like animals it might just be her humanity that saves her.
Suzanne Collins “Hunger Games” is an absolutely amazing work of YA Fiction. Some call it steam punk and others call it dystopian, but whatever you call it, be sure to call it awesome and riveting! The hunger games gives off a historical feel in the beginning with the people of district 12 working the mines, hunting for food, and just trying to scrape out an existence with little in the way of modern technology. Quickly though, the district is juxtaposed against the futuristic world of the Capitol where there are hover cars, instant food, and futuristic fashions and cosmetics. To see our protagonist adjust to this is interesting to say the least. More enjoyable though is to find a character that is so complicated. Katniss is selfless and yet fiery and calculating. She is what she thinks she is not, a survivalist.
This is an absolute must read for teens. It has everything adventure, suspense, science fiction, and even a little romance. I am going to get started on the second book in the seriese (Catching Fire) Immediately!