Book Title/Author: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Book 1 of series)
Publisher/Year Published: Scholastic Press 2008
How my grubby hands got a hold of this book: Forked over the cash at Borders for it!
Why I read this book: Readers that I respect were raving about it!
Rating: 4.5 stars
This book is the literary equivalent to the reality show Survivor for me--with the exception that children are actually killing each other to survive and are there against their own will. Forget about that fact and throw in hunky Jeff Probst and I'm feeling like I don't have to wait until the next season of Survivor. Disclaimer--I'm a Survivor junky.
It isn't quite that easy to forget about the basic premise of this dystopian young adult novel. It is set in the future when North America, a nation in ruins, is replaced by the nation of Panem. Life in Panem is vastly different from life as it was previously on this continent. The Capitol is the ruling regime over 12 "Districts" and they rule with a strict iron fist and rebellion is not an option. To show their strength, they have set up the yearly Hunger Games in which a boy and a girl from each district must go to a remote location controlled by the Capitol and kill each other as *cue Jeff Probst voice* there can only be ONE sole survivor.
Enter our heroine--Katniss Everdeen. She comes from one of the poorest districts and knows a little bit about surviving. Poster child for the School of Hard Knocks. She, in a way I'll not disclose, gets put into The Hunger Games that she so despises and finds that her big heart and her street smarts conflict with her need to survive this disgusting "game" that is broadcasted throughout all districts. She is an altogether likeable heroine (despite on occasion some bad judgments & naivety ) and could easily outwit, outlast, and outplay ANY former Survivor contestants to date.
I found this one of the best YA books I've ever read. It's certainly different although some people thought it was cliched and predictable. I guess I haven't been reading any of the same books as them to feel that way. I felt it was well written and kept my interest so much that I read it all in one day. I feel like, for me, it was pretty thought provoking as I thought about the situation and how hard it would be to make the decisions that she had to make. How do you maintain who you are after something like that? How do you justify your own survival versus the lives of others?
I thought that the author did a great job with the little character development she was able to do. You get a sense of all the main characters but it's quite hard when most of the characters in the book are dropping off like flies. It the same way I feel with Survivor. You never get a sense of the characters that get ousted out in the first couple tribal councils and you forget who they are almost. In the book, you really start to get to know some of the other contestants that last a little longer and it makes it harder when they die.
Overall a great read. I will definitely be picking up the rest of the series. I'd recommend it to people who enjoy good YA, an adventure, and Survivor junkies like me just waiting for the next season! :)