In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlaying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one girl and one boy between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has also resolved to outwit the creators of the games. To do that she will have to be the last person standing at the end of the deadly ordeal, and that will take every ounce of strength and cunning she has.
- ISBN: 9780439023528
- Published: 2008 , Scholastic Press
- Themes: dystopian adventure, Self reliance, Self-esteem, Strong female protagonist, Survival stories
- Descriptors: Science Fiction, United States, Young Adult (ages 14-18)
- No. of pages: 374
2 thoughts on “The Hunger Games”
This book is truly one of the best I’ve read in quite some time. Suzanne Collins does an extraordinary job of illustrating a vivid and familiar world, yet horrifying within its departure from the world we know.
I think what I found most moving about Collins’ style is how it moves so easily between far fetched and eerily believable. We first picture a post-apocalyptic world that feels comfortably far away from our own, and yet as we follow these poor children into a world where murder is applauded and sensationalized on national TV, there is something that strikes a sickeningly close chord within our lives and experiences. This novel comments on so many current fears and attitudes, and I have to say it is one of the very few novels I have ever read that have actually caused me to feel true anxiety and fear for the characters. To me, that is real literature at its finest.
I feel that Katniss is an incredible character, brave, scared, beautiful, flawed, intelligent and sensitive. I love a younger female character to incorporate realistic, conflicting traits that truly embody a real person with authentic fears and issues. I feel that this book presents a fabulous opportunity for a middle school or high school reader of YA fiction to sink their teeth into a real, well rounded character, that you root for, fear for, and fight for. It is books like this that spark a jaded or frustrated reader’s interest in reading. Fabulous read!
A bestselling YA novel in the United States and Europe, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, is one of the most circulated books in the informal classroom library here in Barbados. Located in the future, it is a dystopian story with strong themes of power and powerlessness, love and fear, and life and death.
The story is set after an ecological tragedy in North America, in a country called Panem (Latin for bread). As a punishment for a past rebellion by the outlying districts, the Capital has instituted annual Hunger Games in which each district must pick two “tributes” (one boy and one girl) to fight to the death. The last tribute alive wins. The entire game, from beginning to end, is broadcast live on TV as a reality show.
The reader follows the tributes from District 12 (Appalachia in old speak), Katniss and Peeta, who, by sticking together, manage to survive the games. They do this by giving the people what they want; violence and romance. Peeta broadcasts his long time love for Katniss and wins them sympathy as this doomed affair touches the hearts of the audience. Their love literally saves their lives, except the reader is never sure if the love is real or if it is just another survival strategy.
As a reader who is interested in how childhood is constructed in children’s literature I was immediately struck by the roles the children play in this novel-they are the objects of their elders’ power and powerlessness. Every year each child must sign up for the Hunger Games’ lottery. This makes all children in every district a possible recruit, a possible murderer, and a possible murderer’s victim. The risk of losing a child to this horror works as a deterrent for any rebellion. And, by broadcasting it live on TV, the Hunger Games serve as a disciplinary measure through the spectacle of such violence.
And this book is violent. The children are forced to murder each other. Like the reality show “Survivor,” the participants form alliances and double cross each other only this game is for real. The Game Makers keep the audience titillated by throwing cruel and unusual challenges at the children. Adults, rather than feeling sorry for the tributes, cheer on their favorites, betting on the kids like people bet on horse races.
Katniss and Peeta do survive. But by surviving they are forever damned by their experiences. A cloud of doubt shadows their victory. Did they play the Hunger Games’ audience, both inside and outside of the book? Did love and the love of life really save the day? Or did the fear and the fear of death look like love?
This is the first in a trilogy that has made the author tons of money with a movie coming out soon. This is a book tweens and teens actually read and enjoy reading. While not always even, the book is well written. It deals with heavy topics wherein the kids save the day but at a terrible price. Why is it so popular? Like much of American culture it is heavy on violence and light on sex. The Hunger Games seems timeless and timely. It is heavily reminiscent of gladiator fights in ancient Rome and it is familiar to people who are used to watching people on TV kick drug habits, get divorced, and talk about their weight problems. If literature chronicles where we are as a culture, we must be in a strange place. A place young people seem to relate to.