The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008)
I have to admit something. Sometimes I think YA books are just better than grown-up books. I spend serious amounts of time in the kids and YA sections of book stores. There are just as many YA books that I want to read as adult literature. It’s embarrassing sometimes to be sitting in the dentist’s office reading books meant for fourteen year olds, when I’m almost twenty two. And yet, they’re just. so. good.
But I wouldn’t be embarrassed about this one.
Joining the ranks of The Giver, Farhenheit 451, and 1984, The Hunger Games tells the story of Katniss, a teenage girl attempting to keep her family alive in the post-apocalytic society of Panem. The Capitol of Panem, in order to remind their citizens who is in control, requires that two tributes (a male and female) from each district (12 districts total) be sent every year to complete in the Hunger Games, a gladiator-style, televised fight to the death. The worst part: the fighters are all children.
When Katniss’s younger sister is selected to be a tribute of District 12, Katniss volunteers to take her place and is suddenly thrust into a fight for her life. Quickly, Katniss must learn how to compete in an arena of killers, some of whom have been training their whole lives for the honor of being victor. Brutal, horrifying, and heartbreaking at times, Collins keeps the pages turning with Katniss’ dark humor and realistic struggles–struggles that all teens go through, despite her somewhat unique situation. OH, and there’s a romantic storyline too (TWO actually), so you’re sure to get your fix of teen angst. First, there’s Gale, Katniss’ best friend from District 12, the guy who has been her companion since childhood. Then there’s Peeta, Katniss’ District 12 partner in the Games, whose affections for Katniss may just be a plot to win. Katniss spends a lot of her time confused about who has feelings for whom and whether she likes anybody. Let’s be honest–when you’re a 16-year-old girl, who cares if 23 people are trying to kill you. What really matters at the end of the day is who you’re kissing.
This is just the first book of a trilogy, so the ending kind of sucks (it’s NOT and ending, in fact), but I’m almost through the second book and I’m loving this one even more. I’m thoroughly bummed that the next one isn’t coming out until the end of the summer. What’s a girl to do?
2.5 stars (I really want to give it a three. But I just can’t quite do it.)