Friday, August 28, 2009

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (2008)

Reviewer: Trixie Belden

Rating: 5 Pierogies

The Hunger Games is one of those books that when you finish, you feel sad because the story is over and you will never be able to read it for the first time again. I read this book in two days and I am now disappointed in myself for not having slowed down to savor it. Let this be a warning for future readers of The Hunger Games – do not allow yourself to speed-read through this book or you will regret it later!

I am happy to report that The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic America and the main character – Katniss – is from an area that was once known as Appalachia. The main industry in her poor region is coal mining. Based on these clues, I decided that Katniss was probably from Pittsburgh – no wonder she was a smart, strong, and compassionate girl! Suzanne Collins’s nod to Pittsburgh (at least in my imagination) definitely set me up to love the book.

In the Hunger Games, 24 children are taken by the government every year and forced to participate in a reality television show where they fight to the death, leaving one child alive and victorious. After the government randomly selects Katniss’s little sister to participate, Katniss makes the ultimate sacrifice and volunteers to take her place in the game.

While playing, underdog Katniss must “outplay, outsmart, and outlast” her competitors. I loved the premise of this novel and learning about how Katniss played the game – her strategies, friendships, alliances, etc. Suzanne Collins succeeded in being descriptive, but not too descriptive in a way that would have interrupted the fast pace of this novel.

I found The Hunger Games to be extremely engaging and addictive. I highly recommend it as an entertaining and thought-provoking read. I also note that while this book is categorized as young adult, I found that it easily crosses over to an adult audience. Its sequel, Catching Fire, comes out September 1, and I plan to be at Barnes and Nobel first thing in the morning on September 1 to pick it up.

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