If you have a teenager in your life who likes reading current works of fiction, chances are that you’ve heard of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. After its publication last fall, it quickly became the talked about young adult novel all over the literary media. Like other well-known novels that have come before, this book presents us with a postapocalyptic world and focuses its attention on the life of a young woman struggling to help her family survive. The intensity of this story comes when the central character is sent off to ‘The Hunger Games,’ the nation of Panem’s (what we know as North America) yearly competition pitting youths from each of the twelve districts in a fight for survival, with only one winner allowed. Without giving away too much of the plot, I can safely say that there are remnants of Gladiator arena competitions, tinged with reality television style spectatorship, all under the ever powerful hand of the Capitol.
This book sucked me in from the opening lines, and my heart pounded uncomfortably throughout the entire thing. To write a synopsis of the story doesn’t come close to doing the piece justice– the plot taken alone initially sounded silly and unbelievable to me, but as the characters were developed, it becomes frighteningly possible. This is not my usual go-to literary genre, and I admit to not having much experience with Young Adult fiction since the time I could still claim that identity. But, I was captivated by this story, and the voice of the protagonist gives the reader a front and center perspective, making me feel as if I were by her side as she navigated this horrific adventure. This book left me contemplating the paths that Power can take and what that does to the basic tenets of humanity.
I adored the main character Katniss. All the typical teenage character traits are there, yet they’re more often than not overshadowed by the burdens of trying to survive, both before and during the Hunger Games. She is beautifully created and her voice rings so straightforward in this novel. Violence and terror are central to the story’s plot, but the depictions remain appropriate for a middle to older teenage audience’s level.
In my book club, the idea was debated that this is the type of book that is more likely to be enjoyed by teenagers than adults… perhaps I’m just young at heart, because I was thoroughly engaged. While I didn’t know from the onset that this book was the first of an intended trilogy, as I neared the end I became curious about how the story would wrap up. I am seriously waiting with bated breath for the next installment, Catching Fire, due to be released this fall.
We are pleased to add this book to our list of 5 Star Reads.
Dawn reads anything she can get her hands on- including the bottom of a tissue box in a pinch. Her blog, my thoughts exactly, is a hodgepodge of cute kid stories, rantings, and senseless blather.