Thursday, April 30, 2009
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 2008
Young Adult Fiction (Hardcover)
Summary (from the publisher):
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl 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 been close to dead before -- and survival.
This is my first book for the Fill in the Gaps 100 Project. This review was originally published on my book blog, At Home With Books.
The Hunger Games is one of those books that everyone else has been raving about, and I am joining their ranks. It was a fast paced and intense read that will hold your attention throughout. I was in suspense while reading, wondering if Katniss was going to survive, and whether or not her friend Peeta really loved her or if he was just using her to stay alive.
The kids who fight in the games are called tributes, and their ages range from twelve up through the late teens. It is somewhat disturbing reading about these kids chasing each other around trying to kill each other, especially since their game mimics modern day reality shows in everything but the killings.
It really made me take a step back and think about the reality shows on television - the horrible things that people live through on shows like Survivor, and how the producers of the show manipulate things (like food, awards, living conditions) to make the show more exciting. Even though participation in today's shows is voluntary and there is no killing involved, I think the voyeurism of the audiences in the book is reflective of viewers today and their love for "reality" television. It really makes you think about the ethical limits for manipulating "reality."
The Hunger Games is disturbing in much the same way as Lord of the Flies by William Golding, yet I enjoyed it much more because Katniss's initial motives are selfless. She only enters the competition in order to save her sister's life.
The nice thing about this story is that it is a young adult novel. So even though the kids do fight and kill each other, the images portrayed are not overly gruesome in detail.
I highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes: an exciting read, reality television, post-apocalyptic stories, Lord of the Flies, or the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.
The Hunger Games is the first book in a series. The second book, Catching Fire, releases September 1, 2009.
For information about the author and her books, please visit her website.