There were two books keeping me sane during my wild and woolly flight back from Anaheim: Hunger Games from Suzanne Collins, of Gregor the Overlander fame... and Barry Lyga's Hero-Type, reviewed on the blog by Carlie Webber.'  Hunger Games was the one book I was determined to get at Annual, and it certainly lived up to its promise.

Hunger Games inherits the crazy premises of both Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" and Stephen King's Bachman novella The Running Man.'  It's an unholy marriage to be sure, but the result is compelling, addictive, and relatable for a generation raised on the Survivor television series.

Katniss Everdeen is the sole provider for her family, a sad trio surviving in the remnants of North America (now called Panem) in a district not known for its winners in the annual Hunger Games.'  The Games are a televised competition designed to rather cruelly remind the Panem residents that their post-apocalyptic rebellion was futile and that their subsistence economies are controlled by the whims of higher classes in the Capitol district.'  Every year, a lottery-style drawing determines which boy and girl will represent their districts in the Hunger Games, where they will fight to the death: last person standing wins food and favor for their district during the next yearly cycle.'  Katniss, who has turned to hunting and the black market to feed and clothe her sister and widowed mother, has far more entries in the lottery than usual in her effort to keep her family on the broad edge of survival.'  Things might be looking up were it not for the drunken lout who is assigned to coach her district's candidates, and Katniss' youthful debt (yet to be repaid) to her male counterpart in the Games.

We're not worried about whether Katniss can survive the Games as, after all, she's a hunter and survivalist even in normal times.'  The hook is Katniss' deep desire to sabotage the Games and teach the Capitol a lesson in class warfare they will never forget.'  Book groups will find great fodder for discussion in the question of romance in voyeuristic situations, the inequalities that the Capitol inflicts on the Panem residents in the name of keeping order, and the ethics of competition under a microscope a la today's reality television.

11 Thoughts on “Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (fall 08)

  1. Jessica Mize on July 9, 2008 at 8:19 am said:

    Huger Games is unforgettable. I read it weeks ago and it still holds on to me.

  2. I'm so glad you wrote about The Hunger Games. I wrote about it in my work blog, but I couldn't repost that review here and I will talk about this book to anyone who will listen! It was my plane reading, too, and despite getting 3 hours sleep the night before my 7:30 a.m. flight, I didn't sleep the entire way back to NJ. I just read. And then I reread...

  3. I was up until 2 am this morning reading The Hunger Games. It was amazing. I stumbled into work and immediately told the other teen staff about this phenomenal book.

  4. would you recommend this book to a 30 years old male?

  5. My entire family loves Suzanne Collins' Underland Chronicles. The eight year old son brought the first book home from the school book fair, and we went out and bought the rest. They were great read alouds that had the entire family hooked! I'm definitely going to have to find this new one.

    I just wish Collins had a better web site!

  6. Elissa on August 1, 2008 at 10:12 am said:

    I was up until 4 am last night reading this book. It's impossible to put down. It's classified under a teen book but I'm 20 years old and I would recommend it to any age. It's relatively easy to read, but the material in the book is some heavy stuff. The entire idea of the games is kind of sick and inhumane, yet this fuels Katniss's struggle to fight it and the result is just intriguing.

  7. Elissa on August 1, 2008 at 10:13 am said:

    and Suzanne Collins totally leaves you hanging at the end when she announces that this is the end of the "first" book! I hope there will be one to follow.

  8. This is a must read series by Collins! Her Underland Chronicles are so detailed, you feel like you're in it! Thanks to her, i'm now thinking of starting a book series!

  9. http://www.hungergamestrilogy.com

    There has been nothing but positive reviews for this book. Seriously, that's amazing. It's so hard to find a book that everyone likes. Maybe this will become bigger than Harry Potter?

    Interesting thought....

  10. This book realy was awesome! It was so awesome i had to put it
    in all my friends hands they also loved it....................except when we came to the end.
    how could you leave us hanging like that? WE CANT WAIT FOR THE NEXT BOOK!!!!!!!!
    -if there is one?

  11. I've read a lot of books in my life. The Hunter Games is BRILLIANT. It's deffinately in the top 20 books I've read. It haunts your dreams and captures you into every emotion. I couldn't leave the book. I was up untill 2 am this morning and I can't wait to read the sequel. Collins is genius.

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