The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
|Book Name:||The Hunger Games|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback / Audio Book / eBook|
|Genre(s):||Dystopian / Science Fiction / YA|
|Release Date:||September 14, 2008|
Being twenty-five, I sometimes wonder why I still read young adult novels. However, upon reading The Hunger Games, I didn’t find myself wondering. Collins’ story has a driving urgency that made it nearly impossible for me to put down; couple that with the cliff-hanger chapter endings…Well, it took me less than two days of reading around my work schedule to finish this off.
Personally, I am a big fan of dystopian fiction, and The Hunger Games has quickly become one of my favorites. Right off the bat, our main character, Katniss Everdeen, shows us what it’s like to live in District 12, the poorest of the twelve districts surrounding the grand capitol. Located in what was once North America, the region Katniss lives in is called Panem and every year the Capitol holds The Hunger Games. The games are basically a way for the Capitol to show the people of the twelve districts that they will never have freedoms…That their lives will never be their own.
Once per year, in every district, there is a day called The Reaping. On this day, the names of every boy and girl between twelve and eighteen are put into two large glass globes, and one of each gender is pulled. These two are known as the Tributes, and they are to participate in The Hunger Games. The object of the Games? To be the last Tribute alive, out of twenty-four.
Initially, the plot of the book is fairly obvious. Katniss is chosen to be the female Tribute from District 12; it is surmised that she will win, and live in riches and glory for the rest of her days. It happens that way, and it doesn’t happen that way. Katniss actually volunteers to be the female Tribute, after her younger sister, Primrose, is chosen. Katniss goes into the Games with a boy around her age named Peeta; mixed feelings about having to kill someone from her own district nearly overwhelm Katniss, as does a younger girl from District 11 who looks like Prim.
As I flew through the story, I stopped thinking of it as a young adult novel. While there is some romance between Katniss and Peeta, it’s very downplayed. This is mostly because Katniss has no idea what she feels for him, and there’s a boy back home, and what if she has to kill him, and… You see, Katniss struggles with showing her emotions. While very good at hiding them, it takes forever before she seems to actually open up… Once she does, though, the reader knows that she still has no idea what she’s really feeling; being an actress is skill that Katniss acquires while in the Games.
At the end of the novel, I was glad for the outcome, though I did throw the book away from me in disgust at something the Capitol does. I suppose that’s normal; it’s obvious that we’re supposed hate the Capitol, and so they do despicable things in order to make that easier for us. I definitely felt, at the end, that there was more to this story that was waiting to be told; it doesn’t wrap up all nice and neat. I’m looking forward to reading, and reviewing, Catching Fire within the next few days.
All in all, I felt that this was a great book. I didn’t feel that it was so much for young adults; I think that the theme of dystopia and death may be a bit much for younger readers to handle. However, I could be wrong! The themes of family and inner strength really make this a novel about hope; Katniss never loses her hope, even when circumstances seem grim. I think that lesson, of persevering when times are tough, is something that we could all learn from.