The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars ("Amazing!")
Absolutely fantastic. Amazing. Gripping. I couldn't put it down!
Katniss, our protagonist, lives in a post-apocalyptic society. Years before she was born, a war raged and resolved, leaving in its wake the broken system currently in power. The Capitol is at its heart; ironically, the Capitol itself has no heart, as it maintains control of the states by mandating the annual play of The Hunger Games, in which each state must surrender one boy and one girl to fight to the death. Katniss lives in one of the poorer states, and Kat works hard every day to support and provide for her mother & little sister. When her sister is chosen for the Hunger Games, Katniss steps forward to take her place, determined to provide safety for her sister & mother. What unfolds is a riveting tale of cunning, survival, and power - both evil and good.
The first 25 pages or so seemed like they might be cliche ("Dystopian YA, like that hasn't been done before"), but once Katniss got to the Capitol, I was convinced this was anything but. Hunger Games is definitely a new classic - one of those rare YA books that could transition well into the classroom, as The Giver, The Outsiders, and Catcher in the Rye have done before it. Speaking of classroom lit, I think this could be beautifully paired with Fahrenheit 451; really, anything with a theme of man vs. society would work (1984 and Cuckoo's Nest also come to mind), but especially F451 due to the concerns of the individual and technology/reality TV.
Katniss's voice is captured expertly in her straightforward, down-to-earth diction and syntax. I think just about anything else I could say of this book would be repetitive of the many many glowing reviews already out there. Read it.
And have book 2, Catching Fire, on hand. And pre-order book 3, Mockingjay, which is released in a week.
Topics Discussed: Family, Loyalty, Dystopia, War/Violence, Corrupt Society, Power of Individual...there's a lot.
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