18 November 2008

"The past was dead, the future was unimaginable." ~ from Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell

Collins, Suzanne (2008). Hunger Games. NY: Scholastic Press. 384 pages.

I LOVE a good dystopian novel. Big Brother, corrupt governments, citizens rising to overthrow the dictatorship, conspiracy theories. It's all just a little too close to home, minus the nuclear winter, and it feeds into my paranoia nicely. Think "The Lottery" meets "Running Man" for teens and you have Hunger Games.

The story takes place in Panem, what's left of North America. Split up into 12 districts, each with it's own specific gross national product, some are more wealthy than others. However, all twelve are equal in that once a year they must send one boy and one girl to fight in the Hunger Games. A fight to the death that leaves one winner. A televised event that the whole of Panem is forced to watch.

Katniss is my kind of girl. It didn't happen over night but eventually it sank in, they would starve if Katniss didn't step up after her father's death. She gets up each morning to hunt and forage for food to feed her family knowing full well that her mom and little sister would have been dead long ago if it weren't for her. She's managed to avoid being picked for the games so far. Unfortunately her little sister isn't so lucky and is picked in the first year of her name being added to the lottery. Katniss isn't about to let her little sister die and takes her place instead. I'm not going to go into any more detail about the plot because I don't want to spoil anything. The author does a really good job of not giving all the gory details but at the same time it's pretty gruesome. How could a fight to the death among teens not be!?

I'm not really sure how I feel about the romantic aspect that takes place in the story. It's okay in this book but this is the first in what will be a trilogy or series and I just can't figure out where the author is going to go with this. I like it as a stand alone book. I'll definitely read the next one to figure out where the story is going to go but right now I don't have a clue.

I would booktalk this book with something like, "What if you had to support your family? What if you couldn't just go to the grocery store but instead had to hunt and forage to survive? What if you lived in a place where your every move was monitored and you couldn't voice your opinion for fear of being taken away and never seen or heard from again?" A good book for older teens. Maybe 10th - 12th grade.

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