Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I recommend this book for: middle and high school

Katniss lives in a future world where life is bleak. Twelve districts occupy the continent that was once North America, surrounding a capital that keeps the people in line by oppression and hunger. The dirtiest trick of all is the Hunger Games, a yearly event in which a teen boy and girl from each district are forced to compete in a survival contest - all televised for the entire country to watch. The winner gets fame and privileges for his or her district, while the losers all die. The story begins on the day when the tributes are chosen by lottery, and the girl tribute turns out to be Katniss' beloved 12 year old sister. Katniss immediately volunteers to go instead, knowing it means almost certain death.

This was a fantastic book. The concept of reality tv gone really really wrong should strike a chord with most readers - and if not, the realistic characters will. Katniss is an interesting heroine - the breadwinner for her family, determined to win at any cost but willing to risk her life for others she comes to care for - and still as confused as any teenager about her emotions.

I haven't read many books recently that made me immediately look for the sequel's release date, but this was one. It's also one I can unreservedly recommend to teens of all ages - other than the violence you should expect from the plot, it's a good clean read. I can't rant enough - just read it!

Reviews - watch out, they contain some spoilers, particularly the last one by Stephen King.

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