The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

February 28, 2010
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is unlike most Young Adult literature available today. With its futuristic setting, heart wrenching plot and though, independent protagonist, it makes for a thrilling, fast-paced read.

In the country of Panem – a land formerly known as North America – every day is a struggle for survival. Panem, ruled over by the unyielding Capitol, has been divided into thirteen districts. Our protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, lives in District 12. With her father killed in a mining accident, Katniss is left to care single-handedly for her grief stricken mother and younger sister.

We come into Katniss’ life on a day known as the reaping, the day on which tributes are chosen for the annual Hunger Games. For centuries the Capitol has held the Hunger Games to remind the districts of the power it wields. One girl and one boy tribute are chosen from each district to compete. The tributes are all thrown into the arena for a fight to the death, and the last tribute standing is declared victor. The entire event is broadcast nationwide.

When Katniss’ younger sister is chosen as a tribute, Katniss is quick to take her place. In an arena full of unknown dangers, Katniss thinks she can trust no one. Over time she learns just how warped her view on life – including the Capitol and fellow tribute Peeta – has been.

The Hunger Games brings to light the poverty so many people in the world live in because Katniss and her family live in the same state. Everyday life is a struggle when putting food on the table is so difficult. When Katniss is in the arena, she is tormented by thoughts of her family. If she dies, her family will starve without her to provide for them. Readers will realize how lucky they are to live in developed countries and not to have the weight of their family’s well-being on their shoulders, as many do in other parts of the world.

The Hunger Games is also violent, as those in the arena are bloodthirsty and will do nearly anything to survive. It calls to mind the gladiator battles in ancient Rome and mankind’s fascination with death. This aspect of the novel may act as a deterrent to some readers, though thankfully does not make up much of the novel.

The Hunger Games is a powerful and moving novel, and comes together in a stunning final chapter that will have you rushing to get your hands on the sequel.





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