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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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What gives a book series cult status? Is it a captivating universe? (Think Harry Potter.) Is it unforgettable characters? (Think Sherlock Holmes.) Is it the transfer from book to screen? (Think Lord of the Rings.) Answer: all three, plus that winning quality of brilliance.

America's recent cult book series is The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. These days, especially with the movie, it's rare to find a teen who isn't familiar with its basic premise.

For those who actually haven't read it yet, I'll give you a rundown of the first book (aptly titled The Hunger Games): In a post-apocalyptic dystopia with a Big Brother-esque government, fierce 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen is forced to participate in a savage, fight-to-the-death game with 23 other teens. It is like gladiators except the fighters are teens, there are mutated beasts roaming in the wild, and quite often brains do triumph over brawn.

But that barely touches on all the topics addressed in The Hunger Games. The gladiatorial Games are broadcast like a reality show, where spectators cheer for players' successes and gruesome deaths. It's “Survivor,” literally speaking.

The government that runs the Hunger Games is both ­deceptive and vindictive. The Games have been held for 70 years, so what happens when tradition – no matter how ­despicable – is challenged?

The novel's most chilling and intriguing factor is its relation to modern society. Like 1984 and Ender's Game, it ­depicts a futuristic society but reflects the present. It might be written simply, but its themes and descriptions of ugly situations are not kid-friendly. The level of insight and social warnings surprised me; it showed a depth I wasn't ­expecting.

This book is grim, but it warns of what might happen if today's problems are taken to the extreme: a controlling ­government, the growing ­morbidity of entertainment, survival in a cut-throat situation – the list goes on.

Another aspect which has catapulted this series to popularity is its fiery protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. Though we may become frustrated or disappointed by her choices, she is an admirable, strong character. At the start, she volunteers for certain death in order to save her sister. Katniss is undeniably smart; she knows how to act in front of the audience to gain viewer support. Though she can be ruthless, she's certainly not heartless, as shown following another tribute's death. She has qualities we ­respect: loyalty, determination, bravery, and strength. Plus, she's a female who can win her own battles.

I wasn't prepared to like The Hunger Games, but I found that it's one series that isn't overrated. Both captivating and intense, Collins's The Hunger Games will enthrall readers with its fast-paced action, not-so-subtle admonitions for the future, and an unsinkable, ­undaunted heroine.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 5 comments. Post your own!

AlabianThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Sept. 2, 2013 at 12:59 pm:
Good writing! I agree with everything you said. I'm glad this was published in the magazine so that everyone can see it! :D
 
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Akari_CThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jun. 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm:
Great review! I thought it was very fitting and thoroughly descriptive. Your writing flows extremely well and the opening is captivating. Well done!
 
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TaylorWintryThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 10, 2013 at 7:22 pm:
I really liked this! I always disagree with moms who withhold their kids from watching/reading The Hunger Games. (If it's because of the violence, I understand, but I have a different reason.) I think that they should know what could happen to our society/country/government. And something as chilling as this basic "Survivor" should scare them into trying to change the world! I really am a big fan of the book as well, and your writing is so captivating. Nice job, serkously
 
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Vagialena said...
Jun. 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm:
Good job!! Your writing is great, but I just have a different opinion... I don't believe this book is a phenomenon... The writing is not so qualitative and I just think it is something temporary, far away from Lord of the Rings or Sherlock Holmes... With all due respect! :)
 
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IMAdreamerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm:
nice review!!! i didn't understand like two  of the words though... wierd, i love knowing words that other people dont and then teaching them the words, its fun....
 
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