The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

When the United States as we know it is destroyed by natural disasters and war, the nation of Panem is formed from the remains.  Panem is comprised of “the Capitol” and 13 territories (that is, until one territory tries to rebel and is annihilated).

Each year a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are selected by lottery from  the remaining 12 terroritories to compete to the death in a televised reality show.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen has hunted for years in order to provide food for her impoverished family.  When her younger sister is chosen in the lottery, Katniss takes her place and prepares to use every hunting skill and instinct she ever learned to fight the other contestants in the government-run game of survival that cannot end until just one contestant is left alive.

While Kat tries to focus on survival, she also battles her growing feelings for Peeta, the boy contestant from her territory, and questions the authority of the state-run government.

Suzanne Collins has crafted an outstanding book that seamlessly blends popular appeal with political analysis.  Surely this book will appear on most high school reading lists if not in the high school English curriculum.

This is part one of a planned trilogy.  Part two is due out in September 2009.

Highly recommended for grades 7 and up.

Update as of 3/7/2011:  The Hunger Games is indeed being studied as part of the English curriculum.  A middle school librarian told me in Fall  2010 that their school had ordered 180 copies of the book.

Today I read a post about a title yet to be released:  The Girl Who Was On Fire:  Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy. Sounds like a great set of essays which discuss the deeper issues addressed in the trilogy.

Suzanne Collins has another excellent series, Gregor the Overlander, of interest to 3-6 graders.

Awards:  Best Books for Young Adults 2009; Best Books of the Year 2008; Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror 2008; Booklist Books for Older Readers 2008; Fanfare 2008 (Hornbook); Notable Books of the Year 2008:  Children; Notable Children’s Books 2009–Older Readers; Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year 2008; Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers 2009

3 thoughts on “The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

  1. My 13 year old daughter, Alyssa, and I both read this book. We fought over who was going to read it first. (We both finished it within 24 hours of starting it). This was an excellent, “can’t put it down”, adventure book. Alyssa was captured by the survivor aspect to it and I was caught up in the psychological drama. The growing sense of uneasiness that Katniss has with the government is an excellent conversation starter with a teenager too. I was completely involved with this book and set aside other responsibilities because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. I appreciated Katniss’ willingness to sacrifice for her family, her thoughtful and realistic relationships with others, and the strong female character she displays. I am currently reading the Hunger Games for the 2nd time, because I was in such a hurry to turn the page, that sometimes I rushed through details. I think this author is incredibly talented and can’t wait for the sequel this fall. Thanks for recommending it Carol!

  2. I have now read The Hunger Games twice and it is on of the best books I have ever read! The action and suspence combined with the romance and heartbreak in this book made me read it through without putting it down.
    When I find a book that I really like I sometimes say up until 2 in the morning reading it and this was one of those books. I absolutely LOVED the character Katniss and all of the tough choises she had to make. I felt like I was right there with her the whole time in the arena.
    This book made me cry at one part. That is extreemly importaint because I hardly EVER cry when I read books but this one really got a hold of me.
    I would encourage you to read this book. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop!

  3. I cried in this book too (i’m guessing at the same place that you did). The book is so compelling, and you feel can feel the overwhelming injustice of the Capitol, and everyone that dies because of their glutenous power-trip makes you so much more determined to stop the capitol (even though you’re actually just reading a book). The feel is so incredibly real, and the love, the hate, and the tears, and the rejoicings in the characters become your own. I loved it!

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