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Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Published by Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: 2008
Genres: Action & Adventure, General, Science Fiction, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 374
Format: eBook
Source: Library

After abandoning the book the first time I tried to read it because of the premise of kids fighting to the death, it surprised me how much I enjoyed this book.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.”

My Thoughts:

What can I say about Hunger Games that hasn’t already been said? Well, probably not much. I can tell you that the first time that I tried to read it, I was appalled at the thought of reading about kids killing each other. I didn’t see how it could be enjoyable when in this day and age, I cry every time the news shows a story about a child being killed or something like Newton that shakes me to my core. It’s a parent’s biggest fear to lose their child and I couldn’t believe these killings were a “game.”

I gave into the hype and the pressure of my oldest son who said I had to give the book another try. If it’s one thing I try to teach my kids, it’s that they should try food, activities and the like twice before deciding. I guess that one came back to bite me as my son said I had to try and read it a second time before judging the book.

I admit, I’m glad I read it and it is one of my favorite reads of 2013. If you don’t already know, the book is about kids aged 12 to 18 that are forced into the Hunger Games once a year. They fight one another to the death until there is only one left standing. TV cameras are hidden throughout the arena so that each kill can be televised and fans can cheer on the person from their District. Katniss (a 16 year old girl) and Peeta (an 18 year old boy) are the participants from District 12, the poorest of the Districts.

Before the Games, Katniss has to fight for survival in her home district to hunt down food for herself, her mother and her sister. During the Games, she still struggles to survive against richer District athletes who are trained for these gruesome events. To add to the confusion, Peeta confesses during the Game that he’s had a crush on Katniss since he met her. Is it the truth or is he just playing the Game to get more fans and a better chance at a sponsor who sends them gifts to help them win? Katniss doesn’t know who to trust since she knows there can only be one victor who returns home to his or her family.

The story is very emotional, the bond between Katniss and her younger sister Prim who she saves from the Games is endearing and heart-breaking. The friendship that develops between Katniss and Peeta blurs the lines of love. They make a convincing couple on the TV screen for the fans but what are their true feelings?

It’s a book filled with suspense and surprises. I can’t wait to read the next installment. Hunger Games reminded me very much of Divergent which is the first YA book that I read and loved. I’m Team Peeta, I always fall for the nice guy, how about you?

Favorite Quotes:

“You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.”

“Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray
Forget your woes and let your troubles lay
And when it’s morning again, they’ll wash away
Here it’s safe, here it’s warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.”

“Rue, who when you ask her what she loves most in the world, replies, of all things, “Music.”

Disclosure: This review contains my honest opinion of the book. Purchases made from the IndieBound or Barnes & Noble links above will give me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support of my blog should you decide to purchase.

Have you read the book or seen the movie? How do you think they compared? What other book to movie adaptations did you enjoy? Happy reading!

About Suzanne Collins

From Goodreads: “Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days.

While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author James Proimos, who talked her into giving children’s books a try.
Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland, she was struck by how pastoral the setting must seem to kids who, like her own, lived in urban surroundings. In New York City, you’re much more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole and, if you do, you’re not going to find a tea party. What you might find…? Well, that’s the story of Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part series, The Underland Chronicles.

Suzanne also has a rhyming picture book illustrated by Mike Lester entitled When Charlie McButton Lost Power.
She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard.

The books she is most successful for in teenage eyes are The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. These books have won several awards, including the GA Peach Award. “

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  1. That is so cute that your son turned your lesson back on you! I’m glad he did though, this is one of my favorite books. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It deals with tough subjects, but it’s a very worthwhile read, in my opinion. The killing is not really a game — it’s a serious problem in a society with a corrupt, oppressive government and I think the whole series is really well done.

    1. Hi Christine, yeah he’s a smart cookie. I’m glad he did too. You are right, it’s quite a commentary on society and government. I can’t wait to read the next one. So many good books, such little time! Happy reading!

  2. I’m so glad you loved this book. I did too! I was with you, the premise was nauseating, and I didn’t think it was something I would like. I read it for my book club, otherwise I probably would have passed on it. It was so well done and compelling that I just couldn’t put it down.

  3. I loved this book too, and the next in the series. I hope you can get hold of it, it’s worth it. The third I didn’t like, though. I have yet to read Divergent.

    1. Thanks Judith for weighing in, I do hope the book comes in soon. Divergent is very similar in nature to the Hunger Games and not sure which one I like more. It’s a very close call. It might be Divergent just because it was the first YA dystopian novel I read, although the second book,Insurgent, wasn’t as good for me.

    1. I haven’t read the Maze Runner series but I put it on my to-read list. I’m liking YA more than I thought I would! Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. This is my favorite YA series ever, and yes that includes the Harry Potter series. Suzanne Collins does some amazing things about governments, politics, environments, rules, mob mentality, our current cultural obsession with reality TV and so much more. Katniss is one of the best female leads in literature, and her journey through the three books will absolutely amaze you and break your heart.

    1. Hi Michelle, that’s quite a bold statement for someone who enjoys YA 🙂 You’re right it is an interesting commentary about our obsession on reality TV. I’m not much of a reality TV watcher as I mentioned in my Liebster Award post. Its amazing how our society has become “desensitized” to violence and news is filled with murders, violent crimes and tragedy on a daily basis. It’s too depressing. My son tells me that Mockingjay is the best of the Hunger Game Series and that Catching Fire wasn’t as good as the other two, what do you think?

      I haven’t read Harry Potter yet but that’s because I’ve seen all the movies. I hear though that the HP books are different from the movies so maybe I will give it a try. They would help me with the Book Blogger Reading Challenge. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Michelle!

  5. I loved the Hunger Games and couldn’t stop reading them. I think I finished all three in less than a week? I love Katniss and find her to be such an awesome heroine!

    1. Katniss is an impressive young woman and her survival instincts are amazing. I really can’t wait to get the next book and patience is not my best virtue!

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