Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Have you ever had one of your kids tell you that you really need to read something?  "Oh, dad, you gotta read (fill in the blank)!  You'll love it!"  Oooooookaaaaay.  When my girls were little, I just shook my head and tried to be encouraging, but as I've gotten older, I've found that they are usually right.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a case in point.  I truly did love it.

My daughter, Angela read it and the two companion books while on her semester abroad trip to Austrailia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia.  She said that everyone on the trip went sort of nuts over the books and they were trading them around the whole three months over there.  When Angela came home, she bought the set for my other daughter, Andrea for Christmas.  Andrea devoured the whole trilogy over Christmas break.  Then, my wife picked up the first book and it was obvious that she was sucked right in.  In fact, I've not heard of anyone who once they'd started the story could really put it back down.  So, I finally picked it up on Sunday afternoon.  I finished the first book just before midnight Tuesday night.  I'm purposely waiting to start the second one so I can get caught up on some rest first.

Well, what is it all about?  You might be wondering.

I can't speak for the rest of the trilogy, but the first book is set in a future version of North America after the USA is gone.  It doesn't explain what happened, but rather just informs you of where you are.  In this new North America there is a new nation (Panem) dominated by a central "Capitol."  The balance of the country is divided into "Districts."  At one time in Panem's history, the districts had revolted and are now held in a harsh submission.  As part of that submission, once per year a reaping is held where one boy and one girl from each district is chosen to represent their district in the "Hunger Games."  This is a brutal battle to the death held in a vast wilderness arena.  Only one can survive, and to do so they have to kill one another until just that one is left standing...if they still can.  The whole thing is broadcast like a reality TV show to the entire country.

The story follows the experiences of one girl who goes to the games.  It is written from her viewpoint and flows with an easy, conversational style.  It moves quickly, and each chapter break leaves you hanging to such an extent that you just can't seem to stop reading.  It is sometimes brutal and violent, sometimes romantic, occasionally heart-breaking, and most often incredibly exciting.  It is laced with action, but there is no profanity or blatant sexuality.

I believe it may have been written for young adults or maybe teens, but if you like to read and you like action-packed stories with true imagination, you will love this story.  Pick it up and give it a read.

Consider The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins as recommended reading.

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