Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.
The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
The first thing I want to say is this: If you have not yet read this book… if all the hype surrounding it has caused you to lose any interest you may have had in reading it, if you consider it a book that only kids would like, or if you think this book isn’t a good fit for your personal reading preferences? Forget about all of that stuff, right now. Do yourself a favor, and READ THIS BOOK. It doesn’t matter what your genre preference is. It doesn’t matter that the main characters are teenagers. If that makes you think you won’t be able to connect with these characters, trust me when I tell you that it’s not going to matter. Not even a little bit. This is a truly a book worth reading.
I’m going to be honest here and say that, due to all the hype about it, I really didn’t expect to like this book. In fact, the more I heard about how great it was, the more convinced I became that it couldn’t possibly be something that I would enjoy. And I probably wouldn’t have read it, had my son not borrowed it from the library, not for himself to read, but for me. Not wanting to disappoint him, I promised to read it, expecting all the while that I would get bored with it before I’d even finished chapter one.
I’ve never been more pleased to be proven wrong in all my life.
I was drawn into the story without realizing how or when it happened. This is a book where the story flows so smoothly, so easily, you simply don’t want to put it down. It’s difficult to describe why this is so without mentioning spoilers, and that’s something I definitely do not want to do here. I knew almost nothing about this book when I began reading it… but for a single detail (which I won’t mention here), and I wish I hadn’t known even that much because it ruined the emotional impact it might have had on me if I had not known it was coming.
So, the best way I can illustrate how incredibly good this book was, is to say this: I didn’t put it down until I finished reading the entire book. If I’d had a copy of Catching Fire available to me, I would have started reading that one immediately upon finishing this one. The story is just that good. And while I would normally recommend a book only to fans of a specific genre or author, I am recommending this book to everyone. Young/old, male/female… it doesn’t matter. This is a book that can easily appeal to just about anyone.
Author: Suzanne Collins
Title: The Hunger Games
Series: The Hunger Games #1
This review was originally published on Goodreads on April 23, 2012.