This review was originally published on Goodreads on April 23, 2012.
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
Published: September 14th, 2008 by Scholastic Press
About the Book
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.
About the Author
In 1991, Suzanne Collins began her professional career writing for children’s television. She 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 Rankin/Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! with her friend, Peter Bakalian, which was nominated for a WGA Award in Animation. Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days,and a freelancer on Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author and illustrator 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 fantasy/war series, The Underland Chronicles,which became a New York Times bestseller. It has been sold into 21 foreign territories.
Her next series, The Hunger Games Trilogy, is an international bestseller. The Hunger Games has spent over six years to date on The New York Times bestseller list since publication in September 2008, and has also appeared consistently on USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. It has been sold into 56 territories in 51 languages. In 2010 Collins was named to the TIME 100 list as well as the Entertainment Weekly Entertainers of the Year list.
Lionsgate released a film adaptation of THE HUNGER GAMES on March 23, 2012, directed by Gary Ross who also shared screenplay credit with Suzanne and Billy Ray. It broke multiple box office records and went on to become the 14th highest-grossing North American release of all time on its way to generating nearly $700 million at the worldwide box office. Lionsgate released the second installment THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE worldwide on November 22, 2013, directed by Francis Lawrence from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael DeBruyn and bringing back stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Willow Shields, Paula Malcomson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci and Lenny Kravitz along with new cast members Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone and Jeffrey Wright. It was the highest-grossing domestic box office release of 2013 and the 10th highest-grossing domestic release of all time. Lionsgate will release THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 on November 21, 2014 and THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 on November 20, 2015, also directed by Lawrence. All four films are being produced by Nina Jacobson of Color Force and Jon Kilik.
In September 2013, Suzanne released a critically acclaimed autobiographical picture book, YEAR OF THE JUNGLE, illustrated by James Proimos. It deals with the year she was six and her father was deployed to Viet Nam. It has been sold into 12 territories in 11 languages. Her first picture book, WHEN CHARLIE MCBUTTON LOST POWER, about a boy obsessed with computer games, was illustrated by Mike Lester and came out in 2005. It has been sold into 4 foreign territories.
Her books have sold over 100 million copies worldwide.
Author photo and bio via author’s website.