February 18, 2012

Time to Read: The Hunger Games

After hearing so much about The Hunger Games, I finally decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about. 

As the story begins, you find out that the world as we know it... or really the United States as we know it, no longer exists.  Things have seriously changed and not in a good way.

People are living in 12 Districts and are kept under control by a government in the Capitol that doesn't want to lose that control. 


Katniss is our female hero, and she is so strong that you find yourself pulling for her even from the beginning.  Her family lost her father in the coal mines when she was younger, so she has taken on the roll of providing for her mother and her sister.  She frequently ventures outside the fences - that were erected to protect the people from the outside - to hunt with her friend, Gale.
The Hunger Games is a cruel way of keeping the people in all of the districts under control.  The Capitol requires that every child between 11-18 put their name into a drawing every year.  A boy and girl from each district is selected to compete in The Hunger Games - to the death.  This began after there was an uprising in one of the districts, that was later nuked and destroyed.

This is a world gone mad and the difference between each district seems to be extreme.  Each one produces something that the Capitol needs.  There is no communication between the districts and the television only shows what the Capitol wants the people to see.

Katniss steps up when her sister's name is pulled for her to go to The Hunger Games.  She knows that Prim would not be able to survive in that competition, and enough people care for Prim that she'd be well taken care of if Katniss were to be killed.

The boy who was chosen, Peeta, is not someone Katniss ever really knew.  They had one interaction earlier on when Katniss was trying to find food for her family.  Beyond that, they were virtually strangers, which was good news in Katniss' eyes.  She would eventually have to kill him if she was going to try to win.

As they are prepared for the games, the strategy their mentor devises is one that includes Peeta being in love with Katniss - much to her surprise.  This led to a big change in the way they played the game. 

Their time in the arena did allow them to become close, as they played to the cameras.  It's like a reality tv show, where the whole country watches as the children are forced to kill or be killed to win.  The winner of the games, not only lives but also wins additional food and supplies for their district for the next year. 
I really enjoyed the book and thought it was well written, and I believe its actually considered a young adult novel... what I found funny is that everyone who recommended the book to me was a parent who had read it! 

There is action, drama, suspense and even a bit of a love story in this novel.  Nothing over the top as far as the love story, but for some the kids killing other kids might be a bit too much for them.  If you can keep it in the context of the story, you can almost understand the motivation - no matter how awful it is.  It's almost like survival of the fittest. 

I'm currently reading the 2nd book, Catching Fire.  I will share my thoughts on it once I've finished, but it is equally as intriguing as the first one so far.  I know I'm looking forward to The Hunger Games movie and seeing if they can pull it off without ruining the story.

What have you been reading?


Note:  The links for each of the books will take you to Amazon where you can find out more or purchase the books.  If you choose to purchase via the links on this post, I will receive a small referral fee.
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Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use something please ask first.

6 comments:

Psychgrad said...

I was basically obsessed with these books over the past two weeks. I stayed up reading them, took the slow bus home from work so that I could read, and became somewhat anti-social. Now, I've read them all. So, life can resume normally. I think the 1st book was my favourite.

Robin Sue said...

Loved these books and got my boys into reading them as well. Cannot wait for the movie!

Keeley said...

I'm one of the few who was not a fan of The Hunger Games. I think the story is very creative and I can see why people find it engaging, but I found the image of children (age 12-17) killing other children on live television (while the nation is forced to watch) is too violent for my taste.

I am also surprised that this book is written and marketed toward a young adult audience. It's interesting that parents who review this book often assure people that there's not too much romance (since as Americans we are generally offended by sexuality/physical attraction), but they don't seem as concerned about the level of graphic violence (of course, our society seems to love violence - even our children).

My husband liked the first book enough, but he wasn't intrigued enough to read the others. I couldn't get through more than half of the first book before I just put it down and read the summary of the entire series on Wikipedia.

Patsyk said...

Keeley - I totally understand what you are saying. The books are not for everyone or even every young reader. I think it is up to the parents to determine if the content is something their child should be exposed to or not though.

I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts on the book... we are all drawn to different stories. I actually returned an elibrary book recently because the first few pages just didn't grab me. It was reviewed very positively by many others... but, just wasn't a story that interested me once I tried to read it.

Shelly E said...

I agree with Keeley in that I was shocked that these books were actually marketed to Middle School children. The content is far too violent, complicated and layered for middle school children. I teach HS and I question whether some of my students would be able to process some of the detailed socio-political themes that were present. Those themes kept me from sleeping when I read the first book. I felt that her publisher rushed her in too much in her subsequent offerings to layer the stories in the same way.

Patsyk said...

Shelly - I agree that the next 2 books don't seem to be as well thought out as the first. I'm now reading the 3rd book, and finding that I haven't been as hooked as I was with the first one. Just plugging along right now so I can see how its going to end.

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