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Monday, March 24, 2008

The Hunger Games

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins

Publisher and/or Distributor: Scholastic Press
Publisher Website:
Pages: 420
ISBN: 978-0-439-02348-1
Price: $17.99
Publishing Date: Oct 2008
Reader: Bob Spear
Rating: 5 hearts

This YA is the best book I have read in the past year. In a possible future, America no longer exists. It has been replaced by Panen, a wealthy capitol surrounded by twelve districts. (It was thirteen districts until one was utterly destroyed as an example to the others) which are kept dirt poor and starving. To remind the districts they are totally under the control of the capitol, a unique levy is required every year. Each district must select one boy and one girl aged 10-17 to travel to the capitol to compete in the Hunger Games—a battle to the death of the selected youngsters until only one is left alive. The survivor’s district and the survivor are given vast rewards (money, food, and a life of ease ever after), so there is a strong vested interest in the districts participating willingly.

The tension is constant and the heroine, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, is an accomplished hunter (poacher) and survivalist who brings her outdoor skills to the games. The boy selected from her district, Peeta, claims to have loved Katniss since they were five, much to her surprise. What if they have to try to kill one another? The conflicts are multiple and deadly. The book ends with the perfect set up for a series. Its treatment reminded me of Stephen King when he wrote The Long Walk as Richard Bachman. It is a theme dating back to the days of the Minotaur. The author handles the violence in a tasteful manner, but it still is pretty intense—a book more suited to the older segment of the YA genre. This promises to be an exciting series and will be ideal for reluctant readers. We rated it five hearts.

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