Wednesday, June 29, 2011
YA Sci-Fi: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Acquired: borrowed from a friend
Read: for my library's summer teen book club
Reading time: one day
From GoodReads: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
My review: I've held out on reading The Hunger Games for a while despite my love of dystopian fiction and all of the hype surrounding the series. This is probably due, at least in part, to all of the hype, because I have mixed opinions about the reading tastes of others and I was afraid the series wouldn't be as good as everyone says. I was expecting the first book to be either absolutely astounding or incredibly bad, and, upon reading it, I've found that it's much, much closer to the former description. The plot grabs readers in and keeps going, managing to draw out the arena games for 2/3 of the novel in a way that easily keeps readers' attention without being melodramatic or trying too obviously to keep the action moving. Collins' writing, storyline, and characters are tight, with very little seeming at all out-of-place, too thoroughly fleshed-out, or distant from the audience. I wish she had gone into more detail as to how North America had turned into its new society, but this is really more of a personal preference for reading dystopias containing societal commentary (though there were some scenes reminiscent of Lord of the Flies). The characters and setting weren't what I expected; Katniss isn't your typical dystopian heroine, and the Appalachians aren't your typical dystopian location. Overall, an exciting, good read. I think my library has the sequels, or barring that, some of my friends might...
My copy of this book was borrowed from a friend and was first published by Scholastic in 2008.