Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Young Adult
Reading Format: Audiobook narrated by Carolyn McCormick
Reading Challenges: 3 for 100+ in 2010
I could write a one word review for this book: Amazing. It might seem strange for me to be saying this the first week of January, but I can already tell the this will be one of the best books I will read this year, and I'm adding it to my list of favorites. Someone asked me a while ago why I read Young Adult novels. The answer is that there are books out there like this one. If all you know of the Young Adult genre is the Twilight novels, then you haven't even scratched the surface.
The Hunger Games takes place in an unpleasant and somewhat bleak future. The country of Panem is situated in North America, and consists of a decadent capitol surrounded by twelve poorer districts that are strictly controlled by the government. At one point, there was an uprising against the government which was put down, and in retaliation the government instituted the Hunger Games. Each year a boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen by lottery from each district. These "tributes," as they are called, are transported to the capitol and placed into a massive arena that is controlled by the game makers. Once in this arena, the tributes must fight to the death, until one remains. The Hunger Games are nationally televised, and the entire populace of each district is forced to observe the life and death struggle of these children for the entertainment of the degenerate capitol citizens. The lottery is stacked against the children of the poorer districts, as they are often forced to trade additional entries into the lottery for food and supplies.
Katniss, the main character, is a 16 year old girl who lives in district twelve. From the age of 11, after the death of her father, she has provided for her mother and younger sister, Prim. Against all odds, 12 year old Prim is selected to enter the Hunger Games. Katniss volunteers to take her place. Katniss soon finds herself transported to the capitol, in the company of Peeta, a boy whom she only vaguely knows but to whom she feels she owes a debt. She knows that the only way she can keep her promise to return to Prim is to kill without mercy or hesitation. Now if she can only forget that she is now hunting people instead of the rabbits and squirrels that have sustained her and her family for so long.
This book literally grabbed me from the first few lines. I devoured it. In fact, enjoyed it so much that even after listening to the audio book I purchased a copy for my permanent library. The action is almost continual, but there is also plenty to ponder in this novel. I can't recommend it highly enough. I only suggest that you have the second book handy when you finish! I don't know how I am going to wait until book 3 comes out.