Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is the story of Katniss Everdeen, who lives in District 12 in a post- apocalyptic world where a central area called the Capital supplies all the districts with food. Once a year, as a reminder of the Capital’s power and influence, a teen boy and girl are chosen from each district to fight to the death with other districts in an Arena, in a huge televised event. One blogger referred to it as “Battle Royale meets Project Runway.”

I am normally not big on the post-apocalyptic setting or fantasy, for that matter (although it might be a hard argument to call The Hunger Games fantasy), however Katniss and Peeta are so interesting and engaging, that it is hard not to get involved in the plot. Katniss is a wonderful character. She is strong and smart and the reader does get a strong sense of the difficult decisions she has to make. She is a breath of fresh air compared to recent teen heroines of late; though she has difficult choices to make, she stands by her decisions and is not controlled by anyone else. Even though she is a likable character, you never get the sense that the author would not kill her off if the story called for it, which makes the story more suspenseful than if you know there is a happy ending in store.

The criticisms against reality television and the vacuity of fashion are hard to miss. It is interesting that this book is aimed at a generation who has never been without such programming.

I was really impressed by this book. It made me a little jealous because the writing of teen novels has come a long way since I was a teen. It makes me want to return to the genre. In fact, I read the next book in the series right away and I am already looking forward to the third book. I have recommended this book to many friends and it has led to many interesting conversations. Please make room on your “to read” list for this one.

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