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The Hunger Games: Book 1

A book by Suzanne Collins.

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Best Fiction Book I've Ever Read

  • Aug 2, 2010
"There's some confusion on the stage. District 12 hasn't had a volunteer in decades and the protocol has become rusty. The rule is that onece a tribute's name has been pulled from the ball, another eligible boy, if a boy's name has been read, or a girl, if a girl's name has been read, can step forward to take his or her place. In some districts, in which winning the reaping is such a great honor, people are eager to risk their lives, the volunteering is complicated. But in District 12, where the word tribute is pretty much synonymous with the word corpse, volunteers are all but extinct." -- From the Hunger Games

Imagine North America in the distant future. It's divvied up into 13 Districts (well, make that 12--the 13th was destroyed by the Capitol when it tried to rebel). Each District creates, harvests or mines a speciality...espressly for the use of the Capitol residents (located near the Rockies). In this world, there are genetically altered animals and humans (sometimes, mashed together) called "muttations", as well as high-tech devices and machines...some that even control the weather. There is also abject poverty and hunger and disease...but not in the comfy, colorful, all-your-desires-at-the-touch-of-a-button Capitol.

Every year, to remind the Districts of the absolute power of the Capitol--and the repurcussions of the past insurgence--there is the Hunger Games. It starts with a lottery of girls and boys ages 12-18. For each year, a child's name goes in an additional time. With many hungry, children put there name in multiple times in order to get precious grain and oil to feed their families for a year. Of course, this means a greater chance to be chosen as a tribute...

What's the Hunger Games, exactly? Well, 24 children--a boy and a girl from each District--is chosen to compete to the death. Only one can survive. Tributes don't know what the terrain will be--it could be desert or arctic or forest or some other hellish landscape. The Gamemakers boobytrap the area with disasters or unleash one of the vicious "muttations" into the arena. And weapons are provided. If you can get your hand on them before being killed by a fellow tribute or land mines or other traps...

Oh, and it's televised. And it's been going on for 74 years.

In fact, each tribute can get "sponsors", depending on how the stylist makes them look during the entrance, the success of the personal interview, the score the Gamemakers give during the private exhibition before the Games, etc. Sponsorship, and the "gifts" that are delivered via silver parachute, can mean the difference between life and death during The Hunger Games.

Barbaric? Absolutely.

But somehow, author Suzanne Collins makes The Hunger Games much more than just a post-apocalyptic, dystopian YA book. Somehow, this books has HEART...even among the violence, cruelty and dispair. The main character (and she IS a heroine in every sense of the word) Katniss Everdeen wins you over almost immediately. Peeta Mellark is equally likable.

The names, the memorable characters, the descriptions, the plot, the pacing, this believable, mesmerizing futuristic North American world--everything about this book is superb. In fact, I can't remember the last time I read a real "page turner"--an honest-to-goodness, OMG, I can't stop reading, page-turner. And my husband felt the same way! He devoured both this book and book 2 (Catching Fire). And we have Mockingjay on pre-order. (I'm reading Catching Fire now. WOW. This looks to be as good as Book 1, The Hunger Games!).

Even if you can't stomach violence very well, especially with children, you will still love The Hunger Games. (My husband couldn't finish The Maze Runner and he was almost at the very end of that book. Yet, he ADORES The Hunger Games!). Having said that, I wouldn't let my pre-teen read this book. It's at the far end of PG-13--or even R. (If it were a realistic movie, it would have to be R.)

I never, ever re-read fiction books and yet, I'm longing to go back and re-read The Hunger Games already. Highly, highly recommended!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot

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October 06, 2010
Super review Janet. I've been wondering about Hunger Games ever since I saw it offered through the Vine. It sounds similar to the Running Man and The Long Walk by S. King, which I also enjoyed.  I will put it on my must pick-up list! :)
October 06, 2010
Thanks, Kort! We just finished Mockingjay, the last in the trilogy, a month or so ago. You have GOT to read them all pronto! If you liked Running Man, you'll love the Hunger Games trilogy. So superbly written!
More The Hunger Games reviews
review by . December 20, 2012
We're all familiar with the old storytelling trope about the evil empire oppressing the good guys who are helpless to do anything about it. Those actual stories, though, have one particular thing in common: They're all told from the point of view of one of the scrappy revolutionary good guys. Has anyone ever wondered about the everyday people who weren't some secret spies for the rebels? This is the dynamic that author Suzanne Collins first introduces us to in The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games …
review by . June 16, 2010
Have you ever read a book and after you finish it you want to kind of shove it into anyone and everyone else’s hands so they can read it too? This is the state I’ve been in ever since completing The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I can’t even remember where I first heard about this book. It’s easily one of the best books I’ve read all year. I’m only sorry I didn’t discover it sooner.                 …
review by . November 20, 2010
Dystopia, Big Brother and post-apocalypse are themes that have been included in novels so often that it could well be a life's work for a librarian to prepare an exhaustive catalogue of titles. But, in terms of quality, the devil is in the details and Suzanne Collins has justifiably taken the world by storm. Her novel, THE HUNGER GAMES, inspired by the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, is an innovative, dare I say unique, young adult twist on the recurring themes of violence, cruely, despair, …
review by . April 19, 2012
Told from the perspective of the main character, Katniss, THE HUNGER GAMES takes place in a future where the United States as we know it no longer exists. The book never explains exactly what happened, but years earlier there was some sort of economic collapse and global catastrophe. In the aftermath, what was once the continent of North America is now a country called Panem. In what is explained in THE HUNGER GAMES, Panem was controlled by a massive Capitol City that ruled over thirteen separate …
review by . December 16, 2010
Staying alive
Novels with dystopian themes have been popular for generations, and one of the newest, The Hunger Games, is worthy enough to merit a place among the classics. Written for teens, with adolescent main characters, the story will snag and rivet the attention of an older readership as well. The plot is straightforward: the American democratic experiment has failed, leaving the surviving population distributed among a dozen rigidly separated settlements, each region assigned to produce a specific commodity …
review by . July 07, 2010
When I first read the summary for Hunger, I had a clear picture in my head of what was going to take place within these pages: a no-holds barred, youth-oriented battle royale. If that's what you want to read, then you will get that in this book. But the beauty of what Collins has done here is that you also get so much more.      Hunger opens when the protagonist, Katniss, is chosen to participate in the annual Games, an event created by the Capitol to keep down the rebellious …
review by . November 13, 2010
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Ruthless and calculating, the Capitol rules the districts with an iron hand. Especially after what happened to District 13. But people don’t talk about that. Inside the Capitol life is a constant celebration filled with beauty and abundance, especially during the Games. Outside the Capitol, in the other districts, people live in poverty struggling to find …
review by . July 26, 2010
So my friend Sarah has been trying to get me to read this book since it first appeared in the hands of her middle school students.  She says she thinks it’s “better than Harry Potter”.  While I’m not ready to go that far, I do think Suzanne Collins has successfully created a series that is head and shoulders above the enormous pool of fantasy/dystopian young adult books that have exploded on the market since J.K. Rowling opened the floodgates.      …
review by . June 27, 2010
This is the first of the best young adult series that I've read all year. In "the Hunger Games" we see a government gone wrong. By wresting control of all life from it's constituents, the government has consigned them to a life of horror. The heroine and narrator is Katniss Evergreen, a practical, level-headed teen and the sole support of her mother and younger sister. Her father having died in a mine explosion (the family lives in a coal-mining district with an Appalachian feel, …
review by . October 06, 2010
Hunger Games and it's second part ( Catching Fire) were Christmas gifts from my boyfriend but I must admit that I haven't really heard much about them prior to last year's holiday. Once I had them all sorts of wonderful reviews started to come to my attention and I wondered: what is this book, why is it so special? All I had to do was read it to find out for myself but I read it without knowing too much of the plot and I have to say it was a wonderful way to go about it. The book was …
About the reviewer
Janet Boyer ()
Ranked #195
Author of The Back in Time Tarot BookandTarot in Reverse. Co-creator of theSnowlandDeck. Amazon.com Hall ofFame/ VineReviewer; Freelance Writer/Reviewer; Blogger; Professional Tarot Reader/Teacher; Lover … more
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About this book


The Hunger Games is a young adult science fiction novel written by bestselling author of The Underland ChroniclesSuzanne Collins. It was originally published in hardcover on September 14, 2008 by Scholastic Press. It is the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy, with two more books to come. It introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world where a dictatorship called the Capitol has risen up after several devastating disasters. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event where a ruthless Capitol randomly selects one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts, who are then pitted against each other in a game of survival and forced to kill until only one remains.

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ISBN-10: 0439023521
ISBN-13: 978-0439023528
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Teens
Publisher: Scholastic Press
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1984 (British first edition)

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