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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (edition 2008)

by Suzanne Collins

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37,944288116 (4.38)2 / 2046
“Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games”

For those few people left in the world who haven’t read the book or seen the film… Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, the most deprived of the districts of Panem. When her younger sister is selected as a sacrificial tribute to the Hunger Games, a TV show run for the amusement of the Capitol and the suppression of the districts, Katniss runs to take her place. Once she gets there though, she will need all her instincts and wit, not just her honed hunting skills, to survive.

The most obviously positive aspect of this novel is the choice of protagonist. Katniss is not perfect, and she knows it. Highly skilled, by all means, diligent and hard-working and caring for others, certainly. But she is proud and headstrong and thinks she knows best in every situation and is cruel to both Gale and Peeta – and best of all , she recognises her own failings. Collins could easily have chosen the gentle giant Peeta, with his superior charm, world wisdom and general all-round goodness, to be her protagonist – the Ellie Linton of Panem. Harry Potter had failings but wasn’t really aware of them. Bella… well we all know that Bella just sits around waiting for Edward or Jacob or some other lovesick demon to kiss her. So I was impressed both by Collins’ courage in giving Katniss non-trivial character flaws, but also granting her the wisdom to see them and how they might impact others.

The other characters are very strong as well – and Collins hits the mix of development neatly. Peeta is in some ways more complex than Katniss, and we can’t help but like him. The rest of the characters are fairly one-dimensional, but that is all that is required for the plot to progress. Because we’re stuck in Katniss’ head, we only learn about the other characters as she considers them, which is a neat way to make Peeta’s actions more mysterious.

The plot? Well, I’m not usually a sci-fi fan. I’ve steered clear of the YA craze for dystopia. But I read all but 30 pages of the book on a two-and-a-bit-hour train trip and couldn’t wait to have a chance to finish it that afternoon. I was rapt. Collins hit just the right mix of sci-fi and today’s world that it was a different world (and one that was very hard to pull myself out of!) without being a foreign one. We spent enough time in District 12 setting up Katniss’ character, her bitterness, her difficult relationship with her mother, the dynamic with Gale and the total malnutrition. Then off on the train to the Capitol, and there is lots of time for the Katniss-Peeta thing/non-thing to be a thing, and then into the arena. Where it is no holds barred – and yet not grisly. Or maybe I don’t notice these things.

Highly recommended. ( )
  readingwithtea | May 26, 2012 |
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Superb ( )
  Steve.Davies | Nov 27, 2015 |
This book certainly lived up to all the hype!

I wasn't too keen on reading this book as it under the "dystopia" genre, and I generally am usually not impressed with those kind of books but The Hunger Games was completely different to what I was expecting.

The story is so absorbing it is literally impossible to put the book down, the only things I could possibly grumble about were the use of the mutt mutations of all the fallen tributes. !?! too far-fetched for my liking, and also Kat's complete unawareness and denial of Peeta's feelings towards her. That annoyed me.

Regardless, the description and story was AMAZING - and all the different characters were really developed and engaging. I can not wait to read the rest of the series!

Right, now to watch the movie adaptation! ( )
  KittyBimble | Nov 26, 2015 |
This book had beyond exceeded my expectations. After hearing all of the hype for so long my expectations were already set pretty high but somehow Collins exceeded them. This book has you at the edge of your seat and has you hooked until the very end. The balance between romance and action is very well done as well. It is a unique story that plays off of so many different emotions! It is a great read! ( )
  teddysiegel | Nov 5, 2015 |
The book is always better (of course) but in this case, the movie had no chance; as a film medium, it just can't get the same message across. In the book, we understand that Katniss is playing things up for the camera, that everything she feels/does is filtered through the lens of being watched and fighting for her life, and that she's disgusted by the audience watching her -- all things that are nearly impossible to convey to... well, an audience watching her. Jennifer Lawrence actually does a fantastic job conveying the right blank-face disgust and terror.

I've held back on watching the other movies, because I don't want to spend the rest of the series comparing the two (hey, it worked for LotR!)

If you liked the movie, you'll like the book. It's got a little of everything: fighting, survival, romance, a little bit of a psychological thrill (like a spy novel), family drama, and pageantry -- but definitely heavy on the fighting and survival.

Fast-paced without being ridiculous or confusing. The romance elements are honest and don't have any real resolution.

It's nothing groundbreaking, but I really appreciated the detail and honesty given to Katniss' relationships -- they're allowed to be conflicted and confusing. She doesn't understand the motives behind her own actions, especially when it comes to Peeta.

Least favorites
Suddenly werewolves? Or something? I can see why they cut that out of the movie.

Writing style
Easily accessible, descriptive, just the tiniest bit cheesy. Lots of flashbacks. ( )
  Andibook | Nov 2, 2015 |
The Hunger Games is about children from the age of 13-18 who compete in a fight to the death. The choose a boy and girl tribute from each of the twelve districts and put them into the fighting arena.When Prim is called to fight her older sister volunteered to save her. Katniss, the older sister,is forced to pretend she is in love to save her family. This entire competition is hosted by the president named Snow. Katniss is also assigned a mentor named Haymich who helps her in the arena and helps her get sponsors.

In my opinion, The hunger games is a very good book. It is filled with action. The entire book is an emotional roller coaster. When your favorite character wins or doesn't it is heart breaking.
  jaylinnk.b1 | Oct 30, 2015 |
Do you like action? Well if you do, you will love this novel. It includes action, survival, romance, and emotion. Katniss(the main character) is a regular girl that lives in the poor district twelve. Every year, all twelve districts hold the anual Hunger Games competition. Each district will choose two representatives. One girl and one boy to compete in the hunger games. Katniss's sister, Prim gets chosen.
Katniss is probably the best sister ever. She takes Prim's place. Katniss will join Peeta Melmark(baker boy) and fight to their death. If you love action you will love this book. Join Peeta and Katniss in this outstanding novel. If you enjoy this book, there are two more for you right now, waiting for you to read them. I think the first one is the best.
  jnewell1234 | Oct 29, 2015 |
This book was very entertaing and taught about how are world could be if we kept withe the wars.It was a book that deserves five stars.
In this book a girl named Katniss is in a dystopian world where every child from one of the 12 districts has to go to a death match called the hunger games. Her sister is called to do it but she volunteered for her. She has to go into an arena and fight to the death. She has a companion that came with her and a mentor. She has to survive, and at the end. Her and her companion get through and have to fake suicide to get out of the arena. They are in a victors village that all of the victors go to. She is happy for a little while. ( )
  ZaneH.G1 | Oct 27, 2015 |
One of the best Y/A books I have read – what a fantastic concept with deep, believable characters and perfectly paced build up, suspense and action. I was really drawn into Collin’s world and avidly followed the cast of goodies, baddies and “not-sure-yets”. ( )
  garethmottram | Oct 27, 2015 |
The Hunger Games was an amazing story for juvenile readers. The plot was enticing and thought-provoking and the characters were believable and relatable. The Hunger Games focuses on a dystopian society in which the government has extreme rule over the population. The plot is so enticing and keeps readers on the edge of their seat as Katniss Everdeen fights against 23 other "tributes" for her own life. The plot really makes readers really think about the future and how things may change. A thought-provoking novel like this is perfect for the readers in 5-8th grade. The characters in The Hunger Games are the best part about it; throughout the story they become very well-developed and readers feel like the can relate. I particularly learned to love characters like Prim and Rue and I feel as if students would also learn to relate to them. I also think that the character relationships developed in this story are perfect. The sister relationship between Prim and Katniss models a strong family for readers, and the deep, lifelong friendship that Katniss shares with Gale shows students how to be a friend. The big idea of The Hunger Games is that you should always stand up for what you believe in. I loved this book and I think it would be perfect for young readers. ( )
  CasieProdoehl | Oct 19, 2015 |
Jeg var lidt nervøs for om jeg ville kunne holde af hovedpersonen, men jeg må sige at jeg faldt for Katniss. Historiens set-up er ret fortænkt, men der kommer en god underholdende fortælling ud af det og jeg hyggede mig med læsningen. Har man set filmen får man præcist det samme i bogen. ( )
  perdalum | Oct 19, 2015 |
@hunger_games +library ( )
  Lorem | Sep 28, 2015 |
I enjoyed reading this book even though I was pretty sure I knew how it was going to end. I liked the combination of a dystopian world and a protagonist that was a strong and determined woman. I didn't like the premise that all tributes had to kill one another until only one would remain. I got past my objection and just determined to read this story for fun. This novel held my interest enough to make me want to read the next book in this trilogy...but didn't leave me in any particular rush to do so. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Sep 18, 2015 |
The Hunger Games is enthralling. Katniss is forced to kill or be killed and struggles with the choices she has to make in order to survive. She has to fight against her enemies in the arena and those in the Capitol that control the games. She must work with Peeta, who is her ally from District 12, and together they must navigate the arena. Ultimately, they'll have to decide what to do, because only can survive.

I find it impressive how well the author balances all the elements of this intricate story; there is violence, but the heart of the story is family, friendsm love and the fight to protect all of those things. The characters and relationships are all skillfully crafted. Katniss is a believable heroine. She is an ordinary girl forced into extraordinary circumstances and she has to rely on her skills and her wit to survive. She doesn't have the luxury of being superficial and that gives her a good point-of-view. The narration is believable from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old girl, but it is mature and tasteful and does not undermine the intelligence of it's readers. The real-world parallels are ever-present, but the subtlety in the message further proves how smart the writing is.

The Hunger Games is one of my favorite books, it is truly incredible, a must-read. ( )
  rawrrbot | Sep 15, 2015 |
I'm finding it takes me awhile to warm up to these books when I first start reading them (I read "The Hunger Games," now I'm working on "Catching Fire"), but when Ms. Collins gets involved in the conflicts in the relationships between the characters, that's when it gets interesting. Katniss Everdeen, like a lot of teenage girls, can be very annoying, but I guess that's part of her charm.

I read this for pleasure, and pleasure it gave me, so no complaints there. No earthshaking revelations, either. A nice way to pass the time. ( )
  harrietbrown | Sep 13, 2015 |
I must say that the book gives a better insight to the characters than the movie did. I was reluctant to read it because I feared it was going to be like Twilight, but I ended up enjoying Collins' writing more than I expected to.
This book is a strong start to the trilogy, and I am looking forward to read the rest of it. Hopefully, the sequels live up to the first part. ( )
  DoctorFate | Sep 9, 2015 |
It was a good adventure book ( )
  epotter89 | Sep 8, 2015 |
"About six years ago, one of my friends read The Hunger Games and told me that I should read it. At the time, all the Twilight hype was on its acme, so I was very reluctant to read anything teenagers were freaking out about. Years passed, I saw this books become this huge franchise with movies and everything, so I couldn't help wondering: is it, perhaps, worth reading? Last year I finally gathered enough courage to read it and I can say: well, it did live up to the hype. It wasn't my favorite book of all time, but I enjoyed it. Katniss is so aloof and disdainful of so many people that I could really relate to her a lot. There were several moments that really stood out to me with their greatness, like when Katniss tells Peeta the story about the goat.

The idea of the Games and the society that Collins has created also has lots of room for imagination. There are plenty of moments when I caught myself wondering what would be my response to some situations; I would pinch myself some fifteen minutes later, feeling like an idiot for having wasted so much reading time. The idea of a group of kids fighting each other to the death worrying about starving while also worrying about the cameras watching them was interesting.

There are a couple of clunkers in there too. Even though I understand this book isn't about mythical creatures nor science fiction, I don't like how random new creatures aren't described until they appear. Also, for a book about teenagers forced to kill each other, I was surprised at how few people Katniss killed and how she kept her hands clean the whole way through. I will have to mention here how distressed I got at this fact, since it reminded me of Harry Potter too much. Come on, a hero who overcomes the darkest challenges without being corrupted by murder? She could have made Katniss a little bit more agressive; that would have been totally ok by me.

Collins was also a bit heavy-handed with one of the morals of the story. Isn't it awful how people in some districts are starving and people in other districts have abundance? Yes, I got it the first time. Yes, I get that it's like the gap between the rich and the poor in the whole world. You don't need to emphasize the message every three chapters.

One last thing I noticed was that I didn't think Peeta had any redeeming qualities at first, and then was pleasantly surprised by his skills and behavior. As the book went on and I saw how much he cared about Katniss, I learned to like him more. I was really surprised by the end of the book and also a bit taken aback at how it manages to finish the Games, yet still end with a cliffhanger. Overall, I really liked it mostly because of its originality. The characters, at the beginning, felt a little shallow, but I changed my opinion about it once I stopped mentally winning about it and just kept reading the story. The author develops them well enough, even if it goes slowly. The lessons about human's obsessive, even if subconscious, pursue for control and power were also put into the plot considerably well, so I give it 4 stars.

Interesting quotes that I didn't include in the review:
You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.
Stupid people are dangerous.

The Last Passage
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Peeta extend his hand. I look at him, unsure. “One more time? For the audience?” he says. His voice isn’t angry. It’s hollow, which is worse. Already the boy with the bread is slipping away from me. I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, and dreading the moment when I will finally have to let go." ( )
  AdemilsonM | Sep 2, 2015 |
I listened to the bulk of this in one massive 15 hour car ride between DC and FL. It was exactly what I needed while I was driving at 2 AM on very little sleep. The narrator was fabulous, the plot kept me very engaged, and I really wanted to know what happened next. ( )
  wisemetis | Aug 28, 2015 |
RGG: First in a sci-fi trilogy with the main character a strong-minded teenage girl able to survive the ultimate survival game. Great read if very violent.
  rgruberexcel | Aug 27, 2015 |
Faz o que se lhe pede: conta uma história e agarra o leitor sem cair em fórmulas saturadas. ( )
  Ritinha_ | Aug 26, 2015 |
I think the only reason this is a four star review instead of five is because some of the tension of the story was automatically dispelled because I know this is the first of a trilogy. This reading was about the how rather than the what, which was enough to grip me. I have a feeling this trilogy will have the same arcs and themes as the Uglies-Pretties-Specials books, which I loved, and which carry a very similar dystopic message. I look forward to reading (and seeing) how the story plays out. ( )
  karenchase | Aug 20, 2015 |
Now I know why all people were recommending Hunger Games left and right! One of the good books I have read this year! ( )
  bookandink | Aug 19, 2015 |
As with the Harry Potter series, I resisted reading these books when they first came out, but after seeing the movies I wanted to give them a go. I devoured them, all three right in a row, barely pausing between or during (though I did re-watch the second movie after I finished the book, and was struck again at how decent the adaptations are).

It actually seems fairly difficult, in the aftermath of just having read all three, to review each volume separately; I'm sure that would have been simpler if I'd put a bit more space between them (or, of course, read them as they came out). The story works so well as a coherent whole, it just makes sense to think of the three as a unit.

Great, powerful look at a brutally dystopian world far too real for comfort. ( )
  JBD1 | Aug 18, 2015 |
Following the example of fellow readers (Katie, Christina and Becky), I decided to try some juvenile fiction. I read a review of this book in The Week, but it was not available in the library so I opted for one of the author's earlier books Gregor the Overlander. It was so-so, the first of a series, but I was not tempted to read the next one. (There is only so much of giant spiders and cockroaches that I can handle.) I'm glad that did not discourage me too much. I waited for this book and it was different. I am usually not into science fiction, but I read it in one day. It takes place in a futuristic dystopia, formerly known as the United States. An annual lottery determines which children participate in the "game." It makes TV's Survivor seem tame. Since this was called Book One, I assume there will be a Book Two and I plan to read it. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
saw the movie, of course, and so decided to listen to this fiction book. Glad I did because it was pretty darn good: good content, great narrator. Worth a listen whether or not you've seen the movie. ( )
  marshapetry | Aug 13, 2015 |
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