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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (edition 2008)

by Suzanne Collins

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37,509286216 (4.37)2 / 2024
“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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"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 |
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is riveting with every page. This book is extremely hard to lay down. Follow Katniss and Peeta as they travel through the arena of the Hunger Games. You will be on edge the entire time. Also be prepared to keep some tissues around as there are some pretty emotional sections of this book. ( )
  davidtaylorjr | Aug 12, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick young adult read, and I was very absorbed in the story, always wanting to know what would happen next. The book was just what I was looking for: a quick read that didn't feel like total fluff. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Kept me dedicated to finish, made me think, made me uncomfortable. Loved it.

The premise shocked me, seemed so barBARic and thankfully archaic. Wait a minute....then why am I so interested? Why could I hardly wait for the games to begin? Why did I feel that the characters were well-developed yet I didn't cry when any of them died? Because I set myself up to see them die--I was in the "game" mindset. Basically, I introspectively realized how I was more interested in the games, even chuckling when the gamemakers used a new strategy to make it more interesting (ultimately leading to more "tribute" suffering) and thinking that this was just like the Survivor reality show I used to enjoy (first season), and I was embarrassed by this realization.

I, who watch no television, could see where I would be in this world if it were real. I'd be equally in two places: watching the show as entertainment (apparently more desensitized to violence than I thought I was), and feeling that it's totally wrong. My thoughts and my actions would be in conflict, but of course it's the action that counts. So, this book shines light on my own lack of integrity as a human being. Great.

This book illuminates the worst of human nature in a way that does not leave the reader messed up, and I recommend it to anyone who loves:

Shirley Jackson's "Lottery"
The Uglies trilogy
stories of survival

Looking forward to the sequel.

( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
Okay FIRST off, "The Hunger Games" is one of my favorite opening books to a series of all time. Suzanne Collin's amazing world building, detailed craftsmenship, and aweing writing style pulled off this masterpiece of a novel.

"The Hunger Games" is based in a futuristic North America called Panem. "Panem" is latin, it's English translation means,"bread and circuses". The Hunger Games was inspired by ancient Rome and humans obsession with gruesomeness. In the novel, "The Hunger Games", tributes aged from 12-18 are selected for the Hunger Games to fight to death until one tribute remains. Kind of like how slaves we're forced to fight back in the Roman time period.

"The Hunger Games" is also based off people's obsessions with reality TV and how, we, as humans, are slowly desensitizing violence. Suzanne Collins once said that part of the idea of "The Hunger Games" came from how they televised the Vietnam War. People were watching actual, physical, war. For ENTERTAINMENT.

These deep underlying concepts are what makes it so good. Because yes theirs a love triangle, yes theirs an awesome female heroine, yes there are some sassy lines, but what y.a. book now adays doesn't.
This book is different, it MEANS something. It points out the faults in our society. How, if we're not careful, we could end up as Panem. It makes you stop and think about how you can help change the world. This book is the biggest inspiration I've ever had and it is a hero in itself. I hope it changes the world.
Thankyou, and may the odds be ever in you favor. ( )
  Rebecca_Rose | Aug 1, 2015 |
Young Adult, dystopia, might be good to look at in a government or civic's class. ( )
  ElaineZhang | Jul 30, 2015 |
Foods I ate while reading The Hunger Games:

-popcorn (popped in coconut oil and seasoned with vegan butter and brewer's yeast)
-a bowl of blueberries and strawberries sprinkled with cacao powder and sliced almonds
-a tangerine
-a microwaved frozen gluten-free dairy-free burrito
-a muffin made of almond flour, sweet potato, bananas, and eggs
-a handful of red grapes

Books I neglected while reading The Hunger Games:

-Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
-Living with Intensity by Susan Daniels
-The Irony of American History by Reinhold Niebuhr
-The Histories by Herodotus

Things in spite of which I enjoyed reading The Hunger Games:

-present tense
-comma splices
-split infinitives
-feeling nauseated reading in the car with someone wearing really strong cologne
-wondering why Katniss doesn't mention her period while in the arena

Days I have to read the rest of the trilogy before my summer class starts: 14 ( )
1 vote ImperfectCJ | Jul 29, 2015 |
Now I understand why this book is so popular. It has an engaging hero and a quest and a love story and an evolving story of self-discovery and growth. The writing is so appropriate. The author has created a voice that is a marvelously transparent creation. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
If you enjoy dystopian fantasy, this is a great book for you. It takes place in Panem which is what is left of the ruins of North America after a huge war. The government is housed in the Capitol which is a wasteful and shallow place and it is supported by twelve districts of poor and starving people who support the needs of the Capitol in return for not being killed. As a post-war condition, each district must send one boy and one girl to appear on an annual reality television show where the participants fight to the death. Our heroine, Katniss, volunteers to fight in order to save her sister. You won't be able to stop rooting for her as she navigates the game!
  flackm | Jul 21, 2015 |
Science Fiction
6th grade and up
  josephla | Jul 18, 2015 |
Not interesting really. Slow. Predictable. Too similar to Divergent. Katniss is basically Tris and vice versa. The movies were better.
  mateideyr | Jul 17, 2015 |
Just as Sig had to make a choice between violence and passiveness, so to did Katniss in Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games. While this novel is in a different genre, the parallels in the choices the characters had to make in order to survive are similar. ( )
  Melina_Hiatt_Easter | Jul 16, 2015 |
From the official book description “In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The 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 is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.”
I hadn’t planned on reading this series, but once again was convinced by friends and family that they thought I would enjoy it. I did! Ms. Collins has given us a black and white world of good and bad populated by characters that I wanted to cheer for. After suffering in the arena with Katniss and Peeta, being equally enthralled and repulsed by the Capitol and anticipating what would happen when they returned to District 12 I didn’t want to stop reading. Classified as young adult, this book will appeal to readers of every age. Ms. Collins has penned a griping story on its own, but look a little deeper and there is a lot to learn. I can’t wait to start the second in the series.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Excellent young adult (or any age) series. Books 1 and 3 are best, but all good. ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Jul 13, 2015 |
I had a hard time getting into this book, but it intrigued me enough to want to read the sequel. I like Katniss's character, but the futuristic society of blood-hungry sadists is very disturbing. ( )
  LoriCrane | Jul 13, 2015 |
I found this book to be really gloomy. There's a constant battle for survival which feels horrible. I tried reading it but it feels sad and depressing. So I'm not going to rate this book even though I didn't like it.

It's because even though the story is depressing I like the author's writing style and it wouldn't do the book justice if I gave it a 2 rating.

WRITING STYLE: 5/5 Loved the way the story is told. Flashbacks, thoughts, events etc. Just right. No diverging unnecessarily.

STORY: 3/5 Sorry but it's dark and depressing for me. I only read a few chapters so can't really comment on the whole book.

CONCEPT: 5/5 Very original plotline and background setting. It makes you wonder that if such a situation arose then would people really act the way they were acting in the novel. Would society end up being like how it's brought out here. ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
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 is forced to represent her district 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 weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
*I saw the movie and had to buy the book. I read this book in less than a week. What a unique story and wonderful characters.* ( )
  imakittycat | Jul 8, 2015 |
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