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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (edition 2008)

by Suzanne Collins

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34,553269819 (4.39)2 / 1917
readingwithtea's review
“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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If you use intensity of feeling upset as a measure of a good book, this book is a masterpiece. Good story, even though it turned my stomach regularly over what these children had to suffer through. Not sure if I want to see the movie, as I'm not sure that I can handle seeing some of these atrocities played out. ( )
  drhapgood | Jul 27, 2014 |
It was an amazing read and only thing I could say about it is why hadn't I read it earlier.

The plot of the story was excellent.Though the story always had a sad ring to it, it never really bored reader once.The showing of emotion of the characters were excellently done.It was never exaggerated but I still felt choked when Katniss volunteered to save her little sister or when Rue died in her arms.

The contrast author made with the hard lives of the ones living in Districts to the ones in the Capitol was perfect.She brought up little things or emotion or conversations to show the difference of thinking of the two levels of people.It was so cleverly done that never I felt it unreal.

And it was amazing how the author showed the feelings of Katniss to Peeta,how she puzzled over the emotions of her own whether she really loved Peeta or it was the confusion of the game.It was pretty clear that she had feelings for Gale and at the end of the story for Peeta too.And of course there was a small scent of rebellion in the air at the end.I just can't wait to read its sequel,going to start the second one right away. ( )
  sreeparna | Jul 27, 2014 |
by L (12)

The Hunger Games was written by Suzanne Collins in 2009 as the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy. The story takes place in Panem, previously North America. In the story Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take place in the Hunger Games after her sister, Primrose is chosen. The Hunger Games consist of sending a girl and a boy from each of the 12 districts of Panem and making all 24 battle to the death. Katniss receives an 11 in training after shooting an arrow through the Gamemakers food (making one fall in the punch bowl!) Katniss and the other tribute from district 12, Peeta wear flaming capes on the parade at the Capitol. That and Peeta admitting his love for Katniss made both of them the favorite to win. During the Hunger Games, Katniss teams up with Rue, a 12-year old girl from district 11 who reminds Katniss of Primrose. However, Rue dies instantly, but not before destroying the Careers's (the gang from the richest districts) food mountain (supply would be an understatement). Then the Gamemakers tell the tributes that there can be two victors as long as they are from the same district. Katniss goes looking for Peeta who is camouflaged under mud and leaves. He is badly injured. Soon Cato, the last tribute/Career dies, but it turns out the new rule was a lie. They don't want to kill each other, so they rebel against the Capitol and threaten to eat poisonous berries to kill each other. Then they return home. ( )
  sophie65 | Jul 22, 2014 |
There are very few books that I've finished in under 24 hours. This is one of them. I couldn't honestly tell you if it lived up to all the hype, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though I've never seen the movie, I doubt it could live up to this.

The writing style seems quite simple, although I believe that the story just wouldn't be as good any other way. Also, if I'm not mistaken, this is supposed to be for a younger audience, so I shouldn't have expected anything TOO fancy.

I would definitely recommend this book to any of my friends. ( )
  cebellol | Jul 22, 2014 |
So, this is one of those books where I actually saw the movie first. I have to say that, even though doing so can quite often ruin my experience with a book, that was not the case. I think they did really well handling the transference of novel to movie!

Now then, with that out of the way... hmm... thoughts.

For the style of the book, as in the way it was written, I have to say that it was very well done. The only thing is, the perspective kept throwing me off. It wasn't because it wasn't done well... it was because I've not written in that particular tense, and I wanted to study it as best I could. I got caught up in analyzing her word structure just as much as the story. Thankfully, it didn't detract from how much I enjoyed it... but it did allow me to learn something while reading - so, distracting or not, I count that as a positive of the book.

Of course, when you've seen the movie as well as the book you can't help but to do a comparison. I think the biggest thing that changed for me was the fact that I really, really liked Peeta a lot more. It was wonderful to see Katniss and her inner struggle with her emotions. That's one of my favorite things about a book as opposed to film... is that you get that inner dialogue going and suddenly you know what every expression means, every sound, every furrow of the brow. Hearing Peeta in the book, hearing the way that Katniss thought of him, the way her emotions developed with a seed that was always there... well... I can certainly say that I'm cheering for him a lot more than I previously was.

As to other things, I think that the book overall just did a better job. There were so many vivid descriptions, so many emotions that the book managed to pull off, from Katniss and her hallucinations to the way that the dogs at the end of the book were the other contestants. I can certainly say that it was one of those books that I couldn't put down. I finished it in one sitting, and i'm happy I did so - I'm also happy that I have the other two waiting for me. The story is compelling enough that I want, no, need to know what happens next.

Overall, I'd say it was a really wonderful book. Fans of the movie will realize that even that great film can't compare to how wonderful the novels are... so I'd say check it out if you get the chance, if you haven't already. I know, I know... I'm certainly behind the times on finally getting to read it. I am very glad that I did though!

-Amanda McCormick, musing about books because it makes her happy!

(Full review can be found here: http://wp.me/p4eQRH-y) ( )
  egodominustuus | Jul 20, 2014 |
Written in a workmanlike, almost brusque fashion, this is nevertheless an extremely compelling read, with some very interesting things to say about the pervasive manipulation of image in our media-saturated society. ( )
  salimbol | Jul 18, 2014 |
The Hunger Games is about a girl named Katniss who lives in a country that has been divided into 13 districts. Each year the capital holds what they call the "Hunger Games." Each district must send one boy and girl to compete in this bloody competition where only one person comes out alive. Prim, Katniss' young sister, is called forward to be sent to compete. Katniss quickly runs forward to volunteer to take her place. Katniss is a strong competitor which makes her a huge target for the other tributes. Katniss faces many challenges. But ends up in the final two. When they both threaten to eat poison berries and both dies the announcer declares them both victors.

Personal Reaction:
This was a little too much for me. I didn't care to this book as much as I have other books. However, it is a book about survival. We are all doing what we can to survive and protect the people we love.

Classroom Extension: (This is not a book I would use in a classroom sitting)
1. Creative Writing: If you were trying to survive like Katniss, what five things would you need to survive.
2. Comparison Activity: After reading the book, watch the movie and allow them to compare the book and the movie. Finding differences and similarities.
  Tarakalynn | Jul 14, 2014 |
The Hunger Games is truly a fantastic novel and deserves the popularity that it has received. It offers a blend of action, suspense, romance and political allegory and never feels as though it is taking down to its audience. The plot is very fast paced and utterly enthralling and will have you captivated almost immediately.

I only have one real gripe with the story and that is the lack of development of the supporting cast. I appreciate that this is a personal issue of mine - in the name of good story telling I would have liked to know more about them than just their names - but it is understandable from Katniss's perspective that she would want to know as little about them as possible.

I could not recommend this novel more - it really is one that everyone should take a look at. ( )
  ArkhamReviews | Jul 8, 2014 |
This is a young adult book, but I'm willing to bet that it will have readers of any age holding their breath and continuing to turn the pages. I literally did not move from start to finish. I would easily call this the best of the trilogy. If you are a fan of dystopian lit, then this is a MUST READ. ( )
  Tigerlily12 | Jul 8, 2014 |
The hype behind this series has not been unfounded--at least in this first part. Instantly engaging, I picked up the book planning to read only a little each day, and I found myself having to stop myself.

It's great on the surface level of the plot, but has great political undertones as well. I look forward to reading more about the world that they live in through later books. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
The hype behind this series has not been unfounded--at least in this first part. Instantly engaging, I picked up the book planning to read only a little each day, and I found myself having to stop myself.

It's great on the surface level of the plot, but has great political undertones as well. I look forward to reading more about the world that they live in through later books. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
I found this to be a fantastic dystopian book for teens and adults alike. Katniss and Peeta are thrust into the Hunger Games, a competition of 24 teens from 12 districts fighting to the death to remind their districts the price they paid for war and violence.This novel and series, while frequently banned and challenged fast became a cult classic. This is a very dystopian society withing the novels, but traces of the truth can be found within its pages and this leads to some excellent discussions withing the classroom. One extension activity would be to have the students discuss how the salute from district 12 is quickly becoming a symbol of revolution in countries that are currently being ravaged by war and injustice. Another activity could be to create an alternate, opposite reality to Panem and discuss the pros and cons of a completely passive society. ( )
  hellwanger | Jul 6, 2014 |
This book has a really good story line and it was put together so well. The romance in it was just rightly balanced with the action and it didn't overtake the plot like it does in many books. 5Q5P The cover art was awesome and I'd recommend this for high school and middle school students. I chose to read this book because it was popular and my brother got it for me for a Christmas present. AdrianR
  edspicer | Jul 4, 2014 |
I really love this book, it's action packed, full of romance, and is a constant reminder to be grateful for how we have life now. 5Q5P The cover art is awesome and I'd recommend this for middle school and high school students as well as adults. I chose to read this book because a friend recommended that I actually read it since I liked the movies. SadieC
  edspicer | Jun 30, 2014 |
  PamZaragoza | Jun 27, 2014 |
The whole concept behind this story still amazes me. I've never been a huge fan of this type of genre, but was won over by the unique storyline and the "love triangle." ( )
  Lauren-Smith | Jun 25, 2014 |
This book is basically what happens if you were to take the short story The Lottery and the reality TV show Survivor, add teenagers, throw in a blender, and mix.

It might be a Young Adult book with teenage characters, but The Hunger Games is really a book that defies categorization so easily, as it has appeal to pretty much every group of people. The writing is simple, but the amount of depth presented in such a short book is astounding.

Katniss is one of the most frustrating main characters ever. She's emotionally stunted, unable to relate to people, and a bit abrasive. And yet I love her and root for her, because underneath all that is the potential that Panem sees so clearly.

The way Peeta and Katniss develop through this book is one of my favorites. You take these two characters, both tragic, and give them character arcs that constantly intertwine with the added paranoia of "it's all for the cameras". Seeing how Katniss and Peeta relate to each other is one of my favorite aspects of the books, even without any romantic attachment.

Considering this book is told in first person, it's surpising how much I worried for Katniss. She has to live, right? One of the shortcomings of first person narration. And yet while she may live, it doesn't account for all the things she sees and does.

In short, this book really IS as great as everyone says it is. Trust me on this. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
Amazing, amazing, amazing. About the best plotting/pacing in any book I've read in a long time. The only minor quibble would be the characters sometimes were a little more cookie-cutter than one might like. But that is really very minor relative to the extraordinary strengths of the book. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
When Katniss Everdeen decides to sacrifice herself to save her sister from participating in the annual competition of the Hunger Games, she has no idea what she is up against. She understands from watching the Games herself that she will pitted against other young boys and girls in a competition for survival, and that all the world will be watching. Can she win them over and survive?
1 vote gfurth | Jun 11, 2014 |
This novel tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a girl who volunteers herself to participate in the annual "Hunger Games," a televised national challenge put on by the Capitol, forcing children to battle to the death in a controlled arena. This is a fast-paced, fictional novel that thoroughly captivated my attention. In fact, I read this book in one day, and read Catching Fire (#2) and Mockingjay (#3) just as quickly. There is never a dull moment, and I am certain this book can grab anyone's attention. Clearly, due to the plot line, it can be upsetting, so I wouldn't suggest any child under 12-13 read this book.
  ErinnnPratt | Jun 8, 2014 |
katniss everdeen was a girl and like most of the other people in district 12 life was a constant struggle to survive. Every year there was the hunger games and every child once they turned twelve had there name entered into the drawing one tine. katniss had to struggle through the tough training and being mentally prepared was the most important of them all. Peta a boy who was chosen for the hunger games from district 12 had a long lasting love for katnis and they helped each other in the hunger games. there was violence death and sadness in this book but in order to find out what happens in this powerful and emotional book you just need to read it and find out. ( )
  br14jaru | Jun 6, 2014 |
I could not put The Hunger Games down. I read it in one day. I can see why teens enjoy this series. With society changing and shoot-em-up video games becoming the new normal, it makes perfect sense for teens to not flinch when reading a story about 24 teenagers going in to an arena to fight to the death. Although the book has a rather grim premise, the story telling keeps you hanging on. The continent of North America has been destroyed and is now called Panem, which is divided into 13 districts. District 13 has already been obliterated by the Capital, which is the ruling power of the Districts that are remaining. Katness Everdeen lives in District 12 and is not looking forward to the upcoming Reaping, where two contestants, 1 male and 1 female between the ages of 13-18 years old, are chosen to compete in the annual Hunger Games. The Capital forces the people of the Districts to have their children compete in these games to prove that it has the ultimate power. When Katness Everdeen's little sister, 13 year old Primrose, is chosen, Katness immediately offers herself as tribute, therefore keeping her sister from having to compete. The boy chosen from her District is Peeta Mellark. Peeta had once shown her kindness as a boy and the readers find out once they are going into competition that Peeta has been in love with Katness ever since. Katness, howeve, has feelings for her long-term best friend and hunting partner, Gale. Normally there can only be one victor in the Hunger Games; however, the Capital decided that in order to not have an uprising, they would let the two competitors from the same District win as a team, since the viewing audience had fallen in love with Katness and Peeta as a couple. The District 12 competitors really shake things up and accidentally end up causing an uprising among the Districts. ( )
  natalie.loy | Jun 4, 2014 |
Great book. ( )
  weisser4 | Jun 3, 2014 |
Review was originally posted on Goodreads.

It reminds me way too much of Battle Royale, with some variations. Maybe I would have liked this book more and reviewed it for what it was, if it didn't feel like a complete rip off of another great book.. ( )
  apollymipanthos | Jun 3, 2014 |
I read this book after it got popular, at first I wasn't expecting much because everyone is talking about it. However I was completely wrong the book was not cliche it got a wonderful plot and character. You could feel what the characters are feeling and see what they are seeing. I am totally team Gale because Peeta seems like a boy who is always waiting to be rescue. Gale is the man who could protect Katniss and know her past, her thoughts, and her feelings. The movie was great it did left out some parts of the book but overall it was a great movie and Jennifer Lawrence is a great Katniss ( )
  jennywulove | Jun 2, 2014 |
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