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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (edition 2008)

by Suzanne Collins

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38,442289416 (4.37)2 / 2070
“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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Wow! This book grabbed me from page one and wouldn't let me go till the end. The Hunger Games are an annual reality tv event set in the future. While the games resemble the "Survivor" tv show, the stakes are much higher. Losers don't go home; they die, on prime time tv. The contestants don't volunteer; they're chosen by lottery, so they are literally fighting for their lives! The main character, Katniss Everdeen, is tough and resourceful. Like all good reads set in the future, this book made me think about our society, and reality tv also. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Feb 11, 2016 |
A very gripping story, which I raced through, but there were problems. I didn't feel it was written very well on a grammatical level, which irked me. But also though the plot was great, I felt there was often a failing to fully exploit the tension of the event happening. I would still read the next two though, so it gets the job done. ( )
  ellohull | Feb 10, 2016 |
I never review books, but I just have to say I LOVE this book. I stumbled onto it and it blew me away. I cannot wait to tear into the next two in the series... ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 10, 2016 |
My wife says this is NOT a young adult novel. She's a librarian with a graduate specialization in youth literature, so I believed her even before I read it. Having now seen the brutality myself, I understand her critique that, really, the only reason this isn't considered adult fiction is that the protagonist is a teenager. Which is a pretty stupid reason to pigeonhole a book into an age group, publishers.

But then I try to imagine this novel as an adult book -- or, at least, one seriously marketed for adults -- and I can't quite see it in that light, either. The story is terrific, the themes classical, the violence (while, frankly, pretty tame) tense, and the sexuality (VERY tame) intriguing. This book was definitely a page-turner, and I found a lot to like here in terms of plot and character.

But the writing is plain, cliché-ridden, and rather pedestrian. That surprised me. With the rave reviews of the book, I've expected more complicated prose. With the comments and criticisms about all the violence, I'd expected hard, gut-wrenched descriptions. With the complex science fiction universe unfolding in this series, I'd expected some evolutionary cleverness with the syntax.

Okay, sure, Katniss is a hard-as-nails young girl from a poor District whose prose might not be very florid (though that doesn't stop the "simple-minded" country folk in Faulkner's work or Hemingway's war-hardened manly men from expressing themselves poetically). And yes, the violence is plentiful and often vivid (though it's no Cormac McCarthy). And yes, there are definitely some good plays on language, like the Seam where Katniss lives or the Avox whose tongues have been cut out (though these simple wordplays never rise to the level of Rowling or Tolkien or even Joss Whedon).

Still, for all my disappointment, I fully acknowledge that it's MY disappointment, and not necessarily a short-coming of the book. I simply expected more. And to the book's credit, I was eager to return to it in my downtime, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series just to find out where this world and these characters go next. And really, what more should I ask of a novel, whether it's for adults or teens? ( )
  Snoek-Brown | Feb 7, 2016 |
For such a long time, these books have been sitting on my shelf. I've tried to get an answer as to why I haven't read The Hunger games earlier. I can only guess I acted upon the bits pieces I picked up everywhere. A lot of them - if not most, were related to the movie(s) and feared "the Disney level" would be too high for me to like.
I have never been more wrong! Even though I knew how 'the games' would end (Come on, everybody does!), it did not have any influence on how I enjoyed reading Suzanne's Collins work. Absolutely gripping and thrilling - especially when you realize it actually isn't much different in the world we live today! Can't wait to find out what more Collins' got in store for us and Looking very forward to read Catching Fire! ( )
  NinaCaramelita | Feb 7, 2016 |
A great read. This isn't exactly original - the storyline reminded me of Battle Royale.
It was engaging though. I liked Katniss' voice and cared about what happened to her and her family. Peeta was a bit soft and the love tangle storyline a bit predictable. I never for one minute doubted that they'd both survive though but despite this the book still succeeded in creating suspense. All in all, compelling and enjoyable. Can't wait to start the 2nd book! ( )
  Laurochka | Feb 6, 2016 |
There is no denying the fact that Suzanne Collins is a gifted writer and Hunger games is a well written book. But somehow,the whole premise of this trilogy did not work for me. Hunger Games as an instrument of oppression of the masses seemed so flimsy that I could never take the travails of the tributes seriously enough. 'This can never come to pass' was the constant background chatter in my mind and I was unable to suspend believability of the plot long enough.
I AM going to read the entire trilogy though, because my teenaged daughter is totally enthralled by the book and wants me to read it too :) ( )
  _amritasharma_ | Feb 5, 2016 |
Ssshhh... don't tell anyone, but I actually quite enjoyed this book. Katniss is a much more worthy heroine and 'role model' then Twilight's Bella. At least the girl can save herself. ( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
After months of hearing about this book, I finally neglected my studies and responsibilities to read it. It was pretty much what I thought it would be—fast paced, intense, intriguing, and fun to read. It was fairly predictable and the present tense bugged me, but other than that, I don't have many complaints. This is the type of book to read if you want to take a break from reality and lose yourself in a different world.

I'm not sure why I enjoy putting myself through this book so much. It's not exactly a "fun" escape read, but it's diverting, entertaining, and thought-provoking nonetheless. ( )
  AngelClaw | Feb 3, 2016 |
Narrated by Carolyn McCormick. The extreme ultimate in reality competition TV: The losers die. I wouldn't suggest this for sensitive readers (the game participants are children and the deaths are slow and painful) but readers who love action and suspense will churn through this riveting novel. Reader Carolyn McCormick's voice truly sets the dystopic scene, using appropriate tones of urgency, gravitas, compassion and occasional humor. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
My daughters love it! Once I read it, I understood. A powerful female protagonist. I found the book to be well written with a fantastic pacing. I highly recommend this book for kids from 12 up. ( )
  Dband54 | Jan 26, 2016 |
A gripping and clever look into an all-too-believable future when reality TV preys upon the economic desperation of the masses to create a deadly spectacle. It may be asking too much, but it would have been interesting to make the characters a little more complex/conflicted. And like any Hollywood movie (and yes, the movie is coming soon), it's the minor characters who get killed off, one by one. That said, this is a wiser book than a first glance would suggest. Katniss' recurring questions about what's real and what's meant for the performance is worth pondering in both cultural and psychological contexts. And, yes, I'll most likely read the rest of the trilogy. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
A gift from a friend. Ugh, kids killing kids. ( )
  Greymowser | Jan 23, 2016 |
One of the best books I have read in a long time. I literally could not put it down. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. ( )
  joyhclark | Jan 20, 2016 |
In District 12, Katniss is a girl who lives with her mother and younger sister. She is perfectly content with her life until the Hunger Games comes along and her sister is choose to be a tribute. Desperate to save her sister, she volunteers to go in her sister's place. After a few days of pampering, Katniss is set out along with the other tribute, Peeta into the Hunger Games. A few days in, Katniss meets a young girl from District 11, named Rue. They become friends and try to survive the Hunger Games together. Sadly, Rue is killed by the Marvel, the male tribute from District 1. As she dies, Katniss sings her a song from her childhood. After Rue's death, Katniss comes across Peeta, who is very wounded. To get supplies, Katniss attempts to get sponcers by pretending she and Peeta are in love. They manage to win the Hunger Games together, but when they are informed that only one can win, Katniss and Peeta try to eat poison berries which quickly change the minds of the capitol. After the victory, Peeta and Katniss get into a fight about their love, leaving Katniss to think whether or not it was real.

I loved this book because it was exciting. It kept me on my toes and was hard to put down. It held sadness, friendship, and adventure in every page. This is one of the best books I've ever read. I recommend this book for readers of all ages. This is why I gave this book 5 stars. I loved it all the way through. ( )
  TessW.b1 | Jan 20, 2016 |
Having watched the movie first, I was apprehensive to read this book. I loved the movie, and I didn't want to read the book and find out the movie got it all wrong. But it didn't! It goes into detail of how a country reacted to a civil war that occurred. I was emotionally invested in this story. I felt like I was from one of the districts and they called my name at the reaping. My stomach churned every time someone else died in the arena. A weight lifted off my shoulders as the winners of the Hunger Games were announced. I think that students would love this story as well!
This story happens in a made-up country, but I still think it would make for a great discussion for the repercussions of war. Why did the Capitol need to remind people of the war they had? I would have students come up with a different way for the Capitol to "punish" the districts. Students could present different ways that the situation could have been handled, because even in the real world, there are wars. If we bring it to students attention that how you react to war can be just as important as the war itself, then if something similar occurs in the future, they can have an idea of how to respond. ( )
  MareeTos | Jan 18, 2016 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its action packed content. I never felt a dry moment or a "I wish I could just move on" moment when I was reading it. This is one of those books were you feel like you just don't wanna put it down. Suzanne's writing is great as she painted a great picture of the scenery of this interesting society. I also thoroughly enjoyed the characters and their fascinating stories. The transfer from flash back to present was also distinct and smooth. This book defiantly exceeded my expectations and I understand why it is doing so well.
  dickards | Jan 17, 2016 |
This was the best book I've read in a long time. I thought it was going to be dark but it was well developed and fun to read without having so much drama that it was hard to read. ( )
  cygnet81 | Jan 17, 2016 |
WOW! I avoided this for ages due to all the hype around it - I normally feel that books with a lot of hype are actually a bit weak and mass-market but this had me totally gripped from the first page. The plot evolves around the central character Katniss who volunteers herself for the Hunger Games in order to save her little sister. The Hunger Games are a trial to the death by 24 candidates and Katniss has to use all her wits to try and stay alive. The emotion and constant feeling of being on edge is written into every page, and while you are pretty sure about the ending, you can't be certain. Definitely recommending it. ( )
  sashinka | Jan 14, 2016 |
Please note my review contains possible SPOILERS

In a communist society known as Panem, citizens are kept in control by the government using a method known as "The Hunger Games". In The Hunger Games 12 girl and 12 boys aged 12-18 are rounded up and sent in an arena to fight to the death. This fight is regarded as a kind of gameshow and is televised to the entire nation. What happens when one 16 year old girl volunteers to save her little sister?

This book is a reread for me as I want to reread the trilogy before the final movie is released in November. I found myself trying to savour it at the beginning and then being captivated and reading late into the night when I couldn't wait to see what would happen next (which was rather amusing because I already knew). I was annoyed when I found a continuation error in the book but got over it and decided to just enjoy it's good aspects. I found it very interesting to read this book after having studied the Cold War and understanding more about communism and that feeling of control. To me this book was more than just someone trying to fight for her life, it was an interesting view at a society that turned its people on themselves in order to keep a so called "peace". This came alive to me particularly when Katniss said things like "District 12, where you can starve to death in safety" and when she spoke of the fact that she was pretty sure they were changing historical fact but she didn't have time to be concerned about such things because she was too busy keeping her family alive.
All together a gripping and fascinating read that I would highly recommend. ( )
  Stella-T | Jan 14, 2016 |
I read this book for the first time when the craze was only just beginning. The book had been out and about in the world for a couple years, but I daresay it only really caught on with the release of Mockingjay. Not to say it wasn't popular... it just wasn't a worldwide phenomenon. But I digress. I chose specifically to read this book again after the release of the movie because I spent far too many of the Harry Potter movies griping over every little missing piece that I forgot to enjoy the movie in and of itself. But to be honest, I think that the filmmakers did an excellent job and even if the story had been fresh in my mind, I believe I would have enjoyed it nonetheless. But I've already done that comparison, and this is about the book, not the film.

I enjoyed the book just as much the second time through as I did the first. I had to force myself not to devour it with the same hunger (no pun intended) as I did the first time, because it caught me just as much as it did the first time. As a writer, you know you've written a truly remarkable book when the reader cannot put it down during the re-read. I also noticed a lot of details I didn't the first time through, and found myself either grumbling at the Captiol or laughing at a snide little comment often.

As with the first time I read it, I had difficulty being in Katniss' head. I know a lot of people liked this, so this is just a personal nitpick for me. I just don't like her particularly in the books. She's moody and cynical and ambivalent and cold. Naturally, it is her situation (in life generally and the present) that has made her that way. But that doesn't mean I have to like her. Maybe I'm not supposed to. After seeing the film, however, I felt less aggravated with her. The film, obviously being in third person, gave a good distance for me, reminding me what Katniss says verses what she thinks. Like all of us, she is entitled to an onslaught of negative thoughts... but it's what she chooses to express that defines her to the public eye. The distance made her feel more real to me while reading this through the second time, and I was definitely less aggravated.

As for the love triangle... no movie, no re-read can make me change my opinion. Knowing how the books end still made me a little smug as I was reading, knowing that I correctly called the relationship. "Calling" things is one of the most fun parts of reading a series for me - the guessing and drawing possible conclusions (not just about relationships, but the entire book) and then finding out whether or not you were correct... that's part of the fun of reading any book, and there are lots of ways to be involved in The Hunger Games.

So worth the first read? Absolutely. Worth a re-read? Definitely. Would I read it yet again? Without a doubt. I recommend this to anyone who reads. Except possibly those who prefer romantic dramas, and only that. I feel like this book is genuinely filled with things that will appeal to a wide variety of readers, both of age and interest. Brava, Suzanne Collins! ( )
  Morteana | Jan 10, 2016 |
I thought this book was amazing. It was fast-paced and filled with action. I read this book in basically one sitting with an nap in the middle (granted it was during an 18 hour drive). It's the kind of book you can't put down. The plot line is fairly predictable, but there are still points where you want to throw the book screaming because it just not fair. While the books storyline is great, Suzanne's writing is also amazing. She draws you into the world flawlessly and holds your interest throughout the entire book. She also transitions smoothly back and forth between the present and flashbacks. Many of her characters are interesting and have fascinating stories. Since the book is written in a first person perspective you are always aware of Katniss's thoughts and feelings. Also for anyone familiar with mythology and Rome the Hunger Games feels like a combination of the fourteen youths who were sacrificed to the Minotaur in the labyrinth anually and the Colliseum.

As much as I loved this book, not everyone will love it. If you don't want to read about violence and death I suggest you steer clear of this. While death is always sad I think in this book it is especially depressing since children kill children. I have seen some people say that this book is just about violence and death, but I think ultimately it is a story about putting others before yourself and love. ( )
  RickyHaas | Jan 5, 2016 |
Not a fan ( )
  danni281 | Jan 5, 2016 |
This book exceeded my expectation. It's not too YA, though I am certain that the next two will be.
I don't want to praise this book because others reviews made a good work with it. But there are bunch of ideas that were not convincing. The most epic fail were mutants. It was really really over the head. Especially the thing that they were some kind of zombie-werewolves made of dead game ***. Next one is an economic diversification. One district -- one product? But it means that one district is responsible for all others in this particular product. For example, District 11, agriculture. They must have damn good harvest to feed all others. And the last not very convincing part is a prehistory. The Capital looks too advanced compared to others. It's common dystopian trope, but this book doesn't give enough explanation to it, enough causes. ( )
  aviskase | Dec 29, 2015 |
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