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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (edition 2008)

by Suzanne Collins

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39,041293116 (4.37)2 / 2106
“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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Katniss Everdeen, a resident of post-apocalyptic Appalachia, volunteers to take her little sister’s place in a government mandated fight to the death. Readers new to this genre will probably think this is one of the best books they have ever read. The link with reality television shows certainly gives it an immediacy that other books of this type lack, but I doubt it will become a classic.

Why? I have been struggling to write a coherent review of the book because Katniss, the narrator, is so shut-down emotionally it is hard to feel a connection to her. I think readers will remember the action sequences but will not be as deeply attached as they are to other strong teen protagonists like Menolly in Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey or Romilly in Hawkmistress by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Small quibbles about the plot aside, it is a very good read that will doubtless become a hit movie.
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
Well, this was amazing. An incredibly strong, female protagonist, and probably the one in literature with whom I most identify as a human being? I think yes. Collins made me know all of them, love all of them, want more of all of them. Haymitch, Peeta, even Effie. Little Prim, poor Rue - I was moved to tears by this book. Sheesh. I suddenly understand the hype. God, it makes ME want to rise up against the Capitol! I've heard a lot of people complain that these aren't well-written, or aren't pleasant because they're in first-person. I'm ususally not a fan of first-person narration, but it really works with Katniss - because the Games are so immediate we MUST be in her head. And I feel as though I've read enough to be able to tell when something is well-written or not, and I really, really enjoyed this. Nothing made me cringe, felt out of place, felt over-written or under-written. I give Collins an A and cannot wait to get my hands on Catching Fire. (Seriously the end thoguh? I was just like KATNISS LOVE HIM ALREADY, LOVE HIM! These two need to communicate more and better. Sheesh. I'd love Peeta in a heartbeat.) ( )
  Kristin_Curdie_Cook | Apr 29, 2016 |
Took me a little to get into, but once I did it was unputdownable. ( )
  Kristymk18 | Apr 22, 2016 |
I never planned on reading the book, it didn't entice me to want to read it. And now i can't believe how much I loved it, I didn't know I would enjoy reading it so much. A very interesting story on the dystopian concept. To be honest I decided to read the book because I wanted to watch the movie but I couldn't bring myself to watch it before reading the book, I will at least read the second book first if not the third before watching it. Hope i'm not disappointed, the writing flowed and it never slows, it was exciting and intense. On to the next now. ( )
  GigisIrieReads | Apr 20, 2016 |
This is an excellent novel because of the high responsibility and importance held by the teens and children in this novel. It is also enjoyable because the regions or districts accurately depict many cultures of the United States.

This would be a great book to teach in coordination with a classic dystopian novel set in futuristic United States such as Fahrenheit 451 in a high school English class. A compare and contrast essay or project would be a great accompanying assignment.
  MagLuCliff | Apr 15, 2016 |
This is one of my favorite young adult dystopian novels. The portrayal of the characters and the horrors they must endure, all while the capital makes a spectacle out of them is a horror that could become all too real. Students always think it will never happen, so I bring up the Gladiator fights. Sure, they might not have been children, but it's a thin line that a society walks when killing is made a sport. Katniss is one of the better female protagonists because she is strong in her own right and values family above all else. She is also humble if not nieve at times which makes her relatable. This book would work well in a dystopian unit within the classroom. ( )
  Dtate2312 | Apr 11, 2016 |
I found myself feeling completely repulsed by the premise and purpose of the Hunger Games and yet was undeniably compelled to discover the outcome. The future state of the world presented in this novel causes us to question if this could be a future reality for our own world. At first only sympathetic to circumstances that we can reject as impossible, it doesn’t take long to realize that these characters could easily be any of us or our future offspring. As the story progresses and we relate to the roles and politics of Panem, we’re faced with admitting the possibilities of a similar future should we neglect our nation’s progress.

The Hunger Games trilogy is a powerful, revolting, captivating, and horrific work of science fiction offers enough relatable content that it lends to rich, meaningful conversations regarding government, warfare, historical atrocities, future planning, and purposeful pursuit and participation in intelligent citizenship. Aside from your own inspired use of this trilogy, there are a plethora of lesson ideas available, starting with the publisher’s teaching Resources & Tools (http://teacher.scholastic.com/resources/hunger-games-for-teachers/), which offers discussion guides, videos, games, downloads, and more. There’s also a Hunger Games Lessons page (http://www.hungergameslessons.com/) that offers everything from coloring pages to weekly free downloads. The Los Angeles County Office of Education offers a Summer Novel Study Curriculum Guide (http://www.lacoe.edu/portals/0/lacoe/jcs/hunger%20games%20curr.%20guide.pdf) or you can check out the historytech blog (https://historytech.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/8-hunger-games-lesson-plans-resources-and-activities/) offering 8 Hunger Games lesson plans, resources, and activities. The Web English teacher also has a variety of resources (http://www.webenglishteacher.com/hunger-games-lesson-plans.html). ( )
  frozenteacher | Apr 10, 2016 |
I was surprised to find how captivating this book was. For awhile I had resisted reading this book, because the premise (children fighting for survival and even killing one another) sounded unpleasant to me. However, I found that this book offers an entertaining read that also presents some societal issues and interesting. Upon further research I have found some discussion as to a social commentary that the book is making on United States society.
I would use this book, must the same way that I used it in this class-- as a took to compare books and their film counterparts.
  MsSpartas | Apr 10, 2016 |
This was a very interesting book that I was not prepared to like as I'd heard what the plot was. I enjoyed the writing and the characters, especially Katniss! I have no idea how you would use this in a classroom. ( )
  JillStephens | Apr 9, 2016 |
My son is crazy for these books, and he wanted to share with me, so I read it. I wish it weren't such a gruesome theme, but it is great science fiction. Caution -- I don't think elementary age children should be reading this book, and parents should use their own judgment for pre-teens. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
This is actually my third time reading this book. I wanted a refresher before the movie of Catching Fire comes out. This book grabbed me from page one and had me on the edge of my seat all three times I've read it. The story is compelling, tragic, heroic, horrifying, and yes a bit romantic all rolled into one. Katniss, even in her clueless moments, is a very strong female lead for this book. She's a survivor, as Peeta's mother put it. She is not one to lay down and give up. The horrendous actions of the Capitol leave me angry and frustrated, even though I know it's not a real world. While reading, you feel like it is, you feel like you're there, and you just want to do something about it. This is by far one of the best dystopian books I've read thus far.
*Re-read for 4th time: 11/13/14* ( )
  MynTop | Apr 8, 2016 |
THis is a really good book for 4th grade and up. It would be great for a read aloud or a group activity.
  jlynn913 | Apr 6, 2016 |
This is a great book for early middle school students. I liked this book because it was very descriptive. The author really descries all the events that Katniss Everdeen goes through. The author wants their audience to know exactly what Katniss Everdeen is going through throughout the novel. She uses a lot of imagery to have the audience engaged in the novel. The writing is very engaging. She gets the readers attention the minute they start reading the novel. The story line is very believable. It is scary to think that these events could happen in our world today. As the novel goes on, the reader gets shocked over what a simple girl has to go through in order to survive. The story takes place in Katniss Everdeen's point of view. The plot is very suspenseful, leaving the reader in awe. This book pushes readers to be grateful for what they have. Katniss gives up everything to keep her sister safe from harm.
  estarr3 | Apr 4, 2016 |
This fictional story is entertaining and suspenseful. I choose This book for my Literature goes to the Movies assignment, and it could be used to create a lesson for students about the same topic. This story is about a fictional future where the world is broken into 12 different districts. Each district has a special role to play and in this way each district has a unique culture. For example district is where are the cole is mined for the Capital and district 11 is the agricultural district. With each districted focused on a particular culture offers a unique way to explore multicultural themes.
  Adam_sundstrom | Apr 1, 2016 |
This is a book about a teenager named Katniss Everdeen. Katniss's little sister, Prim gets picked for the games so she volunteers to go instead to save her sister. After she gets to the arena she gets some time to train. After the training time is over, she is entered into the games with the rest of the contestants. Katniss survives by shooting people with a bow and teaming up with another girl, Rue, who later gets killed. At the end of the games, Katniss and Peeta team up and are the last two survivors. Rather than one of them die they threaten to kill themselves and end up being spared.

I thought that this was a decent book. It had a lot of action and I was actually wanting to read more. There was always an unexpected event that kept me coming back. This was a blend of action and a bit of romance. There was also a lot of conflict between some of the characters which was also entertaining. The author never really lost my attention throughout the novel. If you like action books then this is good for you. ( )
  jacobc.b1 | Mar 31, 2016 |
The Hunger games is a book by Collins, Suzanne and is about a Girl named Katniss going to the games. It all starts in a Village in District 12 the merge is Today and Katniss gets up to Hunt in the woods with her best friend Gale. After Hunting at Non the assembly begins, all kids from 11 to 18 will have there name on a piece of paper put into a jar and then they will pull a girl and a boy. The Boy was Peeta the boy from the Bakery, and the Girl was Katniss sister Prim, Katniss couldn't be-leave her ears so she screamed that shell volunteer in her place. After the tributes said bye the Katniss and Peeta they were put in a train and meet their new coach Haymitch, Haymitch thought them more fighting skills and tips on how to stay alive. A couple weeks later they were in the stadium and the games are on count down till they begin, three seconds later they all started running to the center but Katniss ran towards the river. Two days later Katniss meets a Girl called Rue together they camp for awhile, later that morning tho Rue was killed by a different tribute, Katniss makes a grave for Rue and leaves. Soon Katniss finds Peeta, who is very hurt and needs medical attention, so Katniss goes t the center and gets the bag which says District 12. Three days later the finished and won the Hunger games, had some interviews, and were soon allowed to go home. At the train station Katniss and Peeta talk to their coach Haymitch one last time and then leave.

I give this book 4.5 stars because it was a roller coaster of emotions. The Book was a page turner a book that you just couldn't put down. This book had a lot of emotions as well there were many parts that were very sad. And then other moments that were very funny, and some romantic ones too. I don't give this book 5 stars because its more of a cliff hanger, because after Katniss and Peeta leave the station they don't tell you what happens next. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. ( )
  TristanG.B1 | Mar 29, 2016 |
A real winner! ( )
  CarmenFerreiro | Mar 28, 2016 |
It's been a while since I've been this captured by a book. It's amazing, it's thrilling, it's sad, it's provoking. I loved every single part of it, and I can't wait until I get my hands on the next book in the series. ( )
  zombiehero | Mar 25, 2016 |
Joyce Bean
  jmail | Mar 21, 2016 |
Panem is located in what used to be known as North America which is divided up into 12 districts. Each district is designated to a different thing, district 12 being coal mining. Katniss is the daughter of one of those coal miners, but after her father dies in the a tragic mine accident, she is forced to take care of her mother and younger sister, Prim. She was only 11 years old when she had to fight to survive, and survive she did.

After years of foraging in the forest with her hunting partner Gale, she's forced to take the biggest risk to protect her family, volunteering for the Hunger Games, a battle to the death in an arena with representatives from all 12 districts, 2 each. She only volunteers after her 12 year old sister's name is chosen. It's this moment that makes the world of Panem fall for Katniss Everdeen. But the people of Panem aren't the only ones, there is also Peeta, the boy tribute that is chosen for the Games as well.

I really honestly loved this book. I don't know why I waited so long to read it but I'm glad that I did. Now I have to read the other two to see what happens with Kat and Peeta as well as Gale. I think that this was a well written book and I can see why young adults have fallen in love with them. I liked also the quickness of the reading. It was a fast read but it was one that really held your attention. ( )
  welkeral | Mar 20, 2016 |
This is not my normal type of read. Its a futuristic post-war sci-fi filled with awesomeness. I couldn't put it down. So much so that I read all 3 books in the series within 3 days. The movie is set to come out in March 2012. I don't know how well that it will transfer to film - but I am rooting for it. I can totally see Lady Gaga as one of the Capital stylists, and maybe Natalie Portman as the Mockingjay. The series is about children who are forced to battle each other to the death - but I didn't find that it was too gruesome. You were really rooting for the characters and feeling sorry for them at the same time. ( )
  Bambi_Unbridled | Mar 19, 2016 |
Honestly, I didn't like this as much as the majority of the readers did. I felt that the entire beginning half with the explanations and the preparation prior to the actual tournament was endless and slightly dragging to the point that it was starting to become a bore and waste of time. I understand that just about all of the participants were going to die, but there was such a severe lack of knowledge of who the kids were at all. I also found it odd for Katniss to be the tough, independent girl she was in the beginning into a borderline lovey-dovey girl she morphed into when around Peeta. I understand that she was doing it for the "audience" but some of her actions and words were just almost too out of character for me to appreciate her efforts to keep the peace with the Capital. Peeta doesn't have a lot of character development and Gale is essentially non-existent. Even with the thought of her returning back in the end, if he really was watching the Games, I don't think he would realistically consider being with her after watching her be a lovesick puppy for Peeta on camera (even though it was 90% of an act of her part), so you know that she and Gale would not be together. The characters I actually found myself interested in were Haymitch, Cato, and Rue. I wanted to know more about them and how/why they became the people they did. It's unfortunate that I would only find about one of them now. I apologize to the fans, but I couldn't get the same appreciation for this story. Maybe I've read too many Palahniuk and other darker humor, realistic books to enjoy the fantasy elements. Ultimately, it's probably because it really is a YA novel and the character will be a teenager, which is what I struggle with the most when liking particular characters. ( )
  ShayLRoss | Mar 16, 2016 |
I enjoyed the book I didn't want to stop reading but I did find it pretty predictable. ( )
  brandymuss | Mar 15, 2016 |
Grudgingly giving this one more star because I don't hate it quite as much as I did the first time round. Still a pretty bad book. Also Katniss is the worst, still.


First review, November 2010:

What is the point in this book?

Seriously. This book is completely pointless. It's garbage. I have no idea who on earth it's aimed at. Teenagers in the age range should surely be reading 1984 or Brave New World if they're wanting to start off with some dystopian literature? I'm not even fond of Brave New World, but surely it's a better start than this. Because this is just a MESS. For a start, the writing is dreadful. To be fair, YA literature is not always a bastion of good writing - 90% of it is crap, actually - but this... this stood out. It was hilariously bad. I mean, most of the time I write blogs/reviews/whatever in the middle of the night and I'm more than aware that my syntax/grammar/spelung often suffers for that. But this got PUBLISHED. Even though it could have been written on the back of a cereal packet. With a crayon. It has that weird feeling of being about things that are in no way suitable for children, but having been written with the general vocabulary, clumsiness, and awkwardness of someone with a writing level of a ten-year old.

Then there's the characters. Katniss (fun note: Katniss is a plant, also called Arrowhead. Katniss-the-character is good at archery. Excuse me while I KILL MYSELF) is just rubbish. She is. She's not a convincing human being at all. Pretty much her only attributes are that she: a. runs about, b. shoots things, c. if faced with a choice, will do the stupid thing. Everything about her is irritating. Nothing about her is remotely sympathetic, and mostly, I just hoped she would hurry up and get killed. I also find the way she treats Peeta (another flaming stupid name - try saying that without sounding like a three-year old trying to say Peter) annoying. While he's a horrible "Mary Sue" - for want of a better expression - he's at least trying to be nice to her. But Katniss isn't very good with people being nice to her, or nasty to her, or anything to her. I kind of imagine Katniss a bit like my dog. My dog doesn't like people much, despite the fact that everyone loves him. He doesn't even like my boyfriend, who loves dogs and despairs at this fact. He ignores people, runs away from them, and generally acts like the majority of people who don't live in my house are not in fact there - he only acknowledges us because we are the BRINGERS OF FOOD. This is because my dog is a grumpy bastard. The only things he does like are food, water, sleeping and pissing everywhere, much like Katniss (I may be exaggerating here, but you get the gist). Thing is, my dog's adorable and fuzzy and sometimes if you're lucky he'll sleep on your feet and heat them up (but not because he likes you). Katniss doesn't even have the courtesy to do that. She's just. There. Being shit and grumpy.

Anyway. Back to something vaguely resembling the topic at hand. The plot is a horrible cliche. It's painful. I read the first two yesterday, and am a few chapters into the third one, and I'm yet to discover if Collins has ever had an original thought. There's no character that isn't drawn with broad brushstrokes, no character that behaves remotely believably, just... nothing to like about this book. Also there's no sense of humour about the thing at all, and while often I CAN get over this, it's about the only thing that would have redeemed this from the heep. I don't really know why I'm still reading, except to confirm that what I think happens at the end does happen. I know that's what the internet is for, but I seem to be a glutton for punishment. Just... don't bother. It's not worth your time. There is nothing good here. Read anything else instead. ( )
  thebookmagpie | Mar 13, 2016 |
Fights to the death make me feel snuggly inside. ^_^

Brief plot tease:
Katniss, a teenage girl living in District 12, the poorest of the 12 districts in the country of Panem, takes her younger sister's place in a country-wide tournament called "The Hunger Games." It's called the Hunger Games because most of the districts struggle with starvation, and the winner of the games gets lots of prizes, including food, for their district for a year. The Capitol of Panem/the government hosts the Games to keep the districts from rebelling again. Each district MUST have two "tributes" (teenagers aged 12-18) go and fight in the Games. Yay. Katniss, along with a boy named Peeta, represent District 12.

I thought the way Katniss dealt with being thrown into an arena to kill other teenagers was very believable. She's been described as a survivor (she's had to take care of her family), she's stealthy (she hunts, or rather poaches, in the nearby off-limits forest), and doesn't really care about anyone except for her younger sister. That being said, she's not really eager to jump in and start slaughtering kids who are mostly there against their will. So Katniss spends much of the Games hiding, running, or tricking the other contestants. The deaths she DOES deal out have a reason other than "I'm in a tournament to kill people, therefore I will be a good pawn and kill them." Her subtle rebellion against the Capitol in this way was very believable. I loved it.
The "romance" that Katniss and Peeta are pretty much forced into was hilarious. It was just so awkward all the time. I'm very amused by awkwardness.
I think I enjoyed the first act most, which was before the Hunger Games even really began. Katniss' history and home life, the way she deals with being entered into the games, the intrigue at the Capitol, the prep teams (OH MY GOODNESS WHO DOESN'T LOVE THE PREP TEAMS?) was all excellent. I hope Cinna and Effie continue to have roles in further books, because there was a lot of character potential there.

Things I didn't like:
-The MC is a Mary Sue. Let's face it. She's good at EVERYTHING important to the story and has at least 3 guys in love with her.
-The pacing in the third act really suffered, in my opinion. It was mostly eating, and hiding, and making out. Let's face it.
-The names...I pretty much hated everyone's name except Gale and a couple of really minor characters. It's a very minor flaw, yes, and completely based on opinion, but this is my review aka my opinion, so there.

Those three reasons are why this book didn't make 5 stars. Otherwise, the world-building, plot, characters, and all were well-written, believable (IMO and I know some people disagree with that) and engaging. The book combined intrigue, fight scenes, stealth scenes, and "romance" really well. ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
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