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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (edition 2008)

by Suzanne Collins

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37,363285116 (4.38)2 / 2022
“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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Showing 1-25 of 2794 (next | show all)
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 |
Wow. That was pretty amazing.

Before reading this, all I've ever heard about this book is that it's the most amazing thing ever and that I'm despicable for not having read it yet. I've had SO many friends pressuring me to read this book that it's quite insane. I think that by having the hyped up reviews and suggestions a book usually falls short of the fame when I've finished reading it. The Hunger Games nearly was the same until about three quarters of the way through.

I felt for most of the beginning that it was pretty slow and bland. I also didn't want Katniss getting too close to Peeta because I loved Gale. They seemed to be well suited together. However, I soon found myself angry at Katniss for being mean to Peeta. Gale simply became an annoying obstacle in her mind after that.

[spoiler alert!]
The only thing predictable about the whole plot was that I could tell, way before they entered the arena, that Peeta and Katniss both would somehow win. The whole berry idea was brilliant. It's like a secret way of shaking your fist at the Capitol and telling them to shove it. (I'm sure, if I lived in Panem, I'd have been dead long ago. I have too big of a mouth to keep quiet about things of that magnitude.)

The whole romance part of the story absolutely killed me. I wanted Katniss to shake off the whole 'It's for the audience' crap and realize that Peeta's not faking it. C'mon, Katniss is made to be this really observant and sharp girl. She realized Peeta's motives of giving her the bread ages ago. You think she'd figure it out! (And you'd think she'd fall in love too, because he's just downright awesome.)

The only thing that bothered me through out the book was how Katniss would go off on tangents in her mind. Sometimes it seemed pointless.

ANYWHO. Needless to say, I love it. I stayed up past midnight reading it and I didn't even get out of my bed in the morning until I finished it. I'm am so hungry for the second book that I might throw a fit if I don't reach a bookstore in time. (No pun intended. ;)) Five ( or more) stars worthy and definitely recommendable.
( )
  SpazzyDragon13 | Jul 7, 2015 |
This was a fun book but it seemed like the popcorn version of a number of books I had read previously, that had handled to whole 'kids killing each other in a quest to live in a dystopian future" with much more skill and originality namely Battle Royale by Japanese writer Koushun Takami.

I understand being inspired by something but what Collins has done is reinterpret a successful book for a different and bigger audience by adding a world that relates to one we know. Maybe this is all any writer does is put their own interpretation on an idea but for me it was baffling and annoying that everyone raved about this book but no one had read the source material. ( )
  areadingmachine | Jul 6, 2015 |
I really appreciate a writer who can appeal to young adults, but give them the credit of comprehending writing that also attracts adults. Collins, like J K Rowling, has a great style of imagination and substance. I'm sure this book will soon be a movie; I'm looking forward to that.
My fourteen year old son, who hates reading; loved this book. He stayed up until midnight one night because he couldn't put it down. I read it in a day for the same reason. ( )
1 vote jenngv | Jun 25, 2015 |
I think this was a really interesting book. With the dystopian future, it actually reminded me a bit of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. The fact that it was written in first person made you really connect with Katniss. I couldn't put it down. I read more than half the book in the last few hours. I'll definitely be reading the two othes in the trilogy. ( )
  Shannon29 | Jun 25, 2015 |
Of course, classic. Love Katniss and the love she has for her sister. How selfless she is, that even though shes doing things for her sister, she doesnt want to kill Peeta, not wanting to face the fact that it would mean killing a boy from her district. ( )
  valesbookshelf | Jun 23, 2015 |
I ended up watching the movie first, which I probably shouldn't have done- but either way the book was 100% better than the movie!

Katniss is a great narrator and I love the way her mind works! I can't wait to read the other two books. ( )
  momma182 | Jun 23, 2015 |
It reminds me of the short stories the lottery, the most dangerous game, and the novel 1984. Yet, it is still its own original novel. I did like this though it doesn't go into the history of how the world came to be like this. However, I have a feeling it will be more thoroughly explained in the other books. It is gruesome but no more so then the stories I first mentioned. ( )
  hjwesten | Jun 19, 2015 |
I resisted reading this book for years. The reasons were dos.

It’s popular so therefore will be a poorly written book
It’s *gasp* YA

In my defense of #1 I have read a Dan Brown novel and attempted to make my way through The DaVinci Code (have yet to make it past the first 40 pages). So if a book is popular across the board with out of genre readers, critics that only like pretentious books and fans of the genre I compare it to Dan Brown books and go the other way.

For #2…I don’t know, because YA is childish? At least that was what I thought. About a week before I picked up The Hunger Games, I was in Barnes and Noble looking at Coraline. I was ready to buy another copy right then because I haven’t a clue what happened to my first. When I turned from the shelf holding Coraline I saw a Hunger Games display. Talk about an aha! moment. I was just thinking of how great a children’s book is and here I am casting stones at a YA book.

So I checked it out on Overdrive (love that app).

The book is split into 3 parts, at least in ebook format. I read the first part in about 2 hours. Two days later, about six hours of reading during those two days, I finished the book.

Holy shit Suzanne Collins can write. If Catching Fire and Mockingjay are anything like The Hunger Games, then this series makes it into my Top Five all time favorite series.

As for the movies. I saw the first one. While I enjoyed the cinematography, it was comparable with Christopher Nolan films, the movie did nothing for me. When I walked out of the theater, from what I can recall, I looked at my watch, saw it was still fairly early, and then went to a bar for a drink. The two hours of my life I spent staring at moving images didn’t enter in my brain after I left the theater.

Not feeling anything about the movie and never having any sort of desire to even watch a trailer for the other ones is a shame. The Hunger Games book is so much better than the movie. In the movie nothing bad happens to Katniss, hell it looks like she has makeup on during the Games (which she does yes, but the makeup people could have done better).

So I’ll be reading the next two books eventually. I like taking my time with series, but I have no doubt I’ll finish this trilogy and read other YA books now that I got off my high horse about YA being not old enough for me.
( )
1 vote scifi_jon | Jun 16, 2015 |
4.5 stars. This is a completely different concept than anthing else I have ever read and I am looking forward to starting the 2nd book! ( )
  TexasBookLover7 | Jun 16, 2015 |
definately one of the best books ive ever read. but the #1 most thrilling..loved the character development, the psychological effects the author can only guess at. it reminded me of Fahrenheit 451. very bradburu-esque. awesome book. ( )
  Alwaysmidnight | Jun 16, 2015 |
Are you hungry for more Hunger Games?

Sorry...that just had to said.

Ok...now on to the review. I must say that I enjoyed every moment of it, and I'm glad that I can freely move on to the next book instead of having to wait for it to come out. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic North America where the Capitol rules, you have your typical Orwellian novel that's mixed in with some Twilight-esque love triangle. No, really.

One thing that I first noticed while reading this book is that it had almost an anime style of action going on. I mean, what with all the fancy clothes that don't seem practical except for show, and the stylized way everything is exaggerated. Where else would you find fancy burning clothes that don't actually burn? Sounds like something out of a Final Fantasy game. Another literary technique that felt a little too forced for me was the little deus ex machina in which they decided to allow two winners for the Hunger Games not once, but twice. Granted, this is only the first book, and I don't know what the effects will be on the following two books yet, but I'm simply speaking from a stand-alone novel perspective. It just felt a little too easy to resolve the desire to have both main characters survive.

One piece of storytelling technique that I did like was the irony of the hunger games. I mean, here these characters are, children fighting for their lives for survival, killing one another in the process. It's this gruesome, Lord of the Flies-esque landscape that they're thrown in, with the rest of the world watching. And when I say the rest of the world, I mean us, the readers. And that's exactly why we want to keep reading...because it's just that good. Here we're getting this sick pleasure from reading about kids killing one another, like it's some video game. I mean, prizes fall from the sky, the faces of those that died are lit up in the sky, and the country is listening to your every word. Can this get any better?

Now let me talk about the characters. First, we have Katniss, a sweet little girl who's survived all her life by hunting game illegally and taking care of her sister and widowed mother. How very unique. And then we have Peeta, the baker's son who's had a crush on our main character since he was five, who's strong, handsome, clever, and sensitive. Again, how unique. I guess the only thing that I really want to give props to is the fact that we have a strong female character who can kick some ass with a bow and arrow...and that's it. Why? Because when it comes to boys, she's just a confused little girl who can't decide how she really feels about both of them. I think she should meet Bella...at least Katniss isn't into beastiality.

Overall, I really did enjoy the narrative, and am ready to move on to the next book. Hopefully I'll loosen up on my criticisms, eh? ( )
1 vote jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
I just finished Hunger Games, and its a great book. It a good book for older kids, but it reads well for an adult. Also, you would think that a book about pitting teenagers against each other would be nothing but gory, violent, and hard to handle, it isn't. The way the main character handles each situation with grace, courage, and luck without being over the top is something you don't see in most books in this genre. I also like the way technology is used. Katniss, the heroine, does not have access to it in her normal life, but when she encounters it, it is not considered 'magic', just something else that technological elite keeps from its poor workers.

It is a very dark book, and I suspect that some people are not going to be able to handle all the death, but I highly recommend this book if you like dark fiction that is not just a well written story, but also has some very difficult themes. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Jun 14, 2015 |
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