Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Review: The Hunger Games

 By Suzanne Collins

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. 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." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place. 

Why I read it: Every month a lady in my church would give us a scholastic catalog and I would eagerly look through the teen section. One book that I noticed over and over was The Hunger Games. So I went and got it from the library (after waiting forever despite the one week loan policy) and wow…

What I liked: I won’t keep this a secret: I love The Hunger Games. Katniss is a wonderful protagonist, strong and defiant but she has her softer side. All the other characters are also three dimensional and I grew to love or hate them all along with Katniss. The world that Suzanne Collins creates is detailed and all too realistic.
This novel basically runs on plot, which is fast-paced and almost impossible to put down. I loved how she managed to spend at least half the book on the preparation for the games and it was just as riveting as the action in the arena. Throughout the whole book there is a very anti-violence theme; I appreciated how Collins uses a semi-gory, action-packed story to show just how terrible this violence is.

What I disliked: The easiest answer is ‘not much’. The story is obviously quite violent, as you would expect when you hear about 24 teenagers fighting to the death on live TV. This makes it not appropriate for younger readers.

From a Christian Perspective: Another thing I liked is that this story is quite clean. There’s no swearing and no sexual content other than kissing (which seems impossible to avoid in a YA novel). Haymitch is drunk regularly, but it’s portrayed as a fault. There didn’t seem to be any religious themes in this novel.

To buy or not to buy: Yes! I got lucky and found this book for $1.00 (new!) at Value Village, but I would have paid the list price. Anyone who likes YA or action stories will absolutely love The Hunger Games.

And in case you haven't already heard, the movie's coming out March 23rd, 2012, starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. I'm excited already!  

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