The Hunger Games is a book that has been out for awhile and I'm probably one of the last to read it. It was published in 2008 by Scholastic. It's not the type of book that I usually read. It's considered dystopian fiction, science fiction, futuristic. I was on the fence about reading this book, even after reading many rave reviews. Then, a friend who likes similar books as I do recommended it to me. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and expand my reading to a different genre. It's also considered YA and I have to say that while I was reading it and carrying it around with me I got several comments from teens. Once, I was sitting in a doctors waiting room and a teen passed by and saw that I had a copy of Hunger Games. He stopped and told me "that's a really good book...and the second one is good too". I had just started reading the book and I thought that was probably a good sign.
Well, I have to say that I did like The Hunger Games..a lot! I found the story very entertaining and at the same time disturbing and brutal but gripping. It's a book that is hard to put down. The story is told sometime in the future, you don't know the time period as a reader. The world as we know it has ended and there is only a Capital and twelve districts. There was an uprising and a thirteenth district was destroyed. As a reminder to the tributes (the citizens) that the Capital has the power, they hold the Hunger games each year. A girl and boy aged 12 and up are chosen randomly from each district to fight for survival in a televised event called the Hunger Games. It's like a futuristic reality TV show of our time. There are 24 girls and boys and only one is allowed to be the winner. That means you must try to survive and win which means killing your opponents and honor your district or lose and be killed.
The book is told from the perspective of 16 year old Katniss who has volunteered to go into the games in place of her younger sister. She knows that she must use her skills and survival techniques that she has learned to survive in her own district. Things become complicated when she realizes the connection she has to Peeta, the boy chosen from her district. Their connection brings up mixed feelings and emotions that she never realized until the process to the games begins. What she doesn't count on is the brutality and emotions that accompany this game. It is a fight until the end and the story holds you as a reader immersed in the world of the Hunger Games until the conclusion. Then, you realize that it is not over yet as there is more...a second book Catching Fire.
This is a unique book, one that I really enjoyed even with the darkness and brutality. The sheer wit and determination of Katniss and the tributes makes you want to keep reading. Now, I have to find a copy of Catching Fire and there is a third book in the series that is to be published later this year. Exciting stuff, I have more to look forward to. Personally, I wouldn't recommend The Hunger Games for anyone under twelve unless you think that your child has the maturity to handle violence. My son is eleven and I wouldn't want him to read this until he is more mature to handle this material. I believe that this book is recommended for 7th grade and up.
Disclosure: My copy of this book was a library copy. I am an Amazon Associate.