The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Series #1)

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Series #1)

4.7 48948
by Suzanne Collins
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

John Green
brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced…a futuristic novel every bit as good and as allegorically rich as Scott Westerfeld's Uglies books…the considerable strength of the novel comes in Collins's convincingly detailed world-building and her memorably complex and fascinating heroine. In fact, by not calling attention to itself, the text disappears in the way a good font does: nothing stands between Katniss and the reader, between Panem and America. This makes for an exhilarating narrative and a future we can fear and believe in, but it also allows us to see the similarities between Katniss's world and ours.
—The New York Times
Mary Quattlebaum
This gripping tale explores ever-timely topics—violence-as-entertainment and rule-by-intimidation—and through Katniss holds out the possibility of change.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Signature

Reviewed by Megan Whalen Turner

If there really are only seven original plots in the world, it's odd that "boy meets girl" is always mentioned, and "society goes bad and attacks the good guy" never is. Yet we have Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, The House of the Scorpion-and now, following a long tradition of Brave New Worlds, The Hunger Games.

Collins hasn't tied her future to a specific date, or weighted it down with too much finger wagging. Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.

Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one's humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It's a credit to Collins's skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser.

It's no accident that these games are presented as pop culture. Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem-which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent-may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which societypacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time.

What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. "They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet," she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch.

Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high. Readers will wait eagerly to learn more.

Megan Whalen Turner is the author of the Newbery Honor book The Thief and its sequels, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. The next book in the series will be published by Greenwillow in 2010.

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VOYA - Deborah L. Dubois
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen cannot believe it when her younger sister Prim is chosen as the female tribute from their district at the Reaping. In this futuristic society, each district is required to send two tributes to the Games in the Capitol where they must fight to the death while the whole country watches on live television. To protect her sister, Katniss volunteers to take her place, knowing that she will probably never again return home. Twenty-four young people are dropped off in a remote area and must fight for survival against the harsh conditions and each other. Only one is allowed to live. Katniss and Peeta, the other tribute from District 12, form an uneasy alliance that blossoms into romance amid the brutality and deprivation of the Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta try to rebel against the Gamemakers but discover that they must play the game to its end. Collins moves up a level from the Gregor the Overlander books in this gripping story that is the first of a new trilogy. Themes of government control, "big brother," and personal independence are explored amidst a thrilling adventure that will appeal to science fiction, survival, and adventure readers. The suspense of this powerful novel will keep the reader glued to the page long after bedtime. Reviewer: Deborah L. Dubois
John Ritchie
Ta ke the ancient Greek myth of Crete demanding Athens send 14 of its children as sacrificial tributes, substitute the minotaur for gladiator combat pitting the youths against one another, set it in a dystopic future, make it all entertainment for the reality television of a tyrannical government, and then give it characters that add his/her own twist to the story— these are the ingredients for The Hunger Games, the first book in a thrilling new trilogy from Suzanne Collins. Collins doesn't waste a single character in the entire novel. From our narrator-heroine Katniss Everdeen, to her Hunger Games sponsor Haymitch Abernathy, to Hunger Games show host Caesar Flickerman, each character is rich in depth and worthy of his/her own story. Collins also keeps the action moving at a smooth and quick pace. The novel is violent without ever being bloody. Collins avoids easy, Hollywood-style endings and gives us realistic, complex characters. Librarians and teachers will have a hard time keeping this book on their shelves. Reviewer: John Ritchie
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
This is an amazingly suspenseful story, combining the familiar ("Survivor"-type TV shows) with details of a horrific future. Once again, an author chooses a future in which some calamity has created a society cowed into submission by dictators, and manipulated and controlled through technology. The Hunger Games are this future culture's way of entertaining and frightening the people, all at once. Young people are chosen by lot as participants in the games. Once chosen, the "contestants" scheme for the others' deaths—real deaths—because that is the only way to survive: to be the last person standing. The people follow the "action" via camera, with strategy and suffering presented as entertainment (sort of like the action in the Roman Empire's Coliseum, I suppose). The heroine is 16-year-old Katniss, a skilled hunter and survivor managing to keep her mother and younger sister alive in their repressive society. When Katniss's younger sister, who is not very strong, draws the lot, Katniss takes her place, willing to die for her family. In a masterstroke of strategic planning, Katniss teams up with another contestant, a boy she has known in her village, to ensure their survival. The "games" themselves are nonstop action: physical, mental, emotional. Readers will be absorbed in the action, identifying with Katniss and frightened by this view of a possible future. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up

Suzanne Collins's first book (Scholastic, 2008) of a planned trilogy introduces an easy-to-imagine, cruel future society divided by wealth and obsessed with media and celebrity. The controlling Capitol broadcasts the Hunger Games, mandatory watching for all citizens of Panem. The annual event pits 24 Tributes-a girl and boy teen from each of the 12 Districts surrounding the Capitol-against one another in a desperate battle to the death. When 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her younger sister's place as District Twelve's girl Tribute, she is thrown into a media frenzy, complete with stylists and costumes, literally fighting for her life in the arena. Intense, graphic action, along with a touch of romance, makes this dystopic adventure a great choice for older reluctant readers. Although the plot mimics both Stephen King's The Long Walk (Penguin, 1999) and Running Man (Signet, 1999) as well as Koushon Takami's Battle Royale (Tokyopop, 2007), Collins creates a fascinating world and Katniss is a believably flawed and interesting character. Carolyn McCormick ably voices the action-packed sequences and Katniss's every fear and strength shines through, along with her doomed growing attraction to one of her fellow Tributes. This engrossing audiobook belongs in all public and school libraries.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI

Kirkus Reviews
Katniss Everdeen is a survivor. She has to be; she's representing her District, number 12, in the 74th Hunger Games in the Capitol, the heart of Panem, a new land that rose from the ruins of a post-apocalyptic North America. To punish citizens for an early rebellion, the rulers require each district to provide one girl and one boy, 24 in all, to fight like gladiators in a futuristic arena. The event is broadcast like reality TV, and the winner returns with wealth for his or her district. With clear inspiration from Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" and the Greek tale of Theseus, Collins has created a brilliantly imagined dystopia, where the Capitol is rich and the rest of the country is kept in abject poverty, where the poor battle to the death for the amusement of the rich. Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned trilogy, as good as The Giver and more exciting. However, poor copyediting in the first printing will distract careful readers-a crying shame. (Science fiction. 11 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439023528
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
07/01/2010
Series:
Hunger Games Series, #1
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
654
Product dimensions:
8.14(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.76(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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