My first guest reviewer, Leiah, is taking the reins on this novel. Make sure to leave her a comment!
Summary - 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 Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.
Leiah's Review - Katniss Everdeen has not had an easy life. Not very many people in District 12 have, but hers, as well as her mother and little sister, Prim, has been exceptionally difficult. This tale set in the future of a post-revolutionary United States documents the annual event known as "The Hunger Games". As an aftereffect of the aforementioned revolution, each of the now 12 districts must send a boy and girl to the Capital to serve as a tribute in this "last one standing, wins" battle to the death, which of course is televised live into every home. The Capital is all-knowing, all-seeing, and an environment that is completely foreign to Katniss. How Katniss even ends up going to The Hunger Games is something that speaks to her character. When her little sister is selected to be half of the tribute from District 12, Katniss does not hesitate to volunteer to go in her stead. She takes care of those she loves without regard to her own safety. The illegal hunting and black-market trade she has been doing for years with her partner, Gale, to ensure that her family doesn't starve was just the first step in Katniss' anti-government stand. How she navigates her way through the treacherous battle field of the Games, in the first installment in Collins' planned trilogy, shows how a quick-mind and a pure heart can be live savers.
This book came to my attention as a recommended read to TwilightMoms from Stephenie Meyer. I have not been a big reader of young adult fiction for many years, since I was a young adult, but based on the positive reception it received by other TMs, I gave it a go. I am so glad I did. Being introduced to Katniss and her world was not only enjoyable, but thought provoking. As technology, media obsession, and demand for instant gratification in all areas of our lives increases ever so steadily, we are becoming desensitized to images of the suffering and need of others. The shock of something so heinous as The Hunger Games and the deaths of the contestants being seen as a form of entertainment for the masses is Collins' platform to show where this path could eventually lead. Political and moral commentaries aside, the story is a well-written tale that will take readers on an adventure with a heroine that they will come to love.
Guest reviews are not marked by the Persnickety Snark grading scale.
Published: September 14 2008
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
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Suzanne Collins' Official Site