Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place 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 will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Rating: 4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Dystopian fans
High point: When Katniss finally got a chance to shine
Low point: The 1st half of the book
Reader maturity: 13+
I think I'm the last blogger (person?) on the planet to read The Hunger Games. I resisted--I don't know why, but I did--and I wish I hadn't because, when I finally got around to buying and reading it, I discovered it's awesomeness.
To be honest, I wasn't thrilled by the first half of the book. One of my friends kept asking if I'd read it yet and if I liked it, and I had to say no. Somewhere around the halfway point, around the time that Katniss forms an alliance with a certain person, things picked up considerably, and I was turning pages as quickly as I could, trying to find out what happened to Katniss and Peeta.
One of the reasons the first half didn't pull me in is that it felt very much like reading a list of rules and facts about Katniss and her world. It was pages upon pages of foundation, which, as the first in a trilogy, will surely be helpful, but was a little tedious after a while. When Katniss' colors and the amazing writing/action/plot finally got to shine through, everything just clicked into place, and I loved it.
Overall, I thought it was a well created dystopian, and I'm excited for Catching Fire and Mockingjay to release in paperback. Katniss, as the everygirl, is a main character I could sympathize with, and as for Peeta and Gale....Team Peeta for me (if he could look like Gale)! Also, other than the glut of deaths in the book and some gory moments during the Games, it's clean so it's great entertainment for all YA readers.
My only other disappointment--and this would probably be better discussed in a book club or something, since it's not really a criticism--is that Katniss, with the exception of taking her little sister's place, seems to have everything handed to her. Sure, she's brave and loyal, but she's not particularly skilled or hardy. Maybe that's the point--that she used her normalness and her few special talents to fight and that supposedly being the "best" at something doesn't automatically make a winner.
If you've read The Hunger Games, what do you think of Katniss? (And I haven't read Catching Fire or Mockingjay so if you can, please keep it spoiler free.)
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Teen Fiction -- Dystopian
Book Source: Purchased