Author: Suzanne Collins
Release Date: September 8, 2008
Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.
The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
** This is for the second reading of The Hunger Games which took place over five years after the first. I was shocked to see how differently my emotions were after this second reading, and because of this it warrants its own review.
I really enjoyed The Hunger Games the first time around, I finished it and I was prepared to continue the series and stick with Katniss and Peeta through the very end.
However, that never happened.
I never went onto the second book, I never wondered about the world after what I'd read and slowly but surely the world of Panem began to matter so little that I was pretty sure all of the hype was going to miss me forever.
My senior year of college as a English/Communications major obsessed with media theory, I started a research study on the popularity of YA books -- because of this subject I knew I would need to revisit The Hunger Games due to its popularity. Little did I know that I would become completely entranced in the world Collins created a second time, this time though because of the media's affect on Panem and the people themselves.
Media theory is one of my loves, but this aspect of the book would have completely missed me as a high school sophomore when this book first came into my life.
During this second reading I completely fell in love, continued, and finished the series. In the Hunger Games, Collins builds a world that is both different, but extremely similar to our own. The role the media plays on the people's reality seems extreme within the pages, but in reality it isn't all that different than our own world.
While we watch violence in the form of film, movies, sports, etc... these people's reality is a reality show where death is the only constant.
I love the growth of Katniss, and the slow development of this world's existence and its consequences for those around them.
The vivid descriptions of Capitol life compared to life in the Districts felt to me like a comparison to our own reality in a world where class standing is real.
I loved the role Katniss played towards altering her own state and using the Capitol's rules against them, because what better power is there than to use their own games against them.
The Hunger Games has become one of my favorite series (if not my favorite) and I have spent the past few weeks obsessed.
The moral of the story here is that you can't judge a book ever. Even after you've read it. Books sometimes surprise you and take on hidden and deeper meanings depending on the stage of life you're in. It only took six years, but I understand the hype!