Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Are You Reading Thursday - The Hunger Games

Beth Cornelison joins us today to chat about a recent YA craze - The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

What am I reading? The Hunger Games trilogy! I brought home the ARC of The Hunger Games about a year ago after finding it in the storage closet of the children's and teens' bookstore where I work part-time. I'd heard a little about the book and was intrigued, plus the premise of a girl surviving alone in the wild is a plot I thought would be exciting.

Then as the months passed and I read other things (judging Rita books, book club selections, favorite authors' new releases), I forgot about the book, until I started hearing more and more about what a great story it was. When Romantic Times Bookclub gave the series their Seal of Excellence, I said, "Okay, time to see what all the fuss is about." I found my copy of the ARC for The Hunger Games and started reading.

Within a few pages, I was hooked! After a few chapters, I was searching online to see if there were plans for a movie (There are. Filming is scheduled to start in 2011.) Before I'd even finished The Hunger Games, I was downloading the next book in the series, Catching Fire, to my Kindle. I'm racing through the second book now and clamoring for time to finish it and start the final book in the series, Mockingjay.

So what is the hoopla about? The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is set in the future, after a bitter war in which what used to be the United States is divided into 12 districts and oppressed by a dictatorial regime. Starvation is rampant. Freedoms are limited. Life is bleak.

As a punishment for the rebellion of the districts some seventy-five years earlier, the Capitol's cruel government created an annual event in which each district must sent one boy and one girl to compete in a fight to the death called The Hunger Games. The names of the teenagers sent to the Hunger Games are drawn from a large bowl at random.

The heroine of The Hunger Games is Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old from the impoverished District 12. When her younger sister's name is drawn, Katniss volunteers to go in her sister's place. Katniss has some survival skills, hunting and evading detection in the woods, but even with her experience, the chances of her survival are bleak. The boy sent to the Games with her is Peeta, the baker's son, who has been in love with Katniss most of his life. The readers follow Katniss and Peeta through preparations for and execution of the Hunger Games.

Danger lurks around every corner, not just from the other competitors who are out to kill them, but in the mutated animals of the futuristic wilderness, the perils thrown at them by the omnipresent Gamemakers, and the quest for basic survival. Not only is the book a darkly compelling picture of a futuristic society, but Katniss's fight to survive the Hunger Games is suspenseful and full of surprising twists. If that weren't enough, the author creates characters who draw you in and break your heart as Katniss faces tragedy, betrayals and triumphs in this edge-of-your-seat tale. While The Hunger Games was marketed as a young adult book, I recommend it for anyone looking for an emotional and exciting page turner. Now if you'll excuse me...I'm almost finished with book 2 in the series, and I'm dying to see how it ends!


  1. Wow this sounds amazing, thanks Beth! (Just what I need - another distraction!)
    x Abby

  2. Hi Abby- I understand about distractions! Don't start reading this series until you have time to give the books several hours! You won't want to put them down. Since I wrote this blog post, I've listened to the entire third book on CD in a marathon listening stint while I did housework. WOW! Powerful book.
    Happy reading, Beth C

  3. Like you, I've heard about this book so I'm glad to read you really liked it. I'm going to have to pick it up at the library. I'm currently reading a wonderful memoir called "Borneo Tom" by author Tom McLaughlin. So far it's a really funny book about his life in Borneo...the pictures are hysterical!