I find it maddening that I struggle to write reviews for the books I enjoy the most. I read Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games MONTHS ago, and I loved it, and I never wrote a review because I could never express how great I thought it was, or put into words the reasons why I felt it was so great. And so I remain idle, and everyone else publishes their review of The Hunger Games and now my task seems even greater because WHAT COULD BE LEFT TO SAY? But by now everyone knows of this book, and most are anxiously awaiting the sequel Catching Fire, so I can just give a quick summary and once again say that this book is wonderful, and then we can all move on.
So here’s the summary.
Katniss is a teen in post-apocalyptic America, trying to hunt and forage enough to keep her mother and younger sister alive. As if that is not enough of a task for a young women, the leaders of land demand that 2 children between the ages of 12 and 18 be taken from their homes in each of the 12 Districts. These young-adults are then forced to participate in reality-tv gone terribly wrong, a fight to the death in which only one will survive. Katniss and a boy her age, Peeta, are sent to The Games, but their chances look grim since they are from the poorest district and have not trained for this as other children have. Their strategy? Peeta and Katniss have to convince the audience that they have feelings for each other in order to win funds that pay for the supplies they need while in the arena. But Peeta is not acting, and Katniss is dense, and Gale, her best friend from home, may be in love with her as well. And all the while children are being massacred!
See what I mean about not being able to convey well books that I loved. It sounds like a trite teen romance plus some gore, but it is not! It is one of the most intelligent YA reads I’ve read in a long time. You are forced to wonder how you would fare in the arena, what your weaknesses would be, and your strengths. Would you lose your humanity in a struggle to survive?
And Katniss is such an excellent and strong female protagonist that she makes you wish you were a little more like her as a teen. And it is breathtaking the way the different Districts are described, some so abundant and wealthly and others in which their citizens barely survive day to day. This is definately an allegory for the United States of the present, and it is chilling and believable.
And just because everyone now compares every teen read to the Twilight series, I will make my obligatory comment. I think Katniss is ten-times the role-model of Bella, and the book is throughougly PG even with the violent storyline.
But, you all know all this because everyone has already read it. And if you haven’t PICK IT UP!