Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Monday, January 10, 2011

Plot Summary:
Katniss Evergreen lives in District Twelve. After losing her father in a coal mining catastrophe (District Twelves' export), Katniss must now care for her mother and younger sister. Katniss, and her best friend Gale, are expert hunters and, despite the fact that hunting outside of the district is illegal and punishable by death, Katniss' clients are the bigwigs. Although she is able to get by with her hunting, sometimes, she must ask the government for a "tesserae" (a meager amount of oil and grain). However, with every Teserae she gets, it increases the amount of slips that will be added to bowl for the annual reaping. This year, Katniss' name has been entered more than 15 times and her chances of being selected are high. However, her worst nightmare comes true when her sister's name is drawn instead of her's. Moreover, Peeta, who showed her kindness in her darkest hour, becomes her teammate and mortal enemy. As Katniss and Peeta head for the Capitol, not only do they participate in the deadliest charade of their life, they have to act like they are excited, and humbled, to be chosen to kill off complete strangers just for the entertainment.

Critical Evaluation:
In this tour de force story, Collins has created a post apocalyptic world where the United States is no longer a democracy, but a totalitarian state where children pay the price for their predecessors mistakes. Although Collin's does not go into a lot of detail as to how the world has changed, it is clear that caste system has been reinstalled. Katniss comes from one of the poorest districts in Panem and is actually the poorest of the poor since she doesn't have a trade that benefits the district. However, her ability to hunt has made her a valuable asset where the more wealthy of District Twelve can eat better by enlisting her services. Although this society has a very strict set of rules, corruption, like Twinkies, is able to survive the destruction, and rebirth, of a new world.  Readers will not only be sucked into the nightmare of this world, but will find themselves involved with this story as they wish nothing but luck for Katniss. Furthermore, the budding relationship between Peeta and Katniss will tug on some heart strings, which makes this story appealing to guys and girls. Collins is not only a brilliant storyteller, the harshness of this world, and it's leaders, paint a terrifying picture that forces readers to imagine what it would be like to live in one of the districts and just how lucky they are to have what they have.

Information about the Author:
Suzanne Collins made her literary debut with Gregor the Overlander, the first installment of the Underland Chronicles. Collins has also worked on various teen and children's television shows, including Little Bear and Oswald, that have been nominated for prestigious awards. According to Collins (as to how she got into writing children's books):

Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland, she was struck by how pastoral the setting must seem to kids who, like her own, lived in urban surroundings. In New York City, you’re much more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole and, if you do, you’re not going to find a tea party. What you might find...? Well, that’s the story of Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part fantasy/​war series, The Underland Chronicles" (para. 3)."
The Hunger Games trilogy concludes: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay that follows the story of Katniss Evergreen and her fight to bring down the government and freeing those she loves from total annihilation and restoring peace to Panem.

Teen Dystopian Thriller

Reading/Interest Level:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to to The Hunger Games:
 Awards/Recognition (from BWI TitleTales):
  • 2009 ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult
  • 2009 Young Reader Medal Nominees
  • 2008 NY Times Notable Children's Books
  • Booklist Starred Review 2008-09-01
  • Bulletin Starred Review 2008-11-01
  • Horn Book Starred Review 2009-04-01
  • Horn Book Starred  Review 2008-09-01
  • Kirkus Starred Review 2008-09-01
  • Publishers Weekly starred 2008-11-10
  • School Library Journal Starred Review 2008-09-01

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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