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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title The Hunger Games Book 1
Author Suzanne Collins
Publisher Scholastic Inc.
Year 2008
ISBN-10 0-439-02352-1

Teaser/Reader Annotation Katniss Everdeen must risk both her life and own humanity in order to survive The Hunger Games – the deadly television event designed by the Capitol to keep the districts under control.

Plot Summary The Hunger Games is set at an indeterminate time in the future. The United States has fractured and was reformed into the country Penam which was divided into thirteen districts and the Capitol which ruled over them all. When the districts rebelled at the Capitol's rule a great war broke out resulting in the destruction of District 13 and subordination of the remaining twelve. Each year, as a reminder of the control the Capitol holds over them, the districts are required to send one male and one female tribute between the ages of twelve and eighteen to fight to the death on live television within a specially designed Arena. To save her young, innocent sister from this fate, sixteen-year-old Katniss volunteers herself at this year's reaping. Though she regards it as an immanent death sentence, Katniss is determined to put forth her best effort – not to kill, but to survive. She must draw upon every skill she has learned hunting in the woods if she is to come out of this alive.

Critical Evaluation The Hunger Games was a book that I simply could not put down. Once I started reading it, the pages flew by in a hurry. The young, female protagonist was, surprisingly, one that did not annoy me in critical areas as I have encountered in the majority of other books I have read with similar main characters. There were certain parts of her personality – such as her willing blindness and misunderstanding of Peeta – that frustrated me but those were overshadowed by the parts of her character that I did enjoy. She was a strong, independent young girl but without the typical dose of “girl power” that one typically finds. Collins also did a remarkable job in building this world – giving enough details for the reader to be drawn into the setting but leaving areas questionable to keep them guessing through re-reads. While certain aspects of it were a bit predictable, there were enough plot twists to keep the action going. Altogether, reading The Hunger Games felt like an interesting mixture of 1984 and Battle Royale with a touch of romance thrown in to keep female readers interested.

About the Author Suzanne Collins is an American children's and young adult television writer and author. She earned her Master's of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from New York University and currently lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children. She began writing for children's television shows in 1991 working for stations such as Nickelodeon on shows such as the award-winning Clarissa Explains It All, Little Bear, and Oswald.

Her connections in the television world allowed her to meet children's author James Proimos who motivated her to begin working on her own children's book. The five book The New York Times best selling series The Underland Chronicles was inspired by Alice in Wonderland, wondering what would happen if the child fell down a manhole in the city instead of a rabbit hole in the country. 2008 saw the release of the first book in her award-winning young adult trilogy, The Hunger Games

Primary Genre Science-Fiction

Secondary Genre Action

Curriculum Ties English

Booktalking Ideas

1) Can you see reality television evolving into an event such as this as viewers become desensitized to the violence?

2) In what ways did Collins draw inspiration from history for this book? Give examples.

Reading Level/Interest Age Grades 7+

Challenge Issues Violence

1) Become familiar with book and its content.
2) Refer to library's collection policies.
3) Refer to reviews from School Library Journal, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobles.
4) Get reviews from teenagers who are familiar with the book.
5) Refer to the ALA Library Bill of Rights.

Why is it included? After reading this book for class, I fell in love with the story and feel it must be included in any young adult collection.