The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Digital Audiobook narrated by Carolyn McCormick
Published by Scholastic Press on October 14, 2008
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Genres: Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 374 pages or 10 hours, 35 minutes
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In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
The Hunger Games is such a happy re-read for me.
I mean, come on. This book has everything. A realistically devised dystopian future. Interesting characters with hidden depths! There’s so much at stake and the balance of action and romance is just A++ good. I love this trilogy. The Hunger Games was the dystopia that pushed YA dystopia into the spotlight, and there’s a prequel coming! What’s not to love?
This marks my fifth time reading this book. I am the type of reader who may remember the format, but will often forget details as I read. I feel like every time I re-read a beloved book like this, I discover something new. And believe me, I get how the hype train may have messed this one up for some people. I’m lucky enough to say I read it early on, before the hype got too bad, and long before the movie. It was a surprise to me when I was barely in the community.
Lets start with the plot. The Hunger Games has a gripping plot for a couple reasons. First, there is a ticking clock for most of the book. Second, the lives of the characters are on the line all the time. The action is well-written enough that every bow strung feels real to the reader, but there aren’t enough technical details to hamper the story. You fall in love with some characters (Rue) and you fall into hate with others (Clove) in the blink of an eye. Suzanne Collins knows how to pull her readers’ heartstrings.
And while I want to say “the plot is what makes this so good!” … it’s not just the plot. It’s everything. The characters absolutely make you fall for them in a way that only a few books do really well. Katniss comes off as harsh and cold at the beginning, but her confusion about the way people act and their intentions makes her vulnerable, and her fear makes her real. There aren’t a lot of moments where Katniss feels like a teen, but they are there. Peeta is sweet, Gale is dark and mysterious. Rue and Prim, if no others, will take your heart. I’ve always been entranced by Foxface, myself. And Haymitch! And Effie! I haven’t don’t much research into the prequel, but I really want it to be about Haymitch. So much.
I just love this book so much. Every time I re-read it, it’s a treat. The pacing is so on point and it pulls me into the world effortlessly. I would never want to be pulled into the arena, but I’m absolutely captivated by it. If you haven’t read it, read it. And if you haven’t read it in awhile, read it again. Totally worth it.
Do you think you could win the Hunger Games? I have zero practical and survival skills, I would be dead at the blood bath! Tell me how you’d make out in the comments!