Tuesday, November 6, 2012

[Review] The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: October 31st 2008
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Series: The Hunger Games (Book #1)
Source: I purchased a copy from a bookstore.
Blurb from Goodreads: Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? 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 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 steps forward to take her sister's place 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 will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


General thoughts: I had been fighting the need of reading this book. Mostly because whenever a book becomes really popular like this one, when I get to read it, it's a let down for me, and I'm tired of those books. But I gave in to temptation. And I'm so glad I did that I felt the need to slap myself for not reading it sooner. I was trapped since the very beginning of it, and I think it took me like five or six hours to finish it. I read it in one sitting, I couldn't stop. Whenever I needed to make an interruption  just because I'm human and I need to pee and eat and live, I couldn't stop thinking about the book. The world this book describes is so captivating that makes it impossible not to get caught in it.
This is a dystopia set in a post-apocalyptic world. Its a vertiginous reading with a pretty understandable language -no fancy words- and if there's some word you haven't heard before it has its meaning explained through the story. This is one of the things that makes so easy to picture the entire world of The Hunger Games. It contains some harsh scenes (let's not forget that this is a book about a bunch of teenagers killing each other to survive), but it never gets too gross. And being a person who can't stand the sight of blood, that's pretty much saying that it is completely bearable. I never even felt disgusted by the sharp descriptions of blood and wounds. 

About the plot: Katniss has to support her family in the best way she can, under the constant watch from the Capitol. The protagonist risks everything, everyday along with her friend, Gale, to go on hunting trips to the woods. That's the only way they're able to survive in the Seam, the poorest part of district 12. 
Despite their efforts, every year, the inevitable reaping day comes for the Capitol to take a girl and a boy from each district, so they can fight for their lives in "The Hunger Games", which is some kind of bizarre reality show where people of Panem have to watch their kids killing each other. The winner (the survivor) earns an "easy life" (if you can overcome the awful experience of seeing the kids around you getting killed or killing them yourself). 
With everything the way it is, Prim, Katniss' sister is in danger, because this is her first reaping. Katniss and Gale are even worse, because they agreed to enter their names repeatedly in the reaping in exchange for food. 
Odds don't seem to be on their favor, however, Katniss' only consolation is that Prim's name is entering only once. But she couldn't have been more unlucky, because it happens: Prim is selected to be the tribute for District 12. So, Katniss who would do whatever it takes to keep her sister safe, takes her place and volunteers to be the tribute. But as if that wasn't bad enough, the boy who is selected as tribute for district 12, is Peeta Mellark, the boy with the bread, and Katniss already owes him her life. Sweet!
When the tributes are taken to the Capitol, a team is supposed to take care of them and make them look pretty enough for the cameras. But they're obsessed with the idea of presenting district 12 tributes as a couple and Katniss is already sick of Peeta's kind and sweet act, because she's certain that she can't trust anyone, can she?

About the characters: 
Katniss, the girl on fire, is a sixteen-year-old girl who has been -for many years- the support of her family after her dad died. She's strong, brave, caring, independent and has a huge heart.
Peeta, the boy with the bread, is the sweetest boy you can imagine. Selfless, caring, sensitive, genuine and completely in love with Katniss.
Gale, the best friend. He's intriguing, a rebel, good friend, the king of the snares and the support of his family, just like Katniss.
Prim, the little sister, is a twelve-year-old, sweet and kind and lovely. She has her mothers skills and sometimes works with her in the apothecary.
Haymitch, the drunk mentor, he was the one who won the 50th Hunger Games. Often sarcastic, he's intelligent and sharp when he manages to stay sober.
Rue is a small 12-year-old from district 11 that was chosen as the girl tribute. She can climb well and jump from tree to tree. She and Katniss became allies in the Games when she pointed out a tracker jacker nest to Katniss that saved her life.

About the writing: This book is much more than just fast-paced. You get so involved with the story that you can't even tell when you have finished it. It is narrated in first person, from Katniss point of view and you can almost see whatever she sees. I love the writing, mostly because I didn't felt the need of skipping descriptions or anything, because it has the exact amount of details to understand the world and the plot, without boring you with explanations. I loved it, I wouldn't change a word of it.

About the ending (it contains spoilers): First of all, I have to say that I couldn't resist and after six hours reading The Hunger Games non-stop, I had to start "Catching Fire" right away.
We have to separate the end of the games and the ending of the book. 
The end of 74th Hunger Games, God! I was about to die when the last announcement is made. And then I cried at the reaction of both Peeta and Katniss. It was pretty exciting when everyting seemed to fall in place and they defeat the Capitol. Katniss & Peeta: 1 ; Capitol: 0
The ending of the book was sad. I felt everything that Peeta was feeling. I just wanted to hug him and tell him that Katniss was insane and she didn't deserve him. 

I would recommend it to: Oh my God! I don't care about genres or who you are anymore. You HAVE to read it. Like... NOW!



“I can feel Peeta press his forehead into my temple and he asks, 'So now that you've got me, what are you going to do with me?' I turn into him. 'Put you somewhere you can't get hurt.” 

“District 12: Where you can starve to death in safety.” 

“Only I keep wishing I could think of a way...to show the capitol they don't own me. That I'm more than a piece in their games.”

About the author: 

Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days.
While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author James Proimos, who talked her into giving children’s books a try.
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 series, The Underland Chronicles.
Suzanne also has a rhyming picture book illustrated by Mike Lester entitled When Charlie McButton Lost Power.
She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard.
The books she is most successful for in teenage eyes are the Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. These books have won several awards, including the GA Peach Award.
Website: http://suzannecollinsbooks.com/


  1. I also love how Suzanne writes and makes us readers feel what the characters feel. It was such a fast paced book that I absolutely cannot put down, every chapter ending just made me crave for more!:)

  2. Ha! I thought I was the last one to read this book. I'm about 100 pages from the end right now (so I only skimmed your review). Good to know I'm not the last person on this train.

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  3. I was captivated by this series of books and couldn't put them down until I had read every word. I am a huge fan and recommend this trilogy for excellent reading.
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