The Hunger Games is a Young Adult book about a world called Panem, believed to be North America. Panem consists of The Capital, which governs twelves districts. At some point in the past, the districts rebelled against The Capital. The Capital squashed the rebellion and as a reminder of the failed act of defiance, they hold the Hunger Games. This is an event in which each of the twelve districts sends a boy and a girl, between the ages of 12 and 18, to compete in a battle to the death. Only one survivor remains and the winner's district receives enough food for the rest of the year.
The book has a Big Brother feel to it with a little bit of Running Man and even Alice in Wonderland mixed in. I felt at times that I was (along with the protagonist Katniss) the only sane person in a world of madness. Collins is able to weave contrasting images such as taking an event that revolves around violent death and mixing in extreme makeovers and romance without a second thought.
This book confused my sensibilities. In a way, it's a lot like a bad accident. I felt guilty for enjoying it but couldn't help but read on with morbid interest. Suzanne Collins created an entirely new world with its own customs, rules, and even animals. Her characters are colorful and her herione, Katniss, is a strong and complicated person. Using these things, Collins makes strong statements about war, violence, power, and humanity.
A great thing about this book is that it's the first in a three part series. So read the Hunger Games now, then the sequel Catching Fire, and you'll be just in time for the Mockingjay release in August!
Reviewed by Cathy