Cover of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Cover of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

By Mandy Webster

The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins. Scholastic Press, 2008.

District 12, located in what was once known as the Appalachian Mountains in what was once known as North America, is one of the poorest of the 12 remaining districts of Panem. On a warm summer day, Katniss Everdeen makes her way to the reaping with the rest of the citizens of her district to find out whose names will be drawn for the Hunger Games.

Katniss, only 16 herself, volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the games, a vicious death match designed by The Capitol to remind the 12 districts of Panem who’s really in charge. Every year, two tributes between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen from each district and dropped, Survivor style into unknown territory. Only, in this case, there’s no voting the competition off the island.

After a week of training, the tributes find themselves battling it out, fighting the Gamemakers, as well as each other as all of Panem watches on television. The tributes must kill or be killed. If they don’t kill each other fast enough, the Gamemakers manufacture their own surprising twists to keep the audience entertained.

Katniss struggles with her compulsion to trust Peeta Mellark, her fellow District 12 tribute, who claims to have loved her since he first set eyes on her at the age of 5. The two part ways early in the Games, with Peeta joining the Careers, a group of tributes raised to play the Games, and Katniss sticking to a strategy of avoidance. When the two are reunited, Peeta is injured, and Katniss risks her own life to save his.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book I just couldn’t put down, but The Hunger Games is gripping from page one. This is technically a YA novel, but I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced, thought provoking read with lots of twists and turns.

The Hunger Games is the first book in the Hunger Games Trilogy.

Amanda L. Webster