The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Scholastic Inc., c2008, 2009

Genres: Science fiction, adventure, dystopian, thriller

Series: The Hunger Games; 1

ISBN: 9780439023528

Intended audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 374

Setting: District 12 & the Capitol, Panem

Time period: Sometime in the future – after “the Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol” (p. 18).

Plot summary: When Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister, Prim, is selected as a tribute for District 12 in the Capitol’s televised Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to go instead.  With her hunting skills, Katniss has a better chance of surviving the games than her twelve year old sister.  In spite of this, it will take all of Katniss’s wits and a good amount of luck, to make it through the games alive.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: This is an incredibly fast paced book.  It is written in the present tense, which gives the story a sense of immediacy and makes it much harder to put down.

Characterization: The story is told in first person through Katniss.  The characters are very real; the most important secondary character is Peeta Mellark, the other tribute from District 12.

Frame: This is a dark story, involving much violence and death and the main frame for this story is survival.  However, there is also a frame of rebellion.  Katniss feels that if she is doomed to die, she shouldn’t do so quietly without fighting back somehow.  Another frame for this story is love.  Katniss volunteers for this ordeal because of the love she feels for her sister.

Story line: A non-stop, action packed book about survival, trust, betrayal and a harrowing future.

Subject headings:

From Pima County Public Library:

Survival skills — Juvenile fiction.

Television programs — Juvenile fiction.

Interpersonal relations — Juvenile fiction.

Contests — Juvenile fiction.

Survival — Fiction.

Television programs — Fiction.

Interpersonal relations — Fiction.

Contests — Fiction.

Science fiction.

Similar works:

An in-depth list from the Beaverton City Library, Beaverton, OR

Some more suggestions from The Mount Prospect Public Library

Additional suggestions from Wake County Public Libraries

And even more suggestions from the publisher – Scholastic

Personal notes: Wow!  This was an intense read and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series – Catching Fire.  Lots of powerful passages in this book.  This one in particular really got to me – “Perhaps the girl doesn’t even remember me.  But I know she does.  You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.  I pull the covers up over my head as if this will protect me from the redheaded girl who can’t speak.  But I can feel her eyes staring at me, piercing through walls and doors and bedding.  I wonder if she’ll enjoy watching me die” (p. 85).

Other (diversity, themes, websites): Diversity – girl hunter, Avoxes (people who have committed crimes), tributes (children who have been chosen to participate in the games), Muttations – genetic experiments involving humans and animals

Suzanne Collins’s website

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