I can’t believe this book for young adults is as good as everyone said! Not that I don’t trust my fellow bloggers, but the premise seemed so grim that I couldn’t imagine making silk out of such a sow’s ear. I’m happy to declare I was so wrong.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lost her father when she was 11. She lives in the poor coal-mining District 12 of Panem, a country that once was the United States, and residents of her district often die of starvation. When her father died, Katniss took to the woods to hunt food for her mother and little sister Prim.
Every year Panem holds a lottery to select two candidates from each of the twelve districts to fight to the death in “The Hunger Games.” (This is punishment that the twelve districts must endure for an uprising in which the thirteenth district was obliterated. The twelve must never be allowed to forget.) When Prim is selected, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Her male counterpart is Peeta, a boy who apparently has been in love with her all his life. But according to the rules of The Hunger Games, there can only be one winner out of the twenty-four; the rest must die.
Sounds depressing, doesn’t it? Noir-y? Violent? It’s a little of those things, but mostly it is surprisingly original, gripping, and memorable. And it’s a love story! The characters are almost uniformly likeable without being cardboard, and the fantastical elements are not too absurd or unbelievable. Well, maybe the last-featured of the mutations, or muttations [sic] as they are called. Otherwise, I am pleased to say there is no shark-jumping in this book.
Evaluation: This book is terrific. If you are one of the few people in the universe who have not yet read this, I think you should find out what all the buzz is about; you won’t be disappointed.
Published by Scholastic Press, 2008