TITLE: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
AUTHOR: Suzanne Collins
AGE RANGE: YA
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 the 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 is forced to represent her district in the Games.
“And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
A huge part of me is tempted not to even review this book because it’s been read and reviewed by so many people, and doubtlessly has a cornucopia (ha) of reviews that are far more eloquent than anything I can say here. That aside, it’s easily one of the most formative, important, and beloved books of my life thus far, and I’ve read it so many times that it feels like a crime not to put a little something down in words.
District 12: Where you can starve to death in safety.
The Hunger Games felt like the dawning of an era; it was my introduction to dystopian sci-fi and was the first book, in my teens, that made me legitimately reconsider the things I’d always been taught about the US government, politics, and society at large. I’d grown up in a solidly sheltered, religious, and politically conservative home, and had never questioned much of what I’d been told up to that point. I’ll never forget reading this book for the first time, and that moment of wondering if this could all become a reality, and weighing my own mortality a little more heavily than I had before.
“You’re not leaving me here alone,” I say. Because if he dies, I’ll never go home, not really.
Doom and gloom aside, this is one of my favorite books of all time and it has not lost an ounce of its spark for me. To this day, I think Katniss is one of the most courageous, sensible, and inspiring protagonists I’ve ever seen. I’m still more than a little in love with Cinna, I’ll never fix the crack in my heart from sweet Rue, and I’ll always root for the boy with the bread. As an adult and a mother, everything in me hurts so much more for these poor, broken tributes — even the vicious, bloodthirsty ones who don’t know anything else — and I’m endlessly amazed by the world that Suzanne Collins created in Panem.
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