Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Sixteen-year-old Katniss is a survivor. Katniss struggles to provide for her mother and young sister by hunting and gathering after her father dies. In a future where the US has fallen, the result of brutal wars has left 12 districts governed by cruel dictators. Each year the government chooses a boy and girl from each district to participate in the Hunger Games – a fight to the death, televised for all to see. The Hunger Games are a punishment on the districts for a long-ago uprising against the Capitol. This year, Katniss is shocked when her young sister’s name is chosen to participate from the lottery. So Katniss volunteers to take her place, along with Peeta – the son of the district’s baker. The two have little fighting skills compared to other districts’ participants who have been training their whole lives for this event.
Katniss is a completely engaging character. I usually can’t stand present tense narrative, but Collins’ writing pulled me in nonetheless. I was pulled in from the start, and couldn’t let go. It’s a story of love, friendship, surviving, violence, and death. The reader experiences everything that Katniss does, and experiences a full range of emotions. Collins’ characters are truly stunning.
This is an immensely popular trilogy, and I now know why. With an abundance of drama and suspense, this futuristic science fiction novel for young adults will appeal to readers young and old. It’s breathtaking and a fantastic adventure from beginning to end.