Where North America once thrived now exists a country made up of twelve districts. Once a year, the government of this country sponsors an event called The Hunger Games. Two teens, one boy and one girl, are sent from each district to the capital city of Panem to participate. The Games pit all twenty-four teens in a battle to the death, with one survivor. The Games are broadcast on TV back to each of the districts. The winner must kill all of their opponents, even those who might be friends.
Katniss Everdeen has become the primary provider for her family since her father’s death, and has honed her skills at hunting with a bow and arrow, often outside the borders of District 12, which is one of the poorest of the districts. On the day teens are selected to participate in the Hunger Games, Katniss is shocked when her younger sister Prim’s name is drawn. Knowing that her fragile sister will never survive, Katniss volunteers to take her place in the competition. Katniss travels with Peeta, the boy selected from District 12, to the capital to prepare for the Games. Katniss and Peeta have known each other for years, but are far from friends. Each contestant is given advice on appearance, training, and manipulating not only the media surrounding the event, but the filming of the show itself. Katniss struggles with her media appearances, but trusts her own abilities to survive, at least for a while. She is shocked to find herself touted as a darling of the Games, and as a love interest for Peeta. She also finds herself at a disadvantage because she is from District 12. Some of the wealthier districts train their teens to be champions of the games, while those from poor districts must fend for themselves once their names are selected. Once the games begin, Katniss is on her own.
Suzanne Collins expertly blends a futuristic society with the primitive existence of some of the poorer districts. The influence of the government and the controllers of the Games is a strong underscore to the development of Katniss’ character.
This is quite possibly one of the best books I’ve ever read. Suzanne Collins, the author of the Gregor the Overlander Series, held me captive for hours. I simply couldn’t put this book down. The sequel, Catching Fire
, will be released in September, and I can’t wait!