Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I have been reading a lot of young adult fiction lately. I am not sure why. But my sister-in-law gave me Hunger Games to read on our beach vacation.

I read it less than a day.  It is the story of a 16 year old girl in a post apocalyptic North America.  A brutal government has organized North American into 13 districts (12 still exist, the 13th was destroyed when it rebelled.)

Each year, the government organizes the Hunger Games both as a distraction for the people and as an example of the power the central government.  Two teens, one boy and one girls are chosen from each district and forced to fight to the death.  The game is televised and watched like an extreme version of American Idol.

This clearly has some references to the classic short story, “The Lottery” and some hints at the ideas in “Lord of the Flies”.  This is a very good young adult books, but is fairly brutal, after all the central idea of the book is a game where all the contestants kill one another.  It is still youth fiction, even though there are some graphic fight scenes, the language is mild, and the romance is chaste.

In some ways it is similar to Legacy (my review).  Both are about teen girls.  Legacy is set in an ancient kingdom, Hunger Games in a future post-apocalyptic North America.  Both involve outside challenges and difficulties with romance.  But in the end Hunger Games leans more toward Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (one of my all time favorite novels) and Legacy leans toward a Disney classic.  I think Hunger Games is very good, but the second book is even better.  I will blog about the second book on Friday.  The third book comes out in Aug 2010.


My daughter, who is 11, loved this book and Catching Fire (the 2nd one)….couldn't put them down!!

What I liked about the first book was that it was action packed without being hurried, interesting without being overly graphic, and she maintained the absence of having to make a decision without becoming too annoying. The story itself did have basic similarities with other books but I appreciated her own twists and she is ultimately a good writer. Not great, but good, which in the YA is generally hard to find.

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Adam Shields, Adam Shields. Adam Shields said: Continuing to blog about books I read at the Beach. Hunger Games is about teens that fight to death. Great book […]

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My Favorite Fiction Books of 2010 | Mr Shields: I'm a reader not a fighterJanuary 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm

[…] Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – There has been a lot of ink used to talk about these books.  They are not perfect, but they are the best series I have read this year.  My sister in law introduced them to me and I read the first two at the beach on vacation and then the last when it was released in August.  This is an good Young Adult, action oriented, female lead series. […]

Night by Elie Wiesel | Bookwi.seMarch 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

[…] I listened to Night, I kept reflecting on two books.  One, Hunger Games, where a teen girl is sent to fight to the death as entertainment.  There were horrible parts […]

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