Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hunger Games

I have just finished the book Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. What a great book. I had a student ask me yesterday what I was reading so I gave himself a brief synopsis. I told him I would be finished with the book by the next day. He stood by my desk today as I read the last four pages so he could be sure to be the next one to check it out from me and read it.

Imagine the U.S. as we know it is gone, and our nation has been divided into twelve districts. Some much poorer than others. The government has a sick way of entertaining the nation. Once a year they hold the "Hunger Games". Children between the ages of twelve and eighteen have their name put into a bowl each year. A boy and girl "tribute" are chosen to play these games. They are wisked away to the Capitol in Colorado where they are treated like royalty, trained and then sent into the arena to fight to the death. The whole thing is televised for the districts to see. Those who are rich make bets on their favorite player based on how well they do in the arena and how popular they become. Each district can purchase gifts for their tributes to help them. This can be food, medicine or anything else they think they need or deserve.

I was apalled to think that the government would think that this was good entertainment. They thought so little of their people that they were willing to sacrifice 23 of them every year in the name of entertainment. If the killing was not moving along fast enough then the gamekeepers would do something to escalate it. I loved all of the characters. The main character Katniss was one that at times seemed clueless and at other times seemed like she was on top of the game. Peeta, the male tribute from her district has been in love with Katniss for years. She on the other hand has a very close male friend back home that she doesn't exactly consider a boyfriend, but thinks of as more than just a good friend. You can tell she is fond of Peeta. At times she seems like she may be falling in love with him and then she pulls away emotionally. The angle of the two of them as star-crossed lovers makes them the popular choice in the games. In the end you don't know if she has feelings for Peeta or not. It leaves enough loose ends to set things up for the second book. I don't know when it will be out, but I will wait with anticipation for its release. I would recommend this book to all of my friends and my students.

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