Hello my lovelies! Today, Wednesday Review welcomes back its own secret weapon, the international YA reviewer of mystery, SSH (or Sekrit Squirrels Helper) to tell you why there is all this fuss about The Hunger Games. The book, that is. She hasn’t seen the movie and having read the book doesn’t want to…
Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.
The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic country, Panem, which lies over the ashes of North America. The world is changed, and as far as we know, this is the only nation of humans left alive. At the centre of this dystopian world is the Capitol (because apparently the powers that be can’t spell).* The rest of the country is divided into districts, each with a role to play that benefits the Capitol. The country is completely under the thumb of the government, working their lives away to care for the Capitol, while they starve.
There is nothing the people can do against the government; before the last uprising there were thirteen districts. There are twelve now. People are starving, and Katniss, the main character has to break death penalty laws to get food. The authorities know about this, but they are starving too.
Just to prove how helpless they are, each year two children from each district between twelve and eighteen are chosen to participate in the Hunger Games, a horrifying reality TV show, where twenty-four go in and only one comes out alive. Will Katniss, be that one? Read the book to find out, ‘cos I’m sure not going to tell you!
You would have had to have been living under a rock with excellent sound-proofing and no internet, not to have noticed that since the announcing of the Hunger Games movie, the books have exploded in popularity. Having read the first book in the series, I can see the reason it is generating so much buzz.
It is an extremely well-written book, which had me in unbearable suspense until the very last page. I spent hours and hours reading, because I just couldn’t put it down, so ensure you have an empty day before you start, or you might miss a lot. However, as Suzanne Collins say at the end of The Hunger Games, “Katniss does something that would never go unpunished in her world; there would definitely be repercussions”. I’m just dying to know what they are, so look out for the next review, once I am no longer glued to the page. Once again, however, you will have to read the books to know what she did and what will happen, because my lips are sealed.
I would recommend this for anyone over ten** who loves a well written book; it has something for everyone who reads. This novel was written by Suzanne Collins. It was first published in hard cover form by Scholastic in September 2008, and I don’t think it is going away any time soon.
*Please note, American readers, that the reviewer is in the YA demographic and Australian and consequently doesn’t know about this spelling of the word to mean the government building in Washington. Rather than tell her, I thought I’d leave this in the review because 1) it’s funny and 2) it’s a lesson to writers not to take for granted that the rest of the world understands your local language idiosyncrasies.
**Note from Imelda. Please note that the subject matter is quite gruesome. The SSH refused an offer to see the film, although she enjoyed the book, on the grounds that there were several parts of the book that she didn’t want to see on screen. So, even if you give it to your pre-teen to read, you might want to watch the movie yourself before letting them see it.