Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne. 2008. THE HUNGER GAMES. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439023481 [Suggested Grade Levels 7–12]
In what used to be North America, the nation of Panem is made up of 12 districts where residents are forbidden from venturing beyond their boundaries, and must produce goods to benefit the Capitol city. Communication between the districts is forbidden to prevent rebellion. To further instill fear, the annual Hunger Games are televised and required viewing for all. This brutal battle features “tributes” from each district; one boy and one girl chosen by lottery, to compete in a gladiator-style fight to the death. The battlefield is created by the “gamemakers” in the Capitol who manipulate the environment to make the battle more “entertaining” for viewers.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen ends up in the battle when her younger sister’s name is drawn and she volunteers to go in her place, knowing that “in District 12, where the word ‘tribute’ is pretty much synonymous with the word ‘corpse’, volunteers are all but extinct.” While initially resigned to what she considers certain death, Katniss begins to develop a killer mentality when she realizes that there is a slim chance she could win. She forms an uneasy alliance with Peeta, the other tribute from her district, but the underlying realization that there will be only one winner, not a winning team, creates a life-and-death moral choice for the two. The fast pace and gory details will keep pages turning, but the struggle between humanity and survival will have readers anxiously awaiting the second installment, CATCHING FIRE.
Challenge teen readers to write their own short stories featuring a post-apocalyptic nation or world where residents struggle for survival. What would life be like on a daily basis?
Other books written by Suzanne Collins:
GREGOR THE OVERLANDER. ISBN 0439435366
GREGOR AND THE PROPHECY OF BANE. ISBN 9780439650755
GREGOR AND THE CURSE OF THE WARMBLOODS. ISBN 9780439656238
By Tammy Korns