Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Review for The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins

       In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival. (Barnes and Noble Overview)
            Ok, I was going to write my own summary but I’m sure all it would have said was “Ohmygoodnessohmygoodnessohmygoodnessohmygoodness!!!!!!!!” Cause that was my initial feeling about this book. I knew it was gonna be great. Everyone else on the planet had read it and raved about it for days on end. Even some of my friends (who, for your information, I did not expect to read material such as this, being homeschooled and all. Not that it’s bad-it’s just not Henty or anything…) had read it. So, 3 long years after Mrs. Collins gave THG to the world at large, I read it. And my life was changed FOREVER.
            Ok, enough drama, Shelby. *deep breath* Sorry, I just had to freak a little over the epicness of this book. Anyways, first of all, I haven’t read anything like this. EVER. I don’t read much dystopian, but of late, I’m getting into it. J The whole plot was very unique and grabbed me right out of North Carolina and deposited me in Panem. Right on Katniss’s doorstep. Mentioning Katniss, I don’t usually go for the rough, uncaring female protagonists in books (that’s what I felt Katniss was at the beginning), but she really turned out to have more of a heart than I imagined. Maybe that’s a trick of Mrs. Collins, or maybe it was just me. But either way, it was amazing how Mrs. Collins gave Katniss just the right amount of toughness and heart. When all was said and done, I ended up really admiring Katniss, her intelligence, her perseverance to survive, and her amazing personality. Despite her naivety regarding Peeta’s feelings. J
            Which leads me to something else I loved about THG. Peeta. Sigh. Blonde guys aren’t  really appealing to me (maybe because they have prettier hair than me), but  for some reason, Peeta ignited me (haha no pun intended- since Peeta was “on fire” at one point in this book). He created a warm, fuzzy feeling in my chest each time I read about him. J Was it just me, or did Peeta seem a bit more ignorant about survival than Katniss? Maybe it was because he was “the baker’s son” and all. But that’s ok. *dreamy sigh* I’m still going to add him to my “List of Fictional Love Interests.”J
Gale. *restless sigh* I have conflicting emotions about him (you’d think the way I go on and on about these guys that I’m the one having to pick between them, not Katniss!). He’s dark-ish, hot, quiet, and understanding. I think he knows Katniss inside and out. He’s the best choice for her. But Peeta (no, I promise I won’t make this about him…) has also been through a lot with Katniss. They’ve saved each other’s lives, and healed each other’s wounds, and it’s just so romantic. *sigh* Peeta moment over. I’m just not sure about Gale yet…Mrs. Collins really didn’t add a whole lot about him, so I think we still have some getting to know to do with him. I hope I can learn more about him in Catching Fire and Mockingjay. 
And lastly, I have some random gushing to add: Ok, so he isn’t a main character, but I just adored Cinna. Especially his spontaneity. I mean, who would have thought of setting someone on fire to make them unforgettable?! His mind is amazing. And Prim. She’s such a sweet little flower (literally…) and she reminded me of my little sister Lily (another flower), which really helped me to sympathize with Katniss when she took Prim’s place in the Hunger Games. The whole idea of the Hunger Games made me think of the gladiator fights. It’s pretty much the same thing! And to add to it, Mrs. Collins gave many of her characters Roman names. Did you notice that too?! Portia, Flavius, Octavia…I doubt that was a coincidence.  Also, the three main characters, Katniss, Gale, and Peeta, reminded me of three characters from the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson: Max, Fang, and Dylan. They even share the same personalities! Both Max and Katniss are tough girls, Fang and Gale are quiet, dark, and have a little romance going with their ladies, and Dylan and Peeta are both blonde and butt in on the romance between Katniss and Gale and Max and Fang. Get it?! I was so ecstatic when I finally figured that out. And I know all you Team Peeta fans out there are yelling at me right now for daring to compare angelic Peeta to nasty Dylan, but they DO have some similarities. J  
Late one night, I was reading page 130. You know, the page where Peeta is being interviewed and spills he’s “in love” with Katniss. Well, I got to that part and was like, “Haha! I knew it! I am so freakin smart!” I had had a feeling he was in love with her. But little did I know that it was all for show…at least it was then. When I figured out that it was for show, I was like, “Oh. Never mind. Guess I’m not so freakin smart.” So I got towards the end of the book, and realized that Peeta really was in love with Katniss from the beginning, and was like, “HA! Take that! I am freakin smart after all!” J
I could go on and on and on and on about THG…wait…I already have…well, I could probably write a novel gushing all the things I like about this book and analyzing the love triangle, but I know I’ve pained you enough already. If this review can’t convince you to read the Hunger Games, I don’t know what will. It was so well written and very entertaining (the book, not this review). The chapters flowed so smoothly that you barely realized when they started and stopped. THG is the definition of a page-turner, for sure! I hope you read The Hunger Games, and enjoy them as much as I did, because I know how much you will be missing out on if you don’t.  J  
Quick Content Review:
Profanity: Minor. I wasn’t sure what to rate the profanity in this book. There were only about 2 h-words, and only one of them was used as a “bad word.” The other was used to describe the place. So, technically, there wasn’t any profanities in this book. Just wanted to let you know about the one h-word, for those of you out there who are extra careful about that sorta thing.
Violence: Mild- Heavy. Now, don’t let this scare you off. It’s really hard giving such a wonderful book such a harsh violence rating. But if I did otherwise, I would be lying. Mrs. Collins did a marvelous job at making all violence very brief and as un-descriptive as possible without ruining the plot. I began reading THG bracing myself for the coming bloodbath, but truly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Trust me, there are far worse things out there! Taking that to mind, I don’t suggest that you try reading THG if you are known to be squeamish. It’s really up to you and what you can handle. (If it helps you any, I’d give this book a PG-13 rating for violence.)
Sexual: Minor. Katniss and Peeta kiss several times for the camera to go along with their masquerade of being in love.


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