The Hunger Games (HG1) | Suzanne Collins | YA | Book Review

by Suzanne Collins

Kindle Edition | 374 pages
Published September 14th 2008

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 and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


It’s official… I’m a Hunger Games fan.

The Hunger Games has been a phenomenal success for Suzanne Collins. I had always avoided this series due to the violence, but suddenly realised that I shouldn’t judge it without checking it out. So I finally gave in to the hype and watched the first movie. I liked it, and decided to read the series before watching the next movies.

This book explores a raft of contradictions (wealth/poverty, truth/lies, story/reality) and a constant blizzard of conflicting emotions and thoughts from, Katniss, the main character. I describe this book as a dystopian society mashed with Big Brother and Survivor, topped off with the good old fashioned family entertainment and finality of a Roman style arena battle to the death. But the arena’s equivalent to an eviction/tribal council is a far worse fate for the losing contestants than having their flame extinguished by, Jeff Probst, and then basking in 15 minutes of fame. If you don’t win, you don’t live. It’s simple.

Overall, it’s a tragic tale of society gone mad that I hope stays as fiction. I found the story very engaging and liked that Katniss was so relatable.  She was just a no fuss, loving, intelligent girl trying to survive the oppressive conditions of District 12, whose noble act threw her into the nightmare of The Hunger Games. I think she kept that grounded vulnerability, and true dedication to her family all the way through the book.

I’m not really a romance junkie, so I don’t usually pick up books that have it, but I do understand that the love triangle in this book between Katniss, Peeta and Gale adds a layer of complexity to what Katniss has to deal with. I have written these comments before moving onto book 2. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out in the next books.

Source: Vanity Fair (The movie cast before their careers skyrocketed)

I must confess… I have become a Hunger Games fan. Recommended for anyone who likes to support the underdog, and who isn’t put off by romance or violence. It’s a great read.

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11 responses to “The Hunger Games (HG1) | Suzanne Collins | YA | Book Review”

  1. This book would be too old for a nine year old, wouldn’t it? I’ve watched the movies but never read the books. Now my daughter tells me they have purchased these books for their class. Just wondering if the book has the same level of violence as the movies. Thanks, karen x


    1. Good question, Karen. The violence was what gave me reservations about this one. I wouldn’t like my 10 year old watching the movie and I don’t think it’s the type of book she’d be really interested in, but I know some of her friends have read the books and seen the movies.
      In my opinion, movies can be more graphic than books. The images on screen are instantly seen and can be full-on, but a reader’s visualisation of a book scene may not be as vivid. It’s a tough question that I think can have different outcomes depending on the parent. It’s a cop-out answer, I know, but if you’re worried I think you should read HG1 and judge it for yourself 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I just said to Nicola that shes not to read it 😛 i just find it odd that the school would purchase them for her age group. I actually enjoyed the movies but i would never consider them suitable fir a child 🙂


  2. I started watching the movie but didn’t like it. Is the book better?


    1. I felt the start of the movie looked too ‘reality tv-like’ (shaky camera etc) but I didn’t judge it and continued to watch it… and liked it. If you didn’t like the movie then maybe the book isn’t for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that book too. catching fire is actually my favorite of the series


    1. I will post reviews for the others soon. I liked Catching Fire too, but was a little disappointed in the 3rd. On the whole, though, I’m definitely a Hunger Games fan.


  4. […] My full February review is HERE. […]


  5. […] check out what I thought about The Hunger Games (HG1) in my original review (and movie trailer) here. But before you do that, please let me know about your Hunger Games memories with a comment below […]


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