The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Reviewed by Margo Dill, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.margodill.com
*Young adult novel, fantasy set in the future
*16-year-old girl as main character
*Rating: I’m a fan of the Underland series by Suzanne Collins, so I picked up The Hunger Games, and I loved it even more than the Gregor books. The Hunger Games is a haunting page-turner.
Short, short summary: When the novel opens, the reader is introduced to the future world of Panem, and this is not such a great place to live. The Capitol rules over Panem; and each year, the 12 districts must participate in the Hunger Games. These “games” are how the Capitol keeps its power over the districts and avoids another uprising (such as happened in the past when District 13 was eliminated from the world). What are the Hunger Games? They are basically the future’s version of reality TV where 24 teenagers, 12 boys and 12 girls, fight to the death on live television. Katniss and Peeta are District 12′s tributes, and no one ever expects lowly District 12 to win the Hunger Games–they have a drunk for a mentor and no resources to train their tributes. But this year, Katniss and Peeta show promise, and people start to hold out hope that one of them can win the Hunger Games. But how do they feel about these games? Scared and sick! Join Suzanne Collins on an adventure that you will not be able to put down until you find out what happens to Katniss and Peeta in the arena during the Hunger Games.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Since this book focuses on a society where teenagers must fight to the death on live television and people are excited about it, this could be upsetting for some readers. It was upsetting for me at times. It is important to keep discussions open and allow teens to express their feelings about the events in the book. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a great book to practice journal writing and persuasive writing. Ask students to write about how they feel when Katniss takes the place of her sister. Assign students to write a letter to Katniss persuading her of the reasons why Peeta would make a good friend or even mate. How do they feel about the Hunger Games? What would they do if they were chosen as a tribute? Students could also write a journal entry as if they were Katniss or Peeta and describe a day in the arena.
2. This book can be compared and contrasted with several popular books that are often studied in English classes such as The Giver and Lord of the Flies. Ask students to write a five-paragraph essay comparing and contrasting The Hunger Games with one of these books. If your students have not read these books yet, Lord of the Flies is a movie, and you could compare the movie to the book, The Hunger Games.
3. Discuss with students: who are the antagonists in this book? Is there more than one? Who are the protagonists in this book? Is there more than one? Review with students the meanings of these words, and discuss the traits of each of these characters. Students may have trouble picking the true antagonists because they may first choose the other tributes, especially the Careers. However, aren’t these characters victims of the Hunger Games just like Katniss and Peeta? Who is truly causing the problems for the main characters?
Suzanne Collins has written a sequel to this first book, and I can’t wait! You can preorder it from Amazon!
The second book of The Hunger Games series