Book Review: The Hunger Games

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When the Mom It Forward crew asked me to write a book review about The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I don’t think they realized they were talking to a BIG fan of Young Adult (YA) Novels!  Apparently, I am not the only Generation X mom who loves to read and immerse myself into these types of books. The popularity of YA novels can be traced back to the release of Stephanie Meyers' Twilight YA novel, according to Megan Tingley, senior vice president and publisher of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.  Ms. Tingley fell in love with the manuscript while on a plane and agrees that Twilight set the trend for adults to read YA books.

Suzanne Collins says the inspiration to write The Hunger Games came to her while channel surfing.  She came across one channel with people competing in a reality show, then another channel was footage of the invasion of Iraq.  She says that the two “began to blur in this very unsettling way” and the idea for the book was formed.  Collins said that the Greek myth of Theseus served as the foundation for the story and she feels Katniss, the main character, is a sort of futuristic Theseus. Naturally, Roman gladiatorial games also contributed to the story’s concept.

But wait! I am getting ahead of myself if you aren’t one of the millions who have read the story.  The Hunger Games was originally published on September 14, 2008, by Scholastic.  Collins wrote it in the first person which draws you into the emotional journey that the main character, sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, takes.

I think part of the appeal of this story is that it is set in a post-apocalyptic world.  This trend of post-apocalyptic worlds continues and can be seen in popular T.V. shows such as The Walking Dead and the movie Take Shelter.

Katniss lives in the country of Panem where the countries of North America once existed.  The Capitol is a highly advanced metropolitan area and holds complete power and control over the rest of the nation.  The Hunger Games are an annual televised event where each of the 12 districts of Panem has to send in one boy and one girl, ages 12 to 18, to compete in a battle to the death with one remaining winner.  The first time you get really emotionally attached to Katniss and her community is when the names are randomly selected in a lottery.

Collins does a wonderful job of drawing you into their world and feel their tension and fear when the names are drawn to fight in The Hunger Games.  This type of page-turning tension is felt throughout the entire story, making it a tough book to put down!  Apparently it has struck a nerve worldwide because The Hunger Games has been translated into 26 different languages since its initial release back in 2008.

The Hunger Games is the first novel in The Hunger Games trilogy and is followed by Catching Fire, published in September 2009, and Mockingjay, published in August 2010.  The Hunger Games movie is coming out March 23, and was written and produced by Collins and directed by Gary Ross.

I highly recommend this page-turning YA novel to anyone who enjoys a good story.  I am very curious to see if they are able to recreate the tension and fear you feel for the characters on the big screen.  Guess we will find out in a few weeks!  Happy reading and movie viewing!

1.  Article collections from
2.  - The Hunger Games.

What books do you and your kid like to read together?

Photo Credit - Bing Images. Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.

Melissa Northway, M.S. Human Nutrition, is a wife and mom to a fiesty redhead who inspired her to write children's picture books and apps.  Her first storybook app Penelope the Purple Pirate has gone on to be a Top 25 iTunes Book App and chosen as a Top 10 Educational iPad App by Digital Storytime.  You can reach her at [email protected] and  Make sure to stop by Penelope the Purple Pirate's Facebook Page as she loves to hand out pirate booty!


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