The Hunger Games- “Here’s some advice. Stay alive.”

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins just kind of blew my mind…

In a postapocalyptic world, 12 Districts and a Capitol pit 24 children against each other for a televised game of death.  24 children… 12 boys… 12 girls… ages 12-18… 2 from each District… to remind them that the Capitol is in charge and they should not have another uprising of civilians… only 1 child survives… To think this is a Teen book series!

I thought it was a wonderful read. Katniss (our heroine) volunteers to be the “Tribute” for District 12 after her 12-year-old baby sister gets chosen from the pool.  She, and the baker’s son Peeta, are thrust into the spotlight and must compete against the 22 other CHILDREN to outlast, outsmart and KILL each other in a violent, bloody mess of a wilderness.  While some train their whole lives to destroy another’s life, Katniss has, unbeknownst to her, trained her whole life to survive.  Growing up in the ultra poor mining district, she sneaks out of the District boundaries every morning with her pseudo boyfriend Gale to hunt for food for their families.  The Capitol can also add elements to the arena of death… like fires, floods and killer beasts to drive the tributes to the same area so they have to fight (so the people watching stay glued to their televisions).

It’s not just the strategy of how to survive in the wilderness for days and weeks on end while others try to kill you, there’s also a strategy to win over the hearts of the people watching the games on television, so they can send gifts in the game to help you survive (medicine, food, etc).  It’s this angle, that Peeta truly excels at.  Since they grew up watching the Hunger Games, they know that they are being filmed at all times, so they’re able to play up their strengths, downplay their weaknesses and really give the viewers a show so they can stay in the game and survive as long as they can.

There is a LOT of blood, gore and violence.  However, there is also a good deal of romance, personal growth and most importantly hope.

I thought the book was exceptionally good and I can see where they are going to succeed in making it into a feature film.  There were some chapters that, as a total movie nerd, I can imagine how awesome it will be on screen…  Now, after looking at the casting, I can say they are PERFECT on almost all of the characters I imagined in this story.  Woody Harrelson will be the drunk former winner of the Hunger Games who has to coach Peeta and Katniss.  He will be supurb!  All of the leads I’m really looking forward to, except Josh Hutcherson does not seem to me to have the “super strong, broad-shouldered, baker’s son” look that I thought they would cast as Peeta… just makes me excited to seeing how it looks on the big screen.

I’m now starting book 2 in the series.  I fell in love with the characters from “The Hunger Games” and I really can’t wait to see what the consequences will be for the choices they made in book 1.  There were moments when I literally gasped as I read.  You really  root for the characters.  I read that when Suzanne Collins wrote the book, she was watching TV and flipping channels between the news and reality shows and the lines started to blur and made her uncomfortable.  I can see totally see that now.  I’m not sure I can watch an episode of “Survivor” and not think about the 12-year-old little girl Rue from the book who had to fight ginormous 18-year-old boys to survive while people watched…

You can get the book on Kindle for $5.00, paperback for $8.99 and in hardcover for $9.63  The second book in the series is “Catching Fire” and the third is “Mockingjay”.

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