SUMMARY The Hunger Games are a reality TV show put on by the Capitol to remind the 12 districts that surround it that they are in charge. Each district enters 1 boy and 1 girl, randomly chosen from name entries in big balls. And only person can win the games, meaning that all the other contestants have to die. Katniss's sister, Prim, is initally picked for the games but Katniss voluteers to take her place.
This book absolutely blew me away. Katniss is an amazing character, complex, clever, honest, humble and most importantly of all, she's relentlessly tough. I wish I had her knowledge. Through her character Collins highlights everything that the majority of Western humanity has forgotten about how we used to live. Katniss knows how to hunt, cook, find water, heal - everything that we used to know about survival. She crosses this instinctive knowledge with the fake flamboyancy of reality TV.
This book had something happening all the time and is a fantastic page-turner. From the opening stages of the games where Katniss and her 'tribute' parter Peeta Mallark are introduced properly to the public, through to the games themselves. I had no idea, couldn't even guess, how the games were going to play out, and I'm willing to bet that no-one could guess at the entire plot. I didn't ever want to stop reading, to the point when I skipped desert at a meal so I could get home quicker to read...
Collins has a lot to say about humanity about what we'll watch for entertainment and about the extremes of our societies and a lot of that message is actually built and explored through the events of the book and I don't want to give too much away (although if anyone wants to email me I'm more than happy to chat about it!). There is a kind of love story but no sex, and even the violence isn't too much for a book that is essentially about death. It's more about psychological constructs, about how it is both our nature and nurture that make us who we are, but also what we know and what we experience. It explores compassion, bravery, trust and need.
This is just amazing, and really sets the bar for YA fiction. I have no doubt that this book will become a children's classic, and so it should. And for anyone who is looking for a way to reading YA from adult that doesn't feel hopelessly mindless, this is your in. Read it, enjoy it, love it. Everyone. Please!