Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Length of Books: 384-400 pages
Books in the Hunger Games Trilogy
- The Hunger Games (Book 1, Hunger Games Trilogy) Read the review.
Hardcover, 384 pages (Scholastic Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780439023481)
- Catching Fire (Book 2, Hunger Games Trilogy) Read the review.
Hardcover, 400 pages (Scholastic Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780439023498)
- Mockingjay (Book 3 in the Hunger Games Trilogy) Read the review.
Hardcover, 400 pages (Scholastic Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780439023511)
The United States no longer exists. Instead, there is the nation of Panem, governed by a totalitarian government. The government keeps the residents of the 12 outlying districts intimidated with its strict rules and demonstrates its power over life and death with the annual Hunger Games. All of the residents of the 12 districts are required to watch the Hunger Games, the ultimate reality show, which is a life or death “game” involving two representatives from each district.
The protagonist of The Hunger Games trilogy is Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl who lives with her mother and her little sister. Katniss is very protective of her sensitive little sister, Prim, whom she loves very much. Katniss helps feed and support her family by hunting in areas designated off-limits by the government and bartering some of the meat on the black market.
When her sister’s name is drawn as a contestant in the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place, and things go from bad to worse. There are no easy answers as Katniss deals with the the violent Hunger Games and the dramatic results. Things are not always straightforward, and Katniss has to deal with a multitude of ethical issues as she struggles to survive. Tension builds in each book of the series, leaving the reader eager to read the next book. The ending of the trilogy in no way ties everything up in a neat bow and makes it right, but it is an ending that will stay with the reader and continue to provoke thoughts and questions.
Objections to The Hunger Games (Book One): According to the American Library Association, The Hunger Games (Book One) is number 5 on the list of the ten most challenged books of 2010 (What’s a challenge?). The reasons given were “sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence.” (Source: American Library Association)
Like a great many other people, I was surprised at the “sexually explicit” challenge and don’t understand what the challenger was referring to. While there is indeed a lot of violence in The Hunger Games, it is inherent to the story rather than gratuitous violence and is used to make an anti-violence point.
Recommended For: The Hunger Games trilogy may or may not be appropriate for some teens, not as a matter of age group, but depending on their interests, maturity level, and sensitivity to violence (including death) and other tough issues. I would recommend it for mature teens 13 and older, as well as adults and think they will find the trilogy to be both thought-provoking and engrossing.
Awards, Recognition: The Hunger Games, the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy, has won more than 20 state awards for teen books. It was on the American Library Association's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and Amelia Bloomer Project lists for 2009 and was awarded a 2008 CYBIL Award - Fantasy/Science Fiction.
Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 2) is on the ALA's 2010 Best Books for Young Adults and won the 2010 Children's Choice Book Award: Teen Choice Book of the Year and 2010 Indies Choice Award Winner, Young Adult.
Readers Respond: To get an idea of how readers feel about the first book and the entire trilogy, see my Readers Respond to The Hunger Games.
Movie Tie-In Book Review: To learn about an interesting "spin" on the Hunger Games, illustrated with scenes from the movie, read my review of The Hunger Games Tribute Guide.
Available Formats: Hardcover, large print hardcover (Book One and Book Two only), paperback (Book One only), audiobook on CD, audio for download and eBook for various eReaders.
The Hunger Games Trilogy is also available in a boxed set of hardbound editions (Scholastic Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780545265355) Compare prices.
Categories: Adventure, fantasy and science fiction, dystopian novels, young adult (YA) fiction, teen books