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Review – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
374 pages
Young adult fiction
Published October 2008

Every once in a while there’s a book that just WHAM! takes over your life until you’ve finished the book, and that means you snatch any second you have to read a chapter, a page, a sentence. THIS IS THAT BOOK. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is, in one word, fantastic.

Imagine sometime in the future, when something has happened to North America and the United States is no more. Things happen as they will and you end up with 13 districts, all presided over by one government. The districts don’t like how the government runs things and so revolts, but 12 districts get their booties kicked and the 13th district gets obliterated,  and in order to remind the people that the government IS the boss of them, they make each district pick one girl and one boy between the ages of 12 and 18 who will participate in the annual Hunger Games, which is basically a fight to the death. On live TV!  Huzzah to the winner, but so sorry to the loser.

I know! GAH! SO CREEPY! Maybe even creepier than the everyone-going-blind-creepy. ‘Cause that was all kinds of shiverings. This is even worse.

This is the Capital’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.”

So in District 12 there’s this girl, Katniss, who’s way cool for anyone with any tomboy leanings whatsoever, because she goes out under the fence (the districts are fenced in!) every day to hunt game for her family who would starve without her. Her dad died in a mining accident when she was 12 and her mother completely broke down, so Katniss has shouldered the burden of feeding her family.

The annual Hunger Games come along, and it’s her sister’s first year being eligible, and Katniss not only is eligible but has her name in the hat TWENTY TIMES. Extra entries for a fun blog giveaway? Really cool. Extra entries for a drawing into the Hunger Games? Not so great. Katniss’ sister, Prim, who’s only 12-years-old, has one lone entry. Phew! But guess who gets picked? Prim. And guess who volunteers to go in Prim’s place? Katniss.

All of this happens in the FIRST 33 PAGES! It gets even more adrenaline-inducing from there! The boy that’s picked from District 12 to fight in the Hunger Games is Peeta, this boy who basically saved her family from starvation four years ago, so hopefully she won’t have to kill him. Together they go to get coached and prepped by a prissy and ridiculous woman and a drunk guy who won the Hunger Games for District 12 years and years ago, both of whom are not happy to be working with a District that doesn’t put out worthy Hunger Game opponents (the nerve of District 12!).

During the Hunger Games, the government can CHANGE THE CLIMATE to basically pit people against each other, just in case someone might be doing something sneaky like hiding or trying not to kill someone. Because that’s not how this game is played, that’s not how the government rolls. We want to see blood, sweat, and tears. Oh, and death, too.

And I loved the plot twists! Katniss and Peeta pretend to be falling in love during the Hunger Games so the audience will root for them (even though There Can Be Only One), and maybe they’re in love but maybe they’re faking! More exclamation points here!!!!!!!

This book will appeal to everyone, no matter your age. It is young adult, recommended for ages 12 and up, but I don’t think I’d let my kid read it until they were 14 or 15. There’s nothing graphic, but this certainly has some heavy topics that 12 and 13 year olds may not be ready for.

This book is the first of a trilogy, and the sequel, Catching Fire, will be released on September 8, 2009. The 3rd book in the trilogy is being written RIGHT NOW and has a tentative release date in 2010. I will swim through shark infested waters to get Catching Fire on September 8th. If it’s released at midnight, I’ll be there at midnight.

Rating: 98 out of 100

Visit the author’s website HERE.

Buy the book from Powell’s, Amazon, or any other bookseller.

Other (probably better) reviews:

Farm Lane Book Blog

Both Eyes Book Blog

Bart’s Bookshelf

Lesa’s Book Critiques

This Book is For You


It’s All About Books

Library Queue

A Comfy Chair and a Good Book

Becky’s Book Reviews

Presenting Lenore


| Tags: , , , , 54 comments »

54 Responses to “Review – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins”

  1. bethany (B&b ex libris)

    I am DYING to read this…but they only had new hardbacks when I was at Powell’s…I just couldn’t bring myself to that!

    Great review! You are teasing me with book envy 🙂


    Ella Reply:

    Oh the hard-cover is worth it! I’ve read it so many times it’s dreadfully dog eared and sad but still readable. If I had waited for the paper-back I think I would have died. Go ahead and splurge of that hard-cover. It’s worth it.


  2. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    I have to admit I’m still thinking about this book even though I’m reading something else now. It really is the kind of book that intrudes into your life! 🙂

    Katniss didn’t annoy you at all?


  3. Nurta San

    nice review 🙂


  4. farmlanebooks

    I loved this book too! It’s interesting you compared it to Blindness – I’m halfway through that at the moment, and I was thinking about all the similarities between the two too!

    I think Blindness is much more scary – my heart is racing with the horror of it all – Blindness somehow seems much more likely to happen.

    The Hunger Games seems a little bit unlikely, and so I was able to distance myself from it a bit, and enjoy the non-stop action. I’m not going to bother staying up to buy the sequel at midnight – I’ve already pre-ordered my copy, so am willing to wait for the postman to arrive the next morning!

    I’m really pleased you loved it as much as I did!


  5. Jen

    Thanks for the review, I’m putting it on my library book list. My son has been looking for a new author, he just burned through all the Jenny Nimmo’s.


  6. Julie P.

    WoW! I am definitely adding this one to my list! Sounds terrific!


  7. natalie

    i also read this book and was horrified by the premise! it was riveting but disturbing!!! it reminded me a bit of shirley jackson’s short story ‘the lottery’…horrors!

    but i really enjoyed it!!


  8. bermudaonion

    It is becoming very clear that I must read this book.


  9. Irene

    I loved this book. It may not have been the most well written book I’ve ever read but the plot keeps you reading for hours. I too will be waiting for the second one to come out. I want to know what happens!


  10. Sadako

    Wow, it sounds like Battle Royale meets the Running Man. I’m gonna check it out.


  11. Tricia

    Definitely one of my favorites from last year. And hey, at least you’ll have company in those shark-infested waters. I’ll be swimming right along with you!


  12. Jeanne

    This has been on my TBR pile for months, and both my kids recommended it to me, but I didn’t know there would be others…maybe I should just wait until the next two come out in order to eliminate the painful waiting period!


  13. Steph

    This sounds really great – totally spooky, but great! I can definitely see how this book would capture your attention and demand to be read until it was finished, which is exactly the kind of book I’ve been looking for. I’m going to check right now to see if my library has a copy of it!


  14. Devourer of Books

    Dang it Trish, between you and Amy I now feel like I need to read this book!


  15. Jeane

    Wow, it sounds intense. I’ll have to read this one myself, soon.


  16. Vasilly

    You write the best reviews, Trish!


  17. Stephanie

    How bizarre is it that I just picked up this book from the library yesterday??? Can’t wait to read it now!


  18. Lesa Holstine

    Totally disagree with you, Trish. Yes, my blog has a review, and I loved The Hunger Games, but that doesn’t mean my review is any better than yours. You write terrific reviews.

    Lesa Holstine


  19. Jo Ann

    Thanks for telling me about what the book is about. I read the beggining and I didn’t care for it. But from your review I can see that it’s just a slow starter. Thanks for cluing me in.
    Jo Ann


  20. Heather

    Holy cow, you TOTALLY made me want to read this. Great review!


  21. Gwendolyn B.

    I had passed on this book, but after your review, I’m taking a second look. Turns out Kirkus Reviews says “as good as The Giver and more exciting.” So, it’s on The List for me now! Thanks for the heads up!


  22. zibilee

    I am really excited to read this book. I had read other reviews, but your review makes it sound so thrilling and engrossing. Your excitement about the book is very contagious. I am going to order a copy right now. Thanks for the excellent review!


  23. Terri B.

    I had this flash as I read your review. I suddenly realized that the author is the same one who wrote the “Gregor” books, which I LOVED. I’ve been “hearing” about this book for awhile now and hadn’t made the connection. Now I will have to run out and get and read this book. (There is no hope for my TBR pile.)


  24. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)

    This is a book I keep hearing about. I would love to read this one. Thanks for the review.


  25. S. Krishna

    Wow. I can see why you didn’t really like Wake after reading this book. I’m adding it to my TBR pile now.


  26. sarah pekkanen

    Wow! I don’t read a lot of YA but you had me biting my nails during your description.


  27. Alyce

    This is one of those books that I have just got to find the time to read. I’ve actually written it on my review schedule for later this year so that time won’t get away from me.


  28. melanie

    I loved it too! Totally consuming – can’t wait for part 2.


  29. Anna

    Thanks for the great review. I definitely want to read this one now!


  30. Beth F

    Okay, okay . .. I get the picture. I’m adding to the pile. Fantastic review.


  31. Natasha @ Maw Book

    Did you hear that they are going to make a movie?! The rights have been purchased. Either it has potential to be really awful or really, really good!


  32. Devourer of Books » Blog Archive » This Week’s Links

    […] for my library’s website and my bookmooch wishlist to figure out how to read it.  Trish reviewed “The Hunger Games” and it sounds amazing, especially after having read Amy’s review of the same book earlier […]

  33. bethany (B&b ex libris)

    I am dying to read this! DYING!


  34. Danielle

    Amazing book..but too long till the sequel! I read it in 2 days and could not even think about anything else till it was over! I love these types of reads!


  35. Cats

    I LOVE this book!!!
    The best adventure book I have read in a long time.


  36. Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins « YA Fabulous

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  37. Catching Fire – on Fire! « Jacket Whys

    […] the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place. (CIP) Ages 12+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Trailer. Videos of Collins talking about the Hunger Games. Catching Fire: By winning the annual […]

  38. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins « Jenny’s Books

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  40. whitnee collins

    This book is the book that once you read a chapter or even a sentence you cant put it down. When you do finish you are just itching to get the next one. Heres to a great author that needs to keep writing for the sake of the hungergame fans!!!!


  41. cat

    This book is great! I really wish that Gathering Fire would come out, since I’m hoping to see what happens next. Of course I’m worried about Katniss, Peeta, and Gale and I have no idea what the author will do next! I’m a writer myself, and after reading The Hunger Games, I’ve encouraged myself to go on with the story I’ve been writing since October! I sure hope that my story will be just as good as The Hunger Games!


  42. laluna

    hmmm, well, i guess i have a different opinion of the book than many people. my general take on it: as far as scifi plots, it’s been done before, more than once, and better. the characters are generally one-dimensional: the “tough” girl who’s had a hard life, the smoldering best friend, the blond, blue-eyed lovestruck guy, the various other tributes who are nothing more than true stock characters (think cato, foxface, etc.). let’s also not forget the deus-ex-machina(s) of the little parachutes of help *insert eyeroll here* and my personal grammatical/semantic pet peeve on p.156 – “I hear the anthem that proceeds the death recap.” proceeds?? are you kidding me? the word we’re looking for here is, of course, *precedes*, as in, “comes before.” der. a rather glaring error, imo.
    all that said, i can see how the book would draw a particular readership in – it’s fast-paced, filled with enough description to make it interesting imagistically, and has just enough action and violence to satisfy those living in a videogame/rpg world.
    stephen king wrote a pretty interesting review of the book, for those who haven’t seen it already:,,20223443,00.html


  43. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins « Book Addiction

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  44. mitch

    this book is so amazing along with the second one my paperback is like in pieces i also hate reading and still think that these books are amazing im dying for the third one i just cant wait a whole year and also the movie in 2 yrs gahhh its drinving me crazy


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    […] Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? – “Every once in a while there’s a book that just WHAM! takes over your life until you’ve finished the book, and that means you snatch any second you have to read a chapter, a page, a sentence. THIS IS THAT BOOK.” […]

  47. Chelsea

    I usually never read but someone told me i had to read it. The first hundred pages may be a little dull but after that i was glued to the thing. I just started the second one and it is great too. READ THIS BOOK!!!!! READ IT AND LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  48. Book Review - THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

    […] Reviews of The Hunger Games: Dear Author ; Hey Lady ; Farm Lane Books ; […]

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