the-hunger-gamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has been in the back of my mind (and TBR list) for a while. So when the book bloggers started chattering about the second title in the series, I knew I had to get my butt in gear and read the first. Oh and read I did! I finished the book in three days, which, considering I’m working full time, is quite quick for me.

The Hunger Games is about a competition to the death that takes place between all the Districts in former-North-America. The Capitol (located safely behind the Rocky Mountains on the West Coast) puts on these games to remind all the remaining districts of their power. Many years ago, District 13 had an uprising, and after the Capitol laid waste to District 13, they instigated the Hunger Games. Once a year, each district draws two children’s names (a boy and a girl) as “tributes” to the game. They are then sent to the Capitol to be prepared for the games. It takes place in a giant arena with hidden cameras and the citizens of all the Districts are forced to watch. For certain Districts, ones that usually win, being a tribute is an honour. For other districts, like District 12, it really just means death.

The book begins shortly before the names of the annual tributes are drawn. We are introduced to our main character, Katniss, whose main concern is providing for her family now that her father is gone. When her little sister Prim is drawn as a tribute, Katniss selflessly volunteers to be District 12’s girl tribute. And so begins The Hunger Games — a fight to the death between 24 children.

The Hunger Games is very well written and captivating. It is such a neat concept and I love that it takes place in a post-apocalyptic time, yet within North America. It’s fantasy, but yet it’s home; it’s sci-fi, but it has strong underlying messages and themes. The characters are well-rounded and realistic and no YA novel is complete without a love story/triangle! I loved being along for the ride of this book and just thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Visit Scholastic’s Hunger Games page to read an excerpt PDF. Now I can’t wait for Chasing Fire to come out on September 1st. (Careful: don’t read the synopsis of Catching Fire before you’ve finished The Hunger Games. There are spoilers in the synopsis.)

UPDATE (January 2010): Read my review for Catching Fire (book 2)
UPDATE (August 2010): Read my review for Mockingjay (book 3)